Mali Blues

The West African country of Mali is considered the birthplace of the blues and jazz, brought later by abducted slaves to America’s cotton fields. For centuries music has strengthened Mali’s cultural identity, musicians are holding strong positions in society. Following Fatoumata Diawara, shooting star of the global pop scene, MALI BLUES is a musical journey, discovering the country’s rich musical culture and it’s threat by radical Islamists. On our way we meet other committed musicians, who are fighting for unity and the freedom to express themselves through their music, like world famous Ngoni player and traditional Griot Bassekou Kouyaté, street rapper Master Soumy and Tuareg band leader Ahmed Ag Kaedi.

A beautiful and soulful doc with mesmerizing sound and music.
– Katie O’Connor, Toronto Film Scene

A colourful, vivid look at Fatou’s complicated history with her home, Mali Blues is both a triumph for Fatou and for Mali’s music traditions.
– Jesse Kinos-Goodin, CBC Music

Mali Blues now in German cinemas!

News

  • 07/2017 - Mali Blues - Now available as VoD!

    Now available as VoD on DVD, iTunes and amazon! MALI BLUES tells the story of four musicians from the West [...]

    Now available as VoD on DVD, iTunes and amazon! MALI BLUES tells the story of four musicians from the West African country of Mali, who espouse with their music a tolerant Islam and a country at peace – Fatoumata Diawara, Bassekou Kouyaté, Ahmed Ag Kaedi and Master Soumy.

    Mali Blues on Amazon
    Mali Blues on iTunes


  • 07/2017 - Norbert Daldrop Fund for art and culture

    Our cinema documentary MALI BLUES by Lutz Gregor wins the prize “Norbert Daldrop Fund for art and culture” at the [...]

    Our cinema documentary MALI BLUES by Lutz Gregor wins the prize "Norbert Daldrop Fund for art and culture" at the German Documentary Film Festival.

    Filmwebsite MALI BLUES
    Deutscher Dokumentarfilmpreis 2017
    Facebook MALI BLUES


  • 04/2017 - Mali Blues awarded as "Best Freedom Film"

    The Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) has awarded our cinema documentary MALI BLUES (Director: Lutz Gregor) in the category „Freedom [...]

    The Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) has awarded our cinema documentary MALI BLUES (Director: Lutz Gregor) in the category „Freedom Films“! The film was presented in the competition of the 7th edition of the festival that took place 17th - 22th March 2017. Following Fatoumata Diawara, shooting star of the global pop scene, MALI BLUES is a musical journey, discovering the country’s rich musical culture and it’s threat by radical Islamists. On our way we meet other committed musicians, who are fighting for unity and the freedom to express themselves through their music, like world famous Ngoni player and traditional Griot Bassekou Kouyaté, street rapper Master Soumy and Tuareg band leader Ahmed Ag Kaedi. The Luxor African Film Festival is an annual event organized at the city of Luxor in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The festival screens long and short films produced in African countries, made by African filmmakers and concerning African subjects.




Mali Blues

Mali, situated in the heart of Western Africa, is the cradle of today’s Blues and Jazz. It is believed that slaves brought the music as well as the traditional African string instrument „Ngoni“ to the North American cotton fields, where it soon evolved into the Banjo. For centuries music has strengthened Mali’s cultural identity, musicians are holding strong positions in society.

For 10 months in 2012 and 2013, Mali’s North was under the rule of Islamic fundamentalists, occupying the towns of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu in the desert. They went after the country’s culture, destroyed ancient cultural heritage and imposed an incredibly strict Sharia law, which banned all music. They tortured musicians and issued death threats against them. Even though Islamists have meanwhile retreated and UN “blue helmets” have started peacekeeping operations, the awareness, memory and fear remain, especially among the musicians – still danger is lurking in the desert.

Following Fatoumata Diawara, shooting star of the global pop scene, MALI BLUES is a musical journey, discovering the country’s rich musical culture and it’s threat by radical Islamists. On our way we meet other committed musicians, who are fighting for unity and the freedom to express themselves through their music, like world famous Ngoni player and traditional Griot Bassekou Kouyaté, street rapper Master Soumy and Tuareg band leader Ahmed Ag Kaedi.

The four Malian musicians all have something in common: their music connects, consoles, heals and gives people the power to fight – against a radical Islam, for a change in their country and for a future in tolerance and peace.

With: Fatoumata Diawara, Ahmed Ag Kaedi, Bassekou Kouyaté, Master Soumy

Director: Lutz Gregor
Director of Photography: Axel Schneppat
Editor: Markus CM Schmidt, Michelle Barbin
Sound: Pascal Capitolin
Live-Sound: Karsten Höfer
Sound Design: Daniel Piechotka
Sound Mix: Jörg Höhne
Production Assistance: Bärbel Mauch, Mory Touré
Additional cinematographers: Dieter Stürmer, Konrad Waldmann, Abdellah Coulibaly, Mohamed Lamine Touré, Bakary Sangaré
Line Producer: Kathrin Isberner
Production Manager: Anique Roelfsema, Nick Pastucha
Technical Supervisor: Philipp Weigold
Production accountancy: Daniela Schöne, Sandra Zentgraf
Production Assistance: Céline Deligny, Marianne Kühn
Producer: Kerstin Meyer-Beetz
Assistance of Producer: Lea-Marie Körner
Executive Producer: Christian Beetz
Commissioning Editor ZDF/ arte: Tobias Cassau

Koproduktion

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Förderer

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  • Mali Blues

    Visions du Réel - Nyon, Switzerland - Théâtre de Grand-Champ
    21 April 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    IndieLisboa - Lisbon, Portugal
    20 April 2016 – 01 May 2016

  • Mali Blues

    Munich International Film festival - Münchner Freiheit Kino
    24 June 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Munich International Film festival - Münchner Freiheit Kino
    25 June 2016 at 10:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Festival des deutschen Films - Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany
    30 June 2016 at 1:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Festival des deutschen Films - Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany
    30 June 2016 at 10:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Festival des deutschen Films - Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany
    01 July 2016 at 6:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Festival des deutschen Films - Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany
    02 July 2016 at 6:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Munich International Film festival - City Kinos
    02 July 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Festival des deutschen Films - Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany
    03 July 2016 at 4:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Five Lakes Film Festival - Schloss Seefeld, Germany
    27 July 2016 at 6:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Five Lakes Film Festival - Starnberg, Germany
    05 August 2016 at 10:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Cinema d'Afrique - Théâtre de verdure - Lausanne - Switzerland
    19 August 2016 at 10:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Neue Heimat Film Festival - Burg Klempenow
    28 August 2016 at 3:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Toronto International Film Festival - Scotiabank 14
    13 September 2016 at 6:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Toronto International Film Festival - Scotiabank 13
    14 September 2016 at 9:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Toronto International Film Festival - TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 3
    16 September 2016 at 9:45 am

  • Mali Blues: Berlin Premiere

    Kant Cinema - Berlin - with Fatoumata Diawara, Ahmed Ag Kaedi and Master Soumy
    20 September 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues: Hamburg Premiere

    Metropolis Cinema - Hamburg - with Amanar and Master Soumy
    21 September 2016 at 9:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Ciné Droit Libre - Dakar, Senegal
    24 September 2016 at 12:00 am

  • Mali Blues

    Raindance Film Festival - London
    24 September 2016 at 12:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Premiere North-Rhine Westphalia - Odeon Kino - Cologne
    27 September 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Kinemathek Studio 3 - Karlsruhe
    29 September 2016 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Warsaw Film Festival - Kinoteka 2
    07 October 2016 at 4:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Provinziale Film Festival - Eberswalde - Globus Provinz
    08 October 2016 at 5:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Warsaw Film Festival - Kinoteka 2
    09 October 2016 at 2:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Warsaw Film Festival - Kinoteka 2
    10 October 2016 at 9:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Warsaw Film Festival - Kinoteka 2
    11 October 2016 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues - Special Preview

    MATAU Festival - Starline Social Club
    14 October 2016 at 7:15 pm

  • Mali Blues

    WOMEX 16 - Santiago de Compostela, Galizien
    21 October 2016 at 3:15 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Cine Detour - On the Road - Rome
    27 October 2016 at 9:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    16. Days of Ethnological Films - KIM-Kino, Munich
    30 October 2016 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Joburg Film Festival - Rosebank - The Zone
    30 October 2016 at 8:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Film Africa Festival - BFI Southbank - London
    02 November 2016 at 6:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    World Film Days - Kino Rätia Thusis
    02 November 2016 at 10:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Joburg Film Festival - Newtown Junction
    04 November 2016 at 4:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Blick'16. Musik im Film - Moskau
    04 November 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Joburg Film festival - Majestic Theatre
    05 November 2016 at 6:15 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Afrikanisches Film Festival Hamburg - Studio-Kino
    05 November 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    French Film Days Tübingen - Atelier
    06 November 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    27. Kinofest - Lünen
    12 November 2016 at 4:45 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Stockholm Film Festival - Zita 2
    13 November 2016 at 3:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Leeds International Film Festival - Seven Arts
    13 November 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Cine Detour Film Festival - Cinema Detour - Rome
    13 November 2016 at 8:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    OBENKINO - Cottbus
    14 November 2016 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Stockholm Film Festival - Klarabiografen
    16 November 2016 at 11:30 am

  • Mali Blues

    Leeds International Film Festival - Leeds Town Hall - Albert Room
    16 November 2016 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Stockholm Film Festival - Zita 2
    20 November 2016 at 10:00 am

  • Mali Blues

    Friedensakademie Rheinland-Pfalz - Filmwelt Landau
    22 November 2016 at 12:00 am

  • Mali Blues

    Escales Documentaires - Libreville
    30 November 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    African Diaspora International Film Festival - Cinepolis
    02 December 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Festival Africolor - Nanterre - Cinéma les Lumières
    06 December 2016 at 8:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    African Diaspora International Film Festival - Cinepolis
    07 December 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Festival Africolor - Ris-Orangis - Cinéma les Cinoches
    08 December 2016 at 6:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Dubai International Film Festival - The Beach
    09 December 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Cinema Politica: Mali Blues - Malmö
    14 December 2016 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Cine Detour - Rome
    22 January 2017 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Metro 2 - Santa Barbara - California
    02 February 2017 at 2:20 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Metro 1 - Santa Barbara - California
    03 February 2017 at 8:00 am

  • Mali Blues

    Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Lobero - Santa Barbara - California
    05 February 2017 at 11:00 am

  • Mali Blues

    Mon Ami - Weimar, Germany
    10 March 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Mon Ami - Weimar, Germany
    12 March 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    AFI African Film Festival - Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
    17 March 2017 at 7:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Green Mountains Film Festival, Savoy Theater Montpelier - Berlin, Germany
    18 March 2017 at 1:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Rex-Lichtspieltheater Over The Border Festival - Bonn
    21 March 2017 at 8:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Green Mountains Film Festival, Savoy Downstairs Montpelier - Montpelier, Vermont (USA)
    23 March 2017 at 2:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    FIFA Festival of Films on Art - Montréal, Canada
    24 March 2017 at 8:45 pm

  • Mali Blues

    FIFA Festival of Films on Art - Montréal, Canada
    01 April 2017 at 6:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Just Film Festival - Vancouver, Canada
    01 April 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    MSP Film Festival - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
    14 April 2017 at 4:45 pm

  • Mali Blues

    MSP Film Festival - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
    20 April 2017 at 2:20 pm

  • Mali Blues

    The Clinton Street Theatre - Portland, OR, USA
    20 April 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    MSP Film Festival - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
    24 April 2017 at 5:25 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Filmfest DC, Landmark E Street Cinema - Washington, USA
    24 April 2017 at 8:45 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Cinémathèque de Tanger, Festival de Cine Africano FCAT - Sevilla, Spain
    30 April 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Taoyuan Film Festival, Taoyuan Arts Cinema - Taipei, Taiwan
    17 May 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Taoyuan Film Festival, SBC Cinemas - Taipei, Taiwan
    21 May 2017 at 4:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    FICiP Argentina - Buenos Aires, Argentina
    26 May 2017 at 5:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    In-Edit Film Festival Perú - Peru
    26 May 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Mendocino Film Festival, Matheson - Mendocino, California, USA
    02 June 2017 at 5:30 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Gibraltar World Music Festival 2017 - Gibraltar, GB
    06 June 2017 at 5:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Wexner Center For The Arts - Columbus, Ohio, USA
    16 June 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Wexner Center For The Arts - Columbus, Ohio, USA
    17 June 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Facets Cinematheque - Chicago, Illinois, USA
    30 June 2017 – 06 July 2017

  • Mali Blues

    IFC Center - New York, USA
    30 June 2017 – 06 July 2017

  • Mali Blues

    Capri Theater - Film Society of Minneapolis - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
    06 July 2017 at 7:00 pm

  • Mali Blues

    Yerba Buena Center - San Fransisco, California, USA
    06 July 2017 – 09 July 2017

  • Mali Blues

    Laemmels Music Hall Theater - Beverley Hills, California, USA
    07 June 2017 – 13 July 2017

  • Mali Blues

    Detroit Institute of Arts - Detroit, Michigan, USA
    14 July 2017 – 16 July 2017

  • Mali Blues

    Vancity Theater - Vancouver, Kanada
    17 July 2017 at 12:00 am

  • Mali Blues

    SIFF Film Center - Seattle, Washington, USA
    28 July 2017 – 04 August 2017

  • Mali Blues

    Batuki Music Society - Ontario, Toronto, Canada
    11 August 2017 – 13 August 2017

  • Mali Blues

    Theatre de Verdure - Park Lafontaine - Quebec, Montreal, Kanada
    15 August 2017 at 9:00 pm

  • The New York Times, Juni 2017

    Despite the urgency of the situation the musicians face, when they’re not doing their work, the movie is quiet, observant, taking in the austere beauty of the land and the people. In a blink-and-you-miss-it shot, a young girl is seen crossing a dirt road, leading a younger boy with one hand and holding a machete in the other. It provokes a shudder, while the scenes in which the musicians play together elicit jubilation.

  • dpa, 26.09.2016

    "Mali Blues" is a wonderful documentary, full of color and rousing music, sometimes sad, but also about love of life and hope, that might one day everything will be fine.

  • Jesse Kinos-Goodin, CBC Music

    A colourful, vivid look at Fatou's complicated history with her home, Mali Blues is both a triumph for Fatou and for Mali’s music traditions.

  • Katie O'Connor, Toronto Film Scene

    A beautiful and soulful doc with mesmerizing sound and music.

  • Gary Garrison, The Playlist

    Gregor has an ear for good music and a knack for tracking down interesting, urgent subjects

  • NOW Magazine, 01.09.2016

    A vibrant music scene is on display, where singers pour their hearts, beliefs and dreams into their sound.

  • Whole Note, 31.08.2016

    Lutz Gregor’s intimate and moving Mali Blues looks at the plight of the Malian people - since music was banned by the jihadi takeover of the country’s north - through the eyes of four Malian musicians.With a keen cinematic eye backed up by a hypnotic guitar groove, Gregor gives us the backstories of Fatoumata Diawara, Ahmed Ag Kaedi (pictured on our cover), Bassekou Kouyaté and Master Soumy . Heweaves them in and out of ordinary people in close-up and scenes that take us from Bamako to the desert, showing how integral music is to all of their lives. It’s essential viewing, especially if you missed hearing Diawara in her 2014 Koerner Hall concert (with Kouyaté on ngoni) or seeing her memorable performance in Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu.

  • Programmkino

    In the sweeping road movie MALI BLUES, film director Lutz Gregor contrasts negative coverage about Africa being a continent of poverty and crisis with positive images about passionate artists and performers. Simultaneously, his documentary can be seen as a statement for peace and tolerance, it warns of the concept of Islam as the undifferenciated enemy. It looks back on Mali’s music as musical world heritage, on the roots of Blues and Jazz that West African slaves brought to the North American cotton fields.

  • Kino-Zeit.de

    The camera captures meaningful impressions from everyday life, that mostly take place outdoors. (..) When people sing and dance an irrepressible joie de vivre breaks through, which can also be observed in the beautifully filmed concert sequences. (...) Lutz Gregors' film shows with great immediacy how Malis' musical tradition arises the social spirit of resistance, that could not only stop seriously the Islamists in the country in the future.

  • KinoKino, 03.07.2016

    MALI BLUES celebrates the power of music in the era of terrorism and portrays artists like Fatoumata Diawara, shooting star of Afro Pop.

  • Die Rheinpfalz, 01.07.2016

    Lutz Gregor’s musical portrait acts as a source of hope and confidence, it impresses with a conclusive narrative, intelligent editing and exquisite photography as well as the highly rhythmical music from a country that is regarded as the cradle of Blues: a promising candidate for the audience award!

  • FilmTonArt, BR, 24.06.2016

    MALI BLUES, a documentary that will surely please not only the music lovers. It is a film for culture and politics interested.

  • We got this covered, 22.08.2016

    With her radiant voice and magnetic presence, Fatoumata Diawara is a rising star in world music. In Mali Blues, we follow her as she returns to her country to give her first home concert. Along the way, we meet other great Mali musicians: the Griot Bassekou Kouyaté, rapper Master Soumy, and Tuareg guitarist Ahmed Ag Kaedi, who fled the northern desert under threats by fundamentalists. The film is a powerful testament to their artistry and resilience.

  • Trailer Ruhr, 25.08.2016

    Another film tip for music fans: "Mali Blues" by Lutz Gregor follows jazz and blues up to their roots to West Africa, where musicians are pursued by idiotic zealots. Because music is forbidden. Because education is forbidden and dangerous for both those who want to rule. Some of the protagonists of the documentary, as Bassekou Kouyate, we had last year here in the Ruhr area, experience specifically in Bahnhof Langendreer, live.

  • piqd.de, 27.09.2016

    "Mali Blues" gives a strong sensual impression and raises a lot of questions. A pleasant alternative to overexplaining documentaries.

  • cinetastic.de, 26.09.2016

    The German documentary filmmaker Lutz Gregor succeeds in creating a fascinating documentary about the music of this small country, which can be seen as a mouthpiece for peace and reconciliation.