Syncosradio Africa

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AfriDocs returns to TV with fascinating music documentaries

The AfriDocs festival of African documentary films returns to TV screens across Africa this month. As was the case in February, music documentaries are a major focus of this month’s line-up.

AfriDocs celebrates the music of Africa and its diaspora with Fonko, a documentary series that highlights new music from Nigeria, francophone Africa and South Africa. Other musical highlights include Trances, one of the first films to be restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, which tells the story of Morocco’s most famous bands from the conflict period. Also on the AfriDocs presentation of the ever-popular Marley, the definitive life story of the iconic musician, revolutionary and legend, from his early days to his rise to international stardom.

AfriDocs is an African broadcast first, a bold and exciting broadcast stream that sees African and other international documentaries screened across 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa on a weekly basis. It uses the power of satellite television to reach new audiences, expose the best work in African documentary filmmaking and get people across the continent discussing common issues. Audiences across Africa have responded to the chance to see real African stories that not only address many of the challenges facing the continent, but also stories that celebrate the diverse cultures, languages and peoples of Africa and the world.

AfriDocs is an initiative of the award-winning South African documentary production and distribution company Steps, in partnership with the Bertha Foundation. According to AfriDocs Executive Producer Don Edkins from Steps in Cape Town, “So many documentary films have been shot in Africa, but very few have been seen by African audiences. This heralds a new era of distribution for the continent.”

AfriDocs is screened every Monday and Thursday night on ED (DStv channel 190) and GOtv (channel 65) at 8pm (GMT+2), except where otherwise stated. The AfriDocs stream is seen in 49 countries by satellite, and terrestrially to an additional 100 cities in 8 countries.

Some of the musical highlights of this month’s AfriDocs festival include:

  • Marley (11 June at 7:30pm)

Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Kevin Macdonald’s 2012 film tells the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international stardom.

  • Fonko – New Music from South Africa And Nigeria (18 June)

South Africa is the home to styles like kwaito, house and Shangaan Electro, possibly the fastest club music in the world. Nigeria has the most commercial music on the continent, but also fierce protest music to carry on the work from the late Fela Kuti, one of the most hard core protest singers of all times. Narrated by Neneh Cherry.

  • Fonko – New Music from Francophone West Africa (18 June)

Dakar is the unrivalled center for the West African hip hop-scene and coupé-décalé is now a major influence all over West Africa. In Burkina Faso, the name and speeches of Thomas Sankara are used by musicians to protest against injustices and corruption. In Benin, the veterans of Orchestre Polyrytmo give a historic background to the music scene of today. Narrated by Neneh Cherry.

  • The Dream of Shahrazad (25 June)

The Dream of Shahrazad is a feature-length documentary film which locates political expression before, during and after the Egyptian revolution – and also within recent times in Turkey and Lebanon – within a broader historical and cultural framework: that of storytelling and music. More particularly, it looks at the legacy of the famous collection of stories known as The 1001 (or “Arabian”) Nights.

  • Trances (29 June)

The 1981 film follows the path of one of Morocco’s most famous bands during a period of conflict. They draw their music from the last thousand years of Moroccan and African history. We hear the gentle voices of the musicians, who carry universal messages about love and unity peppered between many wonderful scenes of music and performances. Trances is the first film restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation.