“They Will Have to Kill Us First”
“Dovranno prima ucciderci”: un titolo inequivocabile per il film documentario di Johanna Schwartz sulle vicende di alcuni musicisti del nord del Mali che resistono, nonostante le privazioni date dalla guerra civile, ai divieti di suonare a opera dei jihadisti. Un’azione inconcepibile per uno dei popoli che maggiormente ama e produce musica. Nel doc, tra i protagonisti, anche il giovane quartetto Songhoy Blues.
“Ho scritto Mali”, ha confessato Aliou Touré, “perché avevo in mente il primo presidente del nostro Stato, Modibo Keita (1960-68) e mi sono chiesto, scrivendola, cosa avrebbe pensato oggi di quello che il Mali è diventato”. “Desert Melodie, invece, parla più esplicitamente degli jihadisti. Gli stessi che non ci hanno permesso di suonare musica e allo stesso tempo ci dicevano che se non pregavamo non saremmo stati buoni musulmani”.
AGGIORNAMENTO 20 novembre: roba davvero incredibile! non si fa neppure in tempo a pubblicare un post su questi musicisti malesi, che i terroristi jihadisti colpiscono ancora, proprio in Mali, ormai precediamo le loro intenzioni, malauguratamente
Mali, attacco jihadista a hotel di Bamako: “Almeno 9 morti, francesi tra gli ostaggi”
E nel frattempo i finanziatori dell’ISIS investono anche in Italia:
Garba Touré and his guitar were a familiar sight on the streets of Diré, a dusty town on the banks on the Niger, upstream from Timbuktu. But when armed jihadists took control of northern Mali in the spring of 2012, he knew it was time to leave.
“The first rebel group to arrive were the MNLA [Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad], but they weren’t against music, so there was no bad feeling between them and the population,” he tells me over the phone from Bamako, Mali’s capital. “But then Ansar Dine [a local armed Islamist group, whose name translates as “followers of the faith”] came and chased them out. They ordered people to stop smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and playing music. Even though I don’t smoke or drink, I love the guitar, so I thought: ‘This isn’t the moment to hang around. I have to go south.'”
Like thousands of refugees, Garba grabbed a bag, his guitar and boarded a bus to Bamako. His father, Oumar Touré, a musician who had played congas for Mali’s guitar legend, Ali Farka Touré, stayed behind with the family. The hardline Islamist gunmen drove music underground. The penalties for playing or even just listening to it on your mobile phone were a public whipping, a stint in an overcrowded jail or worse.
“When I arrived in Bamako the mood wasn’t great,” Garba remembers, “Different army factions were fighting each other. There were guns everywhere. All we heard was the scream of weapons. We weren’t used to that.”
Garba and some other musician friends from the north decided they couldn’t succumb to the feeling that their lives had been shipwrecked by the crisis. They had to form a band, if for no other reason than to boost the morale of other refugees in the same situation. “We wanted to recreate that lost ambience of the north and make all the refugees relive those northern songs.”
That’s how Songhoy Blues was born. “Songhoy” because Garba Touré, lead vocalist Aliou Touré and second guitarist Oumar Touré, although unrelated to each other – Touré is as common as Smith or Jones in northern Mali – all belong to the Songhoy people, one of the main ethnicities in the north. And “Blues” not only because northern Mali is the cradle of the blues and its music is often referred to as “the desert blues”, but also because Garba and his mates are obsessed by that distant American cousin of their own blues. “My father used to make me listen to Jimi Hendrix. He’s one of my idols. But I also listen BB King and John Lee Hooker a lot.”