Mali, situated in the heart of Western Africa, is often regarded as the cradle of today’s Blues. For centuries, music has strengthened Mali’s cultural identity. When Mali’s North came under the rule of Islamic fundamentalists, the fighters went after the country’s culture, destroyed ancient cultural heritage and imposed an incredibly strict Sharia law, which banned all worldly music. Musicians had to flee. Following Fatoumata Diawara, the young shooting star of the global pop scene, MALI BLUES explores the country’s rich musical culture and it’s threat by radical Islamists. In the film we meet other committed musicians who are fighting for unity and the freedom of artistic expression, like the traditional Griot Bassekou Kouyaté, Rapper Master Soumy, and Tuareg musician Ahmed Ag Kaedi.
LUTZ GREGOR is particularly interested in the link between society, music, dance and documentary. A selection of his other films includes: ZANZIBAR’S FIRST WOMEN’S ORCHESTRA (doc, 2015), HIDDEN VENICE (3-part doc series, 2014), LAND OF THE DOGON — WORLD HERITAGE IN PERIL (doc, 2012), TIMBUKTU’S LOST HERITAGE (doc, 2009), RAFT OF MEDUSA (film/dance installation, 2008), FRANKFURT DANCE CUTS (short docs, 2004), and THE KING’S CHILDREN (fiction, 2001).