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Mali Blues

  • Directed by Lutz Gregor
  • Germany, 2016, 93 mins., French/Bambara/Tamasheq

It is generally believed that the slaves who brought their music and traditional West African string instrument the ngoni—which evolved into the banjo—to American cotton fields from Mali. For centuries music has infused Mali’s cultural identity, with musicians holding revered places in society. But since the arrival of radical Islamists intent on stamping out indigenous music, the culture is under threat. Gregor’s film follows one of Mali’s top stars, singer and actress Fatoumata Diawara as she takes us on a contemporary musical journey that introduces us to committed musicians who are fighting for unity and the freedom to express themselves through their music, including famed ngoni player and traditional Griot Bassekou Kouyaté, street rapper Master Soumy, and Tuareg band leader Ahmed Ag Kaedi. In French, Bambara, and Tamasheq with English subtitles.

Genres: Documentary