Dambé: The Mali Project

Director: Dearbhla Glynn

Living out a dream, Irish musicians Paddy Keenan and Liam Ó’Maonlaí travel across Mali on a musical roadtrip, soaking themselves in local traditions en route to the famous Festival au désert. On a slow-paced journey the pair take the opportunity to listen to and learn from numerous Malian musicians, with both settled and nomadic communities revealing rich musical traditions stretching back hundreds of years. Music, indeed, is seen as a repository for the history of tribes and communities, with songs recording how the land has changed over the centuries. Using interviews with the travelling pair in tandem with scenes of performance and travel, director Dearbhla Glynn focuses on how music can cross borders and break barriers of language and history. The concluding scenes of Keenan and Ó’Maonlaí fusing their traditional Irish music with the sounds and songs performed at Festival au desert form the definitive statement of this goal.

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