Messages by Music

Cornelia Strasser
1 hour and 16 minutes


Messages Musicaux - Le Sénégal en transformation

Messages by Music - Senegal in transition

In Senegal there is the tradition of transmitting messages by music. The traditional musicians – called 'griots' – were in charge of retaining the history of their ethnic group, alongside with the ways of thinking and behaving. Their aim was to conserve the society. Nowadays, in a changing world, the griots lost the bigger part of their power and importance in and for society. Their world is vanishing. But not their method.

Awadi, one of the first and best known rappers in Western Africa, picked up the method of the griots to launch his message to the people. But unlike the griots, his aim is to change society. His messages have a completely other content than those of the griots. Awadi is fighting for Pan-Africanism, the United States of Africa. This movement can't be understood without having colonialism and it's still lasting after-effects in mind. 

The film 'Messages by Music' offers an insight into contemporary Senegalese society, reflecting it's ethnic, linguistic, religious and musical diversity. In depicting one society in transformation from tradition to modernity, this documentary may have relevance to any growing and shifting African nation.