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Mali Blues
Directed by Lutz Gregor
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film stillThe West African country of Mali is a birthplace of the blues, a musical tradition later carried by the transatlantic slave trade to America's cotton fields. Yet today, the music and musicians of Mali are in grave danger. As fundamentalist Islam and sharia law become more widespread, dance and secular music are prohibited, musical instruments are destroyed, and musicians are forced to flee their homeland.

The vibrant documentary MALI BLUES follows four artists: Fatoumata "Fatou" Diawara is a rising star on the global pop scene (memorably featured in Abderrahmane Sissako's acclaimed drama Timbuktu). Bassekou Kouyate is a celebrated ngoni player and traditional griot. Master Soumy is a young street rapper influenced by hip-hop. Ahmed Ag Kaedi is the leader of the Tuareg band Amanar and a guitar virtuoso. Each combines rich musical traditions with contemporary influences, using their music to stand up to extremism and inspire tolerance and peace.

"Critic's Pick! The scenes in which the musicians play together elicit jubilation."The New York Times

"Compelling; artfully combines hypnotic music with definite social concerns. The emotion is strong, the music joyous."Los Angeles Times

"A gorgeous paean to the liberating effects of music and the joy it can bring even to people faced with violent repression."The Hollywood Reporter

"Savor performances of singular beauty, power, and invention."The Village Voice

"One of the best documentaries of the year. Audiences will walk away with a genuine understanding of the power of music, the resiliency of musicians and the inability of anyone to stop art from being created."Hollywood Soapbox
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"[A] nuanced meditation on the limbo of the diaspora and celebrations of Mali's ethnic plurality... Mali's ripe musical heritage--from ngoni riffs to pulsating percussions and soulful rap--connects and engages audiences in the combat against silence… The goosebump-inducing sequence in which Fatou heroically denounces female circumcision not only serves to advocate music's potential in affecting real-life practices, but also marks a zenith of the music documentary genre."Cinema Scope

World Premiere, Visions du Reel Film Festival 2016
North American Premiere, Toronto International Film Festival 2016
U.S. Premiere, 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival
IndieLisboa International Film Festival 2016
FilmAfrica Film Festival 2016
International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) 2016

93 minutes / Color
English; French / English subtitles
Release: 2017
Copyright: 2016

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This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Central Africa, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Anthropology, Culture, French Culture, Music, Race and Racism, Women's Health, Women's Studies

Watch the trailer:

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