With an obvious appreciation for their subject, but without indulgency, that is, with the gaze of observers, Laurence Gavron and Hamidou Dix explore the public and private life of a multi-facetted character who influenced the evolution of Senegalese music right through to modern-day rap. We see him singing with Didier Awadi from Positive Black Soul who pays tribute to him – « He’s a guide, with his own philosophy on music ». He is also filmed in concert with Youssou N’Dour, where the griot’s xalam unites with the mbalax in a call for social reconciliation. El Hadj Ndiaga Mbaye sings about self-denial and faith, reinforcement of values, patience in the face of destiny, acceptance and peace. As a public figure, he spoke on radio talk shows in which he repeated the ethnic discourse he so often sang about in his stunning improvisations.
Through him, we sense the rhythm of a Senegalese society with deep-rooted values and the simple desire to approach life with a positive attitude. The film uses interviews and documentary to show just how the griot’s art consists in amplifying his ethical discourse to encourage society to adhere to the values that both forged it and continue to cement it. The beauty of his music serves to present this simple concept, without taking it any further.
D : Laurence Gavron, Hamidou Dix · Sc : Laurence Gavron · C : Pape Gora Seck, Pierre Leconte, Claude Pavelek · Ed : Variety Moszynski · S : Alioune Mbow, Lamine Fall, Vieux Diouf · P : les Productions de la Lanterne, with the Centre national de la cinématographie · 55′ · Betacam · Doc · Col · Contact : les Productions de la Lanterne///Article N° : 5663