Who are the people affected?
How does the Sahel Calling Project help?
Timeline & Maps
Project TheSahel Calling Project
is an independent initiative which uses the voice of musicians to protect human rights in the Sahel and nurture reconciliation in Mali. Launched in August 2012, Sahel Calling´s main products are a series of films which speak to global and local audiences. The project works under the guidance of UNHCR and Oxfam, and includes collaborations with NGOs and individuals on music and story compilations, screenings and music evenings, and facilitating dialogue between musicians.
The project is inspired by the musicians in the region who are risking their lives by singing and speaking about the political situation and the violation of human rights, as well as sometimes controversially supporting reconciliation of a united Mali and a united people.
The Sahel Calling Project invites a global audience to get involved in all of its initiatives
, including the planning, production and distribution of two documentary films about the role of musicians in the humanitarian crisis and socio-political conflict. The project is primarily based on the making of these two films, but also includes events at refugee camps, press conferences, forums for musicians, and the production of a CD and short story collection.
Sahel Calling will offer two films, extra footage of concerts and interviews and in villages and refugee camps. The film tells the story of the crisis and conflict through the voices of musicians, using Mali's ancient tradition of generating communication and conflict-resolution through music.
The project supports refugees by raising public awareness and impacting real-time knowledge and action with the short, 30-minute film on 20 June 2013, World Refugee Day. The project also suggests donations directly to:
(if you would like to donate money to a certain musician in our film, please email us - we would be more than happy to put you in direct contact!)
Oxfam - West African Emergency Program
UNHCR - Refugee Programs
Aide 2 Northern Artists Program
The Sahel Calling Project works with guidance from Oxfam, UNHCR and Conscience International
, and includes a project and film team, and a collective of musicians and advisors from the region and the music industry.
To join the project, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: www.facebook.com/sahel.calling
Want even more information about our project, our budget, our history and the region? Click here
Who are the people affected by the humanitarian crisis and socio-political conflict?
As of October 2012, an estimated 208,000* refugees
have fled the north of Mali for other countries due to drought and famine - hardships which were then exacerbated by rebel insurgences which shut down infrastructure and led to a "justice" system that violates human rights.
There are also 203,000* "internally-displaced persons"(IDPs)
to consider, who have fled but remain in Mali, as well as all of the people still living in the north of Mali
under life-threatenings risks from drought and famine and limited infrastructure, including the closure of markets, hospitals, banks, etc.
There has been destruction of cultural and religious landmarks and manuscripts, and the imposition of human rights violations. Among more atrocious violations was the outlawing of the creation of or enjoyment of music.
*Reference: FAO Situation Update, October 2012
How does the Sahel Calling Project help?
The project has three goals:
1) to raise awareness
about the people affected by the humanitarian crisis and socio-political conflict,
2) to encourage a global audience to take action
to improve the living conditions for the people affected, and
3) to provide musicians a forum
to dialogue and expand their life-risking and life-saving work.
Many of the musicians in our project are refugees or internally displaced persons themselves. Learn more about our main musicians here: Sahel Calling Musician Gallery - updated Mar. 2013
Though the main filming was completed in February 2013, the Sahel Calling Project continually functions as an awareness raising mechanism by giving a global audience the possibility to get involved in its work. This includes submitting questions to ask of the musicians being filmed, contributing project ideas and assisting with media and funding campaigns
. More information is available at:
Sahel Calling: Get Involved
Naba TT & Virginiel, courtesy of J. Bosch
Amkoullel, courtesy of Msia Kibona Clark.
"Sahel Calling" is a documentary film about the motivational power of music and musicians to confront a radical political agenda such as the type which occurred in the north of Mali. Here, various opposing armed groups exploited regional tensions to assume control, displacing hundreds of thousands of residents, exacerbating an existing humanitarian crisis, and breaking the international decree of human rights by offering a bleak interpretation of Shariah law. Among other oppressive extremities and violations, they outlawed the playing and enjoyment of music, a particularly egregious act, as this region is the birthplace and spiritual center of some of the world's greatest, most enduring and influential musical forms and traditions.
"Sahel Calling" follows certain musicians -- many of whom are displaced themselves -- and travel through the cities and villages filming their experiences, recording their songs and stories, interviewing refugees, and exploring the transformative power of solidarity and music against those that would attempt to silence us.
This is a story of the motivational force of music and the impact it can have on moving others to awareness and action, and possibly affecting a complex, socio-political, violent crisis. A true documentary, "Sahel Calling" researchs and plans as much as possible, but like the musicians themselves, no one knows what will transpire, nor what or who will be inspired by them - until it is happening.
Can the musicians find common ground? Can they affect change, and should they? Will you? Viewers are musically lured to listen and learn, dance and take action.
Format: 30-minute short and proposed full-length documentary
Timeline & Maps
|August - December 2012||Fundraising and preparation|
|September 2012||Shooting of "teaser" in Bamako, Mali|
|November 2012||Release of teaser via youtube/vimeo|
|February 2013||Filming (Mali, Burkina Faso)|
|March - April 2013||Post-production |
|20 June 2013||Global launch of short film|
|October 2013||Return to film more|
|February 2014||Global launch of feature length film|
Mali, Azawad, The Sahel, The Sub-Sahara