"Beats of the Antonov" is a feature documentary about the people of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains in Sudan, during civil war. The separation of Sudan into two sovereign states has not prevented the longest civil war in the African continent from raging on to this day. The inhabitants of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, having fought for the independence of South Sudan, continue to fight for their cultural, ethnic, social, and economic rights. With Beats of the Antonov, director Hajooj Kuka provides an inspiring account of how cultural heritage and creative traditions can defy the indignity of displacement.
The film focuses on the everyday survival of people who have lost kin, homes, and livelihoods in the ongoing conflict, but instead of devastation and defeat, we discover communities emboldened to celebrate their heritage, and to improvise creative ways to continue harvesting crops and herding cattle. With inspiring lucidity, Kuka threads together the voices — speaking and singing — of militants, social workers, intellectuals, and other everyday folk, to reverse conventional representations of victimhood and reveal an alternative narrative of tenacity and resilience.
Sarah Abunama-Elgadi or Alsarah is a Sudanese-born singer, songwriter and ethnomusicologist. Born in the capital city of Khartoum, where she spent the first eight years of her life, she relocated to Taez, Yemen with her family to escape the ever-stifling regime in her native country. She then abruptly moved to the US in 1994 when a brief civil war broke out in Yemen. Alsarah started her musical training at the age of twelve and went on to study ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University.
Theresa Beyer lives in Bern, Switzerland and is a music journalist, ethnomusicologist and cultural producer. Since she joined Norient in 2011, she has worked for its online magazine, managed different projects, co-edited Out of the Absurdity of Life – Globale Musik (Traversion 2012) and Seismographic Sounds –Visions of a New World (Norient Books 2015) and co-curated the exhibition "Seismographic Sounds".