The Endless Journey - Archived
‘The Endless Journey’ brings together four musicians from two of Niger’s leading internationally known music groups, Mamane Barka and Etran Finatawa. For the last six years both groups have been preoccupied with bringing the music and culture of their respective (and adopted) nomadic tribes to the world stage. But now there is a more urgent need to move from being cultural ambassadors abroad to being cultural activists at home. Each time they return to Niger it is more evident that traditions, and with it cultural identity, are being lost. ‘The Endless Journey’ is a multi media event recounting their efforts to stem the haemorrhaging of Niger’s cultural heritage in film, images and music.
Drought, poverty, globalisation and the spread of radical Islamic ideas are rapidly changing the landscape in Niger both environmentally and politically. The grasslands are barren and the way of life for Nomadic peoples across the sub Saharan region is increasingly unsustainable. Migration to the city is the only option remaining for many. It’s a dramatic contrast for people whose survival has for centuries revolved around their livestock, with their lives played out across the shifting sands. Once in the city the pressure to blend into the ‘urban’ community is a powerful force deeply eroding cultural identity within a single generation.
The four musicians at the heart of ‘The Endless Journey’ understand that losing cultural identity makes their country poor, but without a champion for diversity it’s a very bleak future indeed.
The Film 'The Rolling Music Lesson'
Taking positive action Etran Finatawa, Mamane Barka and Oumarou Adamou embarked on a road trip, ’The Rolling Music Lesson’, to take their music to outlying schools across Niger. Their intention was to inspire the children to value their cultural heritage by meeting musicians who have travelled and performed their traditions world wide. Internationally acclaimed photographer and film-maker Jean Molitor accompanied them and documented their musical journey and the extraordinary response they received. The subtitled documentary film gives a rare glimpse of contemporary village life in one of the poorest countries in the world. The exhibition contrasts scenes of bustling activity with serenely composed portraiture.
To view a CNN Online News report featuring the Rolling Music Lesson CLICK HERE