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JE CHANTERAI POUR TOI/IíLL SING FOR YOU

Presented by Jonathan Demme, this documentary film by Jacques Sarasin tells the story of Malian singer, guitarist, and songwriter Boubacar Traoré, whoís better known as "KarKar." Itís an unlikely tale, from KarKarís brief, early í60s fame as an African Elvis, with a message urging young expatriates to come home and help build a new country, to his multi-decade withdrawal from public view and then his re-emergence in the era of world music. The evocation of newly independent Mali, through archive footage and on-camera remembrances, is particularly powerful. Considerable time is spent on the singerís years of mourning his wife, Pierrette, who died in childbirth. KarKar never addresses the camera, an indication of his ambivalence about being a public figure. Still, recent performance footage captures a distilled reflection of his old rock-star charisma. The film follows him on a train ride to his home town of Kayes, to France, where he hid in the early days of mourning, to his wifeís grave in Maliís eastern savannah, and even to the northern desert for a pleasing, if not particularly germane, jam with Malian guitar hero Ali Farka Touré. KarKar has a bigger audience in Europe and America than he does at home, so this is a somewhat quirky, outsiderís view of Maliís complex musical world. Beautiful footage, the subtle interweaving of stories, and KarKarís melancholy ballads ultimately carry the day. (76 minutes)


Issue Date: April 30 - May 6, 2004
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