THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST

By Johanna SCHWARTZ

TOGETHER FILMS - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2015

Islamic extremists have banned music in Mali, but its world famous musicians won’t give up without a fight. They Will Have To Kill Us First tells the story of Mali’s musicians, as they fight for their right to sing.

Festivals
& Awards

SXSW 2015
24 Beats Per Second
BFI London FF 2015
Sonic
    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • UNITED KINGDOM
    • Languages
    • FRENCH, ENGLISH, BAMBARA
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Johanna SCHWARTZ
    • Writer(s)
    • Andy MORGAN, Johanna SCHWARTZ
    • Producer(s)
    • Sarah MOSSES (Together Films), Johanna SCHWARTZ, Kat KORBA
    • Synopsis
    • Islamic extremists have banned music in Mali, but its world famous musicians won’t give up without a fight. They Will Have To Kill Us First tells the story of Mali’s musicians, as they fight for their right to sing.

      With a specially commissioned soundtrack from some of Mali’s most exciting artists, the film features musicians: Khaira Arby, Fadimata “Disco” Walet Oumar, Malian superstar Amkoullel, Moussa Sidi and introduces Songhoy Blues.

      Music is the beating heart of Malian culture, but when Islamic jihadists took control of northern Mali in 2012, they enforced one of the harshest interpretations of sharia law in history: They banned all forms of music. Radio stations were destroyed, instruments burned and Mali’s musicians faced torture, even death. Overnight, Malian’s revered musicians were forced into hiding or exile where most remain, even now. But rather than lay down their instruments, the musicians are fighting back, standing up for their cultural heritage and identity. Throughout their struggle, they have used music as their weapon against ongoing violence that has left Mali ravaged.

      They Will Have to Kill Us First sees musicians on the run, tells the story of the uprising of Touareg separatists, reveals rare footage of the jihadists, captures life at refugee camps where money and hope are scarce, charts perilous journeys home to war-ravaged cities, and follows our characters as they set up and perform at the first public concert in Timbuktu since the music ban.

      A number of internationally renowned Malian musicians are involved in the creation of the soundtrack, including: Vieux Farka Touré, Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni from Tinariwen, Afel Boucom, a previously unreleased duet between Toumani Diabate and Ali Farke Toure, unreleased Songhoy Blues tracks, stunning vocals from newcomer Kankou Kouyate and more. Andy Morgan, renowned journalist and former manager of Grammy award winning Malian band Tinariwen, co-wrote the film alongside director Johanna Schwartz.
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