Inspired by the aesthetic of the intrepid recordists at film and record label Sublime Frequencies, this series explores the sounds of North Africa as captured by two of the label’s key directors Hisham Mayet and Olivia Wyatt and their influences.

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 430PM, 930PM
Directed by Ahmed El Maanouni | 1981
With Larbi Batma, Nass El Ghiwane, Abderrahman Paco, Omar Sayed, Allal Yaala
A concert film unlike any other, Trances presents extraordinary footage of the Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane, known as the Rolling Stones of Africa, whose legendary performances combined music, poetry, and theater. “Nass El Ghiwane was singing their nation, their people–their beliefs, their sufferings, their prayers” (Martin Scorsese).
The 9:30pm screening will be introduced by acclaimed critic and poet Byron Coley. One of the central writers at the iconic 1980s indie music magazine Forced Exposure, he has also written for Spin and is currently the senior writer at Arthur Magazine.

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 7PM
Musical Brotherhoods From the Trans-Saharan Highway
Directed by Hisham Mayet | 2008
Musicians, fortune-tellers, snake charmers, dancing boys, medicine men and magicians all converge at the nightly spectacle of Marrakesh’s Jemaa Al Fna square, where the traditions of the Arab North and the Berber South meet.
Screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Hisham Mayet and critic and poet Byron Coley. Mayet is an acclaimed documentarian and co-founder of Sublime Frequencies.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 4:30PM, 9:15PM
Staring into the Sun
Directed by Olivia Wyatt | 2011
“Traveling from the northern highlands to the lower Omo Valley via bush taxi, Isuzu cargo trucks, and any means possible, Wyatt brings together the worlds of Zar spirit possession, Hamer tribal wedding ceremonies, Borena water well polyphonic singing, wild hyena feedings, and bizarre Ethiopian TV segments. An enchanting look at these otherworldly images, stark landscapes and captivating sounds from the horn of Africa” (Sublime Frequencies).

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 7PM
Deep Hearts
Directed by Robert Gardner | 1981
A model for Sublime Frequencies’ filmmaking practice, pioneering ethnographer Robert Gardner’s Deep Hearts follows the ecstatic male beauty contests of the Bororo people in the Sahel desert.
Screens with Unsere Afrikareise (1966)
Directed by Peter Kubelka
Originally paired with Deep Hearts during that film’s initial run in 1981.
+ Q&A with Robert Gardner and Olivia Wyatt

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 4:30PM, 9:15PM
Summer 70
Directed by Nagy Shaker, Paolo Isaja | 1971
Full of the youthful energy of the 1970s, this experimental work is an essential entry in the counterculture canon and features a score by Egyptian composter Soliman Gamil.

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 7PM
Folk Music of the Sahara: Among the Tuareg of Libya
Directed by Hisham Mayet | 2004
A rare look at the music and dance of the matriarchal Tuareg of North Central Africa. “If you ever wondered where some of Western music’s more exotic ideas originated from (Sun Ra’s Arkestra, call-and-response choruses, trance drumming, and even some forms of modern hip-hop) this is a great place to start!” (Sublime Frequencies)


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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2022: I publish a weeklyish email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca., where I practiced with Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison and was involved in various pro-ecology and social justice activist activities.

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