Presented in conjunction with Soundwatch on November 13 at Lichtblick Kino, catch the Berlin premiere of Fonko, a snazzy travelogue about electronic music across Africa.
In 2011, Lars Lovén and Daniel Jadama met at the Selam music festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, bonding over their passion for Africa’s musical boom and thus the idea for Fonko was born, named after the Manding word for “the thing” and the Wolof verb “to take care of each other”. What resulted was a documentary by the two Swedes, along with Göran Olsson, taking us across five western and southern African nations, from Nigeria to Angola to South Africa and giving us a thoroughly danceable look at Africa’s contemporary music scene, featuring the likes of renowned artist Sister Fa and narrated by Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti. Catch the beat yourself on November 13, 8pm at Lichtblick Kino with Lóven in tow for a Q&A afterwards.
Give us the elevator pitch for Fonko.
We want to show the state of Africa through its urban music. This music is happening right now and it’s happening fast. We wanted to make it available globally and show what’s going on.
Who should stay away from your movie Fonko?
Anyone who wants Europe to remain a sole cradle of culture.
Name a role model…
Sister Fa from the movie really inspires me. She is really using her work to fight female [genital] mutilation in Senegal. It’s still present there even though it’s illegal. She’s extremely brave and willing to talk openly about how she is a victim of this.
How does Berlin relate to Fonko?
Actually, Sister Fa, the Senegalese rapper I just mentioned, lives in Berlin.
Weirdest thing that happened to you during the filming of the movie?
During our roadtrip from Ghana to Nigeria we had to drive through Togo and Benin. We ended up stuck in the no-man’s land between Benin and Nigeria as we supposedly didn’t have the right visa. We were stuck there for over a day with an angry immigration officer shouting at us for eight hours for having the wrong visa. After to-ing and fro-ing between embassies in the middle of the night, waiting in the dark, a senior officer arrived on the scene. He then spoke with our angry guard, after which the same man who had been yelling at us suddenly turned around with the biggest smile and said: ‘Welcome to Nigeria, enjoy your stay!’.