Great Document of Sahel Music- but no narration
D. McDavitt | Arlington, VA United States | 06/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Music documentary of great interest to African music fans.
Shot on location in Niger (Sahel region) by Hisham Miyet. Showcases diverse musical styles: Tuareg electric guitar rock, Sahel Afropop, Bori cult dance ceremonies, Fulani folk, roadhouse highlife-gospel, godje fiddle, griot ngoni/tama/vox/clapping, cowry shell divination, oil drum Zidga ceremony, children impromtu dancing...
The video quality is a bit amaturish- with the feel of an ethnomusiclogists' field recording- but I found it quite compelling.70 minutes."
2,400 miles of savannah
almosthappy | San Diego, CA, California | 08/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For my recently developed and seemingly insatiable appetite for authentic Northern and Western African music, this 70-minute jam-packed DVD is truly a satisfying fix of sensory overdose. Yes, the DVD itself is rudimentary in term of features: only options on the main menu are "play" and "chapters", no narrations, no subtitles, dusty video camera lens(literally), minimal editing...Jams on strangely beautiful indigenous instruments, electrified-Tuareg rocks/blues, shamanistic divination, cult dance, and even random impromptu performance by local children are juxtaposed in a seemingly haphazard manner, with no introductions, no explanations. This up-close and purely observing perspective is a bit voyeuristic. But strangely, everything comes together nicely. The DVD feels like road trip - drifting aimlessly along the Sahel region of Africa. The sights and the sounds are so alien and so beautiful to an Asian guy growing up in the Americas, my eyes, my ears, and my brain just want to absorb them all directly, without the distractions of some stuffy old white ethnomusicologists yapping non-stop. The Sahel region is a beautiful and romantic place: its music is both atavistic and highly complex and evolved. Many of its people, according to the brief DVD insert, have resisted both the Islamic and Christian encroachments for hundreds of years (kudos to that!). Yet it is evident that all these influxes of different cultures have left their marks in the music that are featured on the DVD. But there is a strong sense of history, time, culture, and identity ingrained in the music. It is quite fascinating to reflect upon the country's tragic history and all its present-day woes while listening to all these soul-stirring music. One cannot help but feel the power of art and music, and how they are so effective as a medium to accurately record a culture, people, and history. This is definitely one of the best DVDs I have purchased this year. Recommended!"