We are excited to announce that on 24 November 2016, we present our documentary “Histoires de Twarab à Marseille” (“Twarab Stories from Marseilles”) for the very first time.
The documentary is an international project by the Colombian visual anthropologist and film editor Andrés Carvajal, the Comorian artist Mounir Hamada Hamza and the Austrian researcher Katharina Fritsch. This audiovisual work is the visual part of the research project “Popular Culture in Transnational Spaces” run at the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna.
The main aspect of the documentary portrays the social situation of Comorian artists based in Marseilles, France, within the milieu of Twarab, a musical genre that is very popular in East Africa, as well as on the Comorian Islands. As the presence of Twarab music is a strong red line connected to the migration of Comorians to Marseilles, the documentary attempts to trace the history and the development of this music genre from its origins on the Comoros and in Marseilles, from the perspectives and musical trajectories of the artists themselves. Stretching as far back as the mid-1990s, this music has come to dominate events organised by Grand-Comorian associations, mainly based in Marseilles.
We have attempted to place particular emphasis on the role of Twarab as a “cultural work”, to depict the difficulties faced by the artists in terms of the recurring issue of art not being recognised as work on the Comoros, on their position as migrants in Marseilles, as well as the role of Twarab as a means of raising money in a diasporic context. In this regard, the film not only depicts the challenges that the artists face, but also examines strategies and possibilities for change.
Documentary in HD; 74 minutes;
Original in Comorian/French with subtitles in English
More screenings to follow!