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Non-Review Review: Mali Blues

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017.

Mali Blues is a joyous ode to the communal power of music, an affectionate to the social value of art.

Mali Blues follows a collection of musicians in the eponymous African country. Along with many other African countries, Mali is considered by many to have been a starting point for contemporary blues music, the music taken from the continent that would inspire a North American art form. Given that rich cultural history and important artistic heritage, it is no small irony that music finds itself under attack in Mali. The various performers and entertainers featured in Mali Blues are linked by a common thread, all forced south by radical Islamic extremists in the north.

Up on the roof's the only place I know...

Up on the roof’s the only place I know…

Director Lutz Gregor follows a collection of musicians trying to deal with the country’s political and social issues through their music. However, there is more to it than this. Fatoumata Diawara, Bassekou Kouyate and Master Soumy do not just hope to use their music to comment upon the current situation, instead believing that their compositions and engagement might actually bring about positive change within their communities. There is something profoundly optimistic in the way that these artists look at the world.

Mali Blues invests itself completely in that idea, believing wholeheartedly in the idea that music can serve as more than just entertainment. In contrast to the radical attempts to ban music in the African country, Mali Blues insists that a vibrant musical community is essential nourishment for a nation’s soul.

Fatoumata played guitar.

Fatoumata played guitar.

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