Director: Volker Goetze

Production: Volker Goetze: WeitBlick Media, Co-produced with Sam Pollard / U.S.A. 2012

Category: Arts / Human Interest

Language: Mandinka, Wolof, French, English.

Subtitles: English

Length: 52/82 minutes

Ablaye Cissoko is a griot – a keeper of West African epic histories, a Senegalese storyteller and songwriter. By tradition, griots are the living repositories of West Africa’s oral epics. They recount stories that are crucial for the preservation of West African social structures. Ablaye Cissoko is our ticket inside this mysterious world. Griots today are at a crossroads between the traditional, which is increasingly irrelevant, and something new. What could not be done in a thousand years through the competing ideals of Islam and Western philosophies is being done by a fundamental reordering of economic opportunity. The film captures this moment of historic confrontation between the imperative to maintain the social structures of the past and the need to enter into a dialogue with the international community.
This documentary by director/musician Volker Goetze uncovers the beauty of West Africa’s tradition and discovers that some changes may be afoot that could alter the cultural landscape forever.

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Festivals & Awards:

  • Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Greece 2013
  • Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada 2012
  • Valladolid International Film Festival, Spain 2012
  • Warsaw Film Festival, Poland 2012
  • Edinburgh African Film Festival ''Africa In Motion'' (AiM), Scotland 2012


''Senegalese kora and western trumpet make fabulous music together. Volker Goetze’s enthralling documentary melds dazzling visuals and haunting songs to serve up a feast for the senses. Griot introduces us to Goetze’s own soulful trumpet stylings and the extraordinary voice and calabash harp artistry of Ablaye Cissoko.''
(Vancouver Film Festival)