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Funeral Festivities
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Funeral Festivities

A Hugo Zemp Film.

Among the Senufo people of northern Cote d'Ivoire, the balafon (xylophone with calabash resonators) is an emblematic musical instrument. This film shows balafon orchestras playing in five villages during the two principal days of funeral festivities, celebrations that include the most important rites, ceremonies and rejoicings in the life of the Senufo. During dialogues with Sikaman, a young musician who acted as research assistant for this film series, the master balafonist Nahoua gives the key to understanding how this marvelous music comes into being, and what it means.

"The images shown in this film are unforgettable! It is rare for an expert in hearing and aural perception to employ visualization and images with such mastery. Hugo Zemp, you are a phenomenon! From being a marvelous sound engineer as an ethnomusicologist you have become one of our best cameramen." -- Jean Rouch, CNRS, Musee de l'Homme, Paris, 2002

"A unique cognitive and social document of a little known West African xylophone tradition; a glimpse of the musical mind of Senufo master xylophone player Nahoua Silue, and testimony to master ethnomusicological filmmaker Hugo Zemp's incomparable approach and technique!" -- Gerhard Kubik, University of Vienna, 2002

"A magnificent musical tradition superbly filmed in its proper context, offered in all its beauty and complexity. A visual and auditory experience, an opportunity for understanding without equivalent. A truly unique discovery." -- Gilbert Rouget, CNRS Musee de l'Homme, 2002

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards

Bartok Prize, 20th Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris, 2001

Prize for the best film on the arts, 15th Parnu Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, Estonia, 2001

Filmmaker: Hugo Zemp

Running Time
99 mins
Nb videos
2 videos included