News Brief

'They Will Have to Kill Us First' is Now Available to Watch Online

Malian music documentary 'They Will Have to Kill Us First' makes its online debut.

If you’ve been following our site over the past year, you may be familiar with They Will Have to Kill Us First. Perhaps you were even lucky enough to catch it in theaters.


Johanna Schwartz’s masterpiece of a documentary is finally available to watch online.

They Will Have to Kill Us First, which Okayafrica is an executive producer, documents the aftermath of the 2012 Islamic extremist takeover of northern Mali that saw musicians forced into hiding after all music was swiftly banned. Rather than laying down their instruments, Mali’s musicians fought back, standing up for their freedoms and using music as a weapon against the ongoing violence that has ravaged their homeland.

The musicians we meet in the film 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 also see the heartwrenching story of Tuareg guitarist Moussa Sidi and his return home from exile.

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, was released earlier this year on Knitting Factory Records.

Rent or buy They Will Have to Kill Us First over at Amazon. The film is also available to purchase on DVD in the U.S. as of this week.

News Brief
Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns (via Getty Images)

New Fela Kuti Reissues & Box Set Are Coming This Year

Partisan Records has shared initial news of upcoming Fela 50th anniversary reissues and a new box set on the way.

Fela Kuti fans have a lot to look forward to this year as Partisan Records (home to Fela's catalog) has announced plans to release special reissues of two 1971 albums: London Scene and Live! With Ginger Baker, the classic album in which Fela and his band Africa '70 where joined by the Cream drummer.

The label has also said they plan to release the fifth installment in their ongoing Fela vinyl reissue box set series, which are handpicked by notable names in the music world. Previous volumes have been curated by Erykah Badu, Questlove, and Brian Eno.

Partisan has also shared that they will also be launching a scholarship program at Fela's alma mater, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in London this year. The label will be sharing more information on all of that exciting Fela Kuti 2021 news soon, so keep and eye out.

In the meantime, Fela Kuti is currently leading the fan vote for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can head here to cast a daily ballot for the afrobeat legend. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.

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