Niger is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of culture. For many centuries the region has been a junction between north African and sub-Saharan cultures, making the area culturally rich and interesting. But times are changing fast. Traditions and cultural heritages that have been there for centuries are about to disappear in less than a decade.
This is why Etran Finatawa and Mamane Barka called for action! They organized workshops with school children to educate them about cultural heritage and its value for a cultural identity.
With the support of three British charity foundations they were able to conduct a 12-day tour into the country. The 7 musicians went to 10 different schools all over Niger, where they played music with the children and explained about the traditional instruments and songs of the region. In the afternoon they performed for the whole school in the school yard. They reached over 3000 children during this tour.
Jean Molitor, a German filmmaker, joined them and made a documentary about this project: Niger The Rolling Musical Lesson!
The musicians want to continue. ‘We are musicians, after having toured the world we want to share something with the population we want to bring something back to our country. We cannot drill wells, but we can make music and strengthen cultural knowledge. Culture is actually the basis for development,’ says one of the musicians.
Also, in 2011 the musicians want to expand the program by visiting more schools and coordinating more with teacher colleges to show how to use instruments and music in every school life.
There is also a beautiful photo gallery by Jean Molitor on his website, visit: http://www.jeanmolitor.de/foto/afrika-niger/