'They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile' heads to the D.C. area with screenings at AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring.
Johanna Schwartz’s masterpiece of a documentary, which Okayafrica is an executive producer on, follows a group of Malian musicians and their fight to continue their life’s work in the face of Islamic extremists, who in 2012 imposed sharia law over a large swath of northern Mali and with it a ban on music. The musicians we meet risk their lives to keep Mali’s musical tradition in tact.
There’s the four young men who make up Songhoy Blues, the sensational ‘desert punk and blues’ band that made history last year as the first African band signed to Atlantic Records since 1972. The beloved “Nightingale of the North” Khaira Arby is a living legend who worked tirelessly to put on the first public concert in her hometown, Timbuktu, since the ban on music. Fadimata ‘Disco’ Walet Oumar is a renowned singer who advocates for the Tuareg women of refugee camps in Burkina Faso. We see the heartwrenching story of Tuareg guitarist Moussa Sidi and his return home from exile.
“Johanna Schwartz’s miraculously hopeful documentary, ‘They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile,’ delivers a vibrant testimony of resilience under oppression,” writes The New York Times.
They Will Have To Kill Us First was released this March in the U.S. by BBC Worldwide North America. The film’s soundtrack, composed by Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and featuring contributions by Songhoy Blues, the late Malian legend Ali Farka Touré and his son Vieux Farka Touré, Toumani Diabaté, Bombino and more, is out on Knitting Factory Records.
Okayafrica is offering up a chance to win a pair of tickets to see ‘They Will Have To Kill Us First’ at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland this Monday, May 16, 7:15pm. Enter your information below or head to the form here for a chance to win.