By David Jordan Jr
The cliche “find something to die for in life” is often said by many, but rarely carried out by people. Many times people will allow situations and circumstances to determine the path of their lives; the dreams that may choose to pursue or choose not to pursue. A passion that burns inside of you to do something has to be greater than the force(s) that are attempting to detour you from your goal. For a group of musicians in Mali, music is the passion that ignites the fire within their soul to live. The newly released documentary “They Will Have To Kill Us First” tells the story of how the country of Mali was silenced by an imposed ban on music and all forms of music communications by extremist groups and the great measures which the musicians went to do the one thing they wanted to do; even if it meant death. The ban on music, which began in August 2012 and lasted until January 2013 created an atmosphere of darkness for the ears and hearts of those that loved music, those that music played an important part in their daily lives. Women musicians incurred the worst of the ban as extremists imposing Islamic law created harsher barriers for women to live a simple life, let a long play/sing music. “They Will Have To Kill Us First” allows the viewer to essentially embark on the journey to musical freedom with a group of artists documented in the film. Moussa Ag Sidi, Fadimata “Disco” Walett Oumar, Khaira Arby and the Songhoy Blues risked everything for their freedom to not only pursue their passion, but to live and regain a life of normalcy. I recently had the opportunity to speak with the group Songhoy Blues in New York City about the premiere of the film in the states, the impact of the film on the world and their personal experiences which have been instrumental in shaping not only their unique sound but their lives as men.
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW BELOW: