Mali Blues

In 2012 jihadists captured parts of Northern Mali. When they took over, they completely forbade music in many of the towns. This incomprehensible prohibition is at the heart of Lutz Gregor‘s powerful film. The Malian musicians live for the music and from the music, literally and figuratively. ”We need music. It is like a hospital to us”, says Fatoumata Diawara, a successful Malian musician, who escaped her country to avoid forced marriage. Now she returns to perform in Mali for the first time. ”I don’t recognise my country anymore”, she wails.

The musicians want to change Mali with music – the one mean that used to be forbidden. Rap-artist Master Soumy is one of them. He confronts the jihadists in his songs. He wants them to explain and justify their crimes, for Soumy’s Islam doesn’t tolerate such horrors. Tuareg musician Ahmed Ag Kaedi also had to flee home in order to continue playing; the jihadists threatened to cut off his fingers. He continues to play.

Mali Blues is a celebration of music and courage.

Sirje Niitepõld / Translation: Tuomo Karvonen

Languages: French, Bambara, Tamasheq
Subtitles: English


  • Director: Lutz Gregor
  • Country: Germany
  • Year: 2016
  • Length: 90
  • Age limit: S
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Axel Schneppat
  • Editing: Markus Schmidt, Michelle Barbin
  • Audio: Pascal Capitolin
  • Production: Christian Beetz / gebrueder beetz filmproduktion


  • Kinopalatsi 6: Wednesday 25.1. at 19:15
  • Orion: Friday 27.1. at 21:30