Tag Archives: Amine Bouhafa

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Fatoumata Diawara & Amine Bouhafa – Fasso

Since the release of the film ‘They Will Have to Kill Us First” I have come to realise that another great film had managed to be released earlier this year with as much as a blink from the Hub. The film ‘Timbuktu‘ is an ‘insightful drama about a family and a city shattered by bigotry and violence‘. It was remarkably well received world-wide, even nominated for an Oscar in February this year. No, not for Best Original Score but instead for Best Foreign Language Film.

The combined work between Diawara and Tunisian composer Bouhafa has produced an inspiring title song. It is true to the message of the film that the soaring-strength of Diawara’s voice is used as its central musical theme. To quote Peter Bradshaw’s review:

“Islamist zealots are shown shooting gazelles with AK-47s – a powerful image of predatory crassness to which the film ultimately circles back – and also destroying masks and statues, including a statue of a fertility goddess. They are stamping on harmless pleasures like music and football, and throwing themselves with cold relish into lashings and stonings for adultery. The suppression and control of women is shown as a key part of this new order: an unending hate campaign that is both an ideological procedure and a symptom of their own unhappiness and self-hate.”

The film shows the defiance of Mali’s society in other ways; a particular favourite is a scene of men continuing a game of football, with no ball, through collective mime. In a similar way, director Abderrahmane Sissako uses the recurring joy of Diawara’s vocals to raise a musical objection to the dire oppression of women and the arts in Mali.


Fatoumata  Diawara & Amine Bouhafa – Fasso


Sam Garbett is Public Affairs Coordinator for the Mali Development Group – www.malidg.org.uk.

To get in touch with Sam for further information he’d be happy to hear from you at sam.garbett@malidg.org.uk. Any comments and ideas for improving the Hub are especially welcome. We all look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for tuning in.

The Mali Interest Hub is an initiative run by the Mali Development Group, supported by the Alliance for Mali.