The Last Song Before The War takes you on a musical journey to Northern Mali, outside Timbuktu for the annual Festival in the Desert. The festival ran for 12 years serving as a gathering of different cultures and traditions, allowing festivalgoers around Mali and the world a chance to be connected through the shared experience of music. This documentary follows the last festival before the seizure of Northern Mali by Tuareg Rebels and Islamic Militants in 2012. Mali has always been known for its rich musical heritage, which is showcased in full throughout the 90-minute run time. Highlighting Griot performers, plenty of guitar solos, dancing and energy that can only be heard to be fully appreciated. A must see for anyone interested in Malian music, or music in general for that matter, a true treat for the ears and the eyes. Featuring interviews with Vieux Farka Toure, Khaïra Arby, Tinariwen, Banning Eyre and festival co-founder Manny Ag Ansar. The documentary illustrates the common ground that can only be reached through music, as well as showcasing the incredible talent that can be heard across multiple genres and styles in Malian music traditions.
– Ross Currie