Alongside Fatoumata Diawara – the young shooting star of the global pop scene – we travel through breath-taking landscapes and discover Mali’s agitated heart from Bamako in the Southwest to the “Festival au Désert“ in northern Timbuktu.

Fatoumata Diawara symbolizes a young generation of African women: energetic, strong-minded, confident and politically engaged. She is dedicated to unify all artists spread throughout Mali who feel threatened by sharia and want to defend their right to music as a human right against religious militants. Her idea is to arrange a “Mali All Stars Orchestra” which would play a concert at „Festival au Désert“ in Timbuktu. 

Some say, an “African spring” is approaching. The idea is not far- fetched: Many other famous musicians such as Bassekou Koyaté, Master Soumy, Rokia Koné or the young Tuaregband Tamikrest fear they will not be able to practice their passion of music in crisis-ridden Mali if Islamic fundamentalists take over. All of these artists, may they originate from different parts of the country, belong to different ethnic groups and represent different musical styles and traditions. Their aim: Protecting Mali’s unique musical and cultural heritage.

For 10 months in 2012, Mali was under the rule of Islamic fundamentalists. The artists were silenced and – in the North – foreign music and dance were abolished. Instruments were destroyed and musicians menaced. The world-renowned “Festival au Désert“ was banished. Wanting to take power over Mali, the religious extremists first went after the country’s culture. Attacs last until today, even Bamako, where it used to be safe, has recently been attacked.

MALI BLUES also depicts the roots of Afro-American blues and jazz. Through the songs, we get to know the artists’ hopes and dreams as well as their daily sorrows. Whoever tries to take the music from Mali rips out this country’s heart.


About LUTZ

Since 1983 he established himself in the sphere of experimental documentaries and became later especially interested in the connection between film and dance. Several dance film productions have resulted from his own dance practice, Contact Improvisation.

His films include: Kontakt Triptychon (1992) – winner of a cinematography award at the Grand Prix Vidéo Dance Paris in 1992, Königskinder (2001), a full length feature film, screened at the Max Ophüls Festival in Saarbrücken (2002) and awarded at the Festival International du Film Indépendant Brussels 2003 for his new cinematographic themes and language, Frankfurt Dance Cuts (2005), selected for ARTEs Festival Temps d’Images 2005 and shown at Villa Medici Rome.

Recent works include the documentary series „People in the Wind“ (2007 arte) and the FilmDance Installation „Maps of Emotion“ (2007). As part of the Biennale di Venezia/Danza he created video installations for the project Choreographic Collisions, artistic direction by Ismael Ivo (2008).

He teaches Physical Cinema“ in workshops and at universities and art academies all over Europe, 2002/03 as guest professor for audiovisual design at the University of Applied Sciences, Dept. Media Design (IMG Mainz), currently at Palucca Dance School (Dresden).

Lutz Gregor is an associated teacher in the D.A.N.C.E Programme under the artistic direction of Frédéric Flamand, Wayne McGregor, Angelin Preljocaj and William Forsythe.