A Story of Sahel Sounds (2016) captures the musical creativity of the Sahel, known as the African Transition Zone, by adopting some fresh and innovative approaches to ethnography and ethnomusicology, thus avoiding the flaws of many earlier similar cases. It is worth noting that the ethnography of the film is mostly indirect, since the focus is primarily not on the music and culture of the Sahel, but the label and the art platform dedicated to them. Thus, it is actually the American founder of the label that we get to know first, allowing the film to consider the position of the ethnographer and expose its inherent subjectivity. The friendly relations of the label founder with African musicians and the focus on various aspects of music move the research far away from the dangers of exoticisation and othering. In addition to the author’s view, the article also contains the interview answers of Florian Kläger, one of the makers of the film.
The integral version of this article can be found in the printed KINO!