“Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai” (2015, O/Eng, 75 min.) tells the universal story of a musician trying to make it against all odds, set against the backdrop of the raucous subculture of Tuareg guitar. The protagonist, real-life musician Mdou Moctar, must battle fierce competition from jealous musicians, overcome family conflicts, endure the trials of love, and overcome his biggest rival—himself.
Stylistically borrowing from the Western rock-u-drama and a homage to Prince’s 1984 “Purple Rain,” the story was written with and for a Tuareg audience, drawing from experiences of Mdou Moctar and fellow musicians. Carried by stunning musical performances from Mdou, the film is equally a window into modern day Tuareg guitar in the city of Agadez as it is an experiment in modern ethnographic filmmaking and new techniques of cross cultural collaboration. The film screening is followed by a discussion between the director and Norient’s Theresa Beyer.
Christopher Kirkley is a music collector and archivist focused on the Sahel of West Africa. His work documents popular musics and cultural phenomena of local tradition with transglobal influence. Via filmmaking, field recordings, interviews, photography, mp3 archiving and cellphone data collection, the project is an experiment in cross-cultural communication. Kirkley releases records under the label Sahel Sounds in conjunction with artists across six countries.
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".