News

'They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile' Is Now Playing In Theaters

Photos from the U.S. premiere of 'They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile,' now playing in theaters.

They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile is in theaters today. Johanna Schwartz’s masterpiece of a documentary 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.

It’s an absolute honor to say Okayafrica is an executive producer on They Will Have To Kill Us First. Yesterday, we rang in the film’s release on Music Freedom Day with a special screening, Q&A, performance and all-around party at New York City’s NeueHouse. Songhoy Blues brought the house down and were joined on stage by their collaborator, Yeah Yeah YeahsNick Zinner, who did the film's original score. Malik Yoba, Julian Casablancas and Kim Cattrall were also in attendance.

Check out photos from the film's U.S. premiere in the gallery above.

'They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile,' released by BBC Worldwide North America, is now playing at Village East Cinema in New York City. Tickets can be purchased here

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 7 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Olamide, Lady Donli, Omah Lay, Adekunle Gold, Falz and more.