Posts Tagged ‘they will have to kill us first’

They Will Have to Kill Us First OST: Exclusive Album Stream

Posted on September 14th, 2016 in News, Recent posts by .

They Will Have to Kill us First

Listen to an exclusive stream of the original soundtrack for the film They Will Have to Kill Us, which will be released this Friday

Johanna Schwartz’s mesmerising documentary, They Will Have to Kill Us First, follows the plight of musicians caught up in Mali’s socio-political tragedy. The documentary has won plaudits worldwide, and has been credited with catapulting young Malian quartet Songhoy Blues onto the international stage.

Music is at the heart of Malian culture. The soundtrack features unreleased material from some of the country’s icons including Toumani Diabaté, Bombino and Ali Farka Touré, as well as original compositions from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontman, Nick Zinner, who produced Songhoy Blues’ acclaimed debut record.

Enjoy the album in full below.

The album is released Friday, September 16 on Transgressive Records. Pre-order your copy.

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Songhoy Blues / They Will Have to Kill Us First at Sheffield University, February 26

Posted on February 3rd, 2016 in Live, News, Recent posts by .

Capture d’écran 2014-12-04 à 22.08.59

Sheffield University to host Songhoy Blues and a screening of the They Will Have to Kill Us First documentary on February 26

Building on from a successful 2015 in which they released their critically acclaimed debut Music in Exile and received a nomination for Best New Act at the Q Awards, Malian desert blues band Songhoy Blues are to perform in the Students Union Auditorium of Sheffield University – courtesy of TalkingGigs. The event will be the perfect opportunity to watch the band in action, as they discuss their culture and musical influences and perform unplugged renditions of their songs.

The band were one of the principal subjects in Johanna Schwartz’s They Will Have to Kill Us First, which documented the unfortunate circumstances musicians suffered during the imposition of Sharia law in Northern Mali in 2012. Songhoy Blues’ performance will be preceded by a screening of the documentary; the band will be talking with the film’s co-writer Andy Morgan.

The event starts at 7:00pm with doors opening at 6:30pm. Tickets are priced at £13 (£8 concessions for under 23-year-olds). A booking fee of £1.50 applies for each transaction.

For tickets and more information, visit Ticket Source, or call 07955 047387.

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Review | They Will Have to Kill us First: Malian Music in Exile

Posted on October 19th, 2015 in Recent posts by .


Words by Yoram Allon

Dir: Johanna Schwartz; Together Films

‘Music is our life, our oxygen’

Johanna Schwartz’s debut feature intelligently captures the complexity and emotion of the life of Malian musicians forced into exile and desperate to keep their music alive. It charts the paths of these artists after Islamic jihadists manipulated military and political disorder in the country’s north, following the 2012 Touareg rebellion, to overtake central cities such as Timbuktu and Gao and impose strict sharia law. Draconian measures included a total ban on music, with radio stations being destroyed, and musicians tortured and killed.

Tens of thousands fled south, or to neighbouring Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. That refugee population included a great many musicians, including Khaira Arby (pictured above), a much-loved singer; Fadimata ‘Disco’ Walett Oumar, lead singer of Touareg group Tartit; an itinerant guitarist Moussa Sidi; and the much-heralded Songhoy Blues, who first appear onscreen riding scooters and carrying rifle-slung guitars like some gang from a West African Quadrophenia. The film effectively presents their struggle, contextualised within the story of the uprising of the Touareg separatists and the political machinations of contemporary Mali.

Although the film follows a fairly conventional format in focusing on specific protagonists as they negotiate different paths of sustenance and return, it is an effectively told narrative, interspersing different kinds of footage – from archival shots of military activity and rare shots of the jihadists themselves to contemporaneous news reports. Indeed, the film is most successful in evoking a visceral sense of events unfolding in real time, as we follow Khaira and Disco in their attempt to stage a concert in Timbuktu, a particularly dangerous enterprise that involved announcing the gig via local radio on the day of its performance; this incredible event allowed music to be heard and enjoyed for the first time in over three years.

The film is equally powerful in following the development of Songhoy Blues, from jamming by the banks of the River Niger at dusk to their arrival in London to record their album Music in Exile, produced by Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist Nick Zinner (who also provides a fantastic score for the film), and to play at the Royal Albert Hall. And it is the scenes of the young men, hearing the finished mix of their album for the first time, that really capture the enormity of their journey, and the potential power of their music to keep the spirit of Mali alive.

They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile is in cinemas in the UK from October 23

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