Sublime Frequencies Communiqué

Sublime Frequencies Communiqué


23 February 2013



Sublime Frequencies film tour with Hisham Mayet

Hisham Mayet is a founding member of the Sublime Frequencies Collective. His work with the label has been prolific and inspired. His many discoveries include introducing the legendary guitar bands from the Sahara; Group Doueh, Group Inerane, and Group Bombino. His many films for the label have been redefining the nature of ethnographic film and they continue to provoke, amaze and inspire.

Vodoun Gods on the Slave Coast
A Film By Hisham Mayet
Sublime Frequencies
50 minutes/2012

Hisham Mayet's exploration of West African possession ceremonies continues in Benin. Benin is the cradle and birthplace of Voodoo.  Formally known as the Slave Coast as, most of the slave industry was exported from its shores.    Voodoo worship is integral to the every day lives of the people of Benin.  This film, shot in 2010 during the country's rich Vodoun celebrations, is an impressionistic lens on the myriad ceremonies that this rich and diverse culture has to offer.   Showcasing intimate observations of a variety of Voodoo ceremonies: The cult of Sakpata (god of Pestilence and healing),   Egoun dramas shrouded in magisterial costumes and the Secret Police of the Zangbeto night watchmen, among other highlights.  This will be the premiere screening of this visual feast.

The Divine River: Ceremonial Pageantry In The Sahel
A Film By Hisham Mayet
47 minutes/2012

Sublime Frequencies announces a new film by Hisham Mayet: The Divine River: Ceremonial Pageantry in the Sahel. Condensed from 40 hours of footage shot between 2007 and 2012, The Divine River is an exhilarating, hallucinatory, harrowing record of music, ritual, life and landscape along the Niger River—which the Tuareg call Egerew n-Igerewen, or "River of Rivers"— as it winds through Mali and the Republic of Niger.

Traversing 300 miles of this transitional zone between the Sahara and the Savanna, The Divine River is not a linear record of a journey so much as a phantasmagoria of visual associations that create their own emotional topography and chronology, always accompanied by music that blurs the lines between sacred and secular, past and present.

Highlights include intimate views of ecstatic dance in the painted houses of the island-dwelling Wogo; the seductive courtship rites and trance vocals of young Wodaabe men; a mesmeric Tuareg and Zarma duet for guitar and molo; Hausa griots enchanting with comsaa strings; Zarma spirit possession ceremonies; and heart-stopping footage of the Dogon mask ritual atop the Bandiagara Escarpment in the village of Endele.

True to Sublime Frequencies' "aesthetic of extra-geography and soulful experience," The Divine River refuses hasty contextualizations and rote interpretations that, far from "explaining" cultural displays, deaden viewers to the presence of mystery. Avoiding the temptation to reduce ritual to a simple matter of ends and means, its silence respects the chasm that separates concepts like "possession" from their lived reality. Rejecting the distractions of an imaginary understanding in favor of simple attention and humility, it traces the portal to deeper knowledge counseled in a centuries-old Sufi prayer: "O Lord, increase my bewilderment."


Deep Hearts, screening Monday, March 11

Staring into the Sun, screening Monday, March 11

Folk Music of the Sahara: Among the Tuareg of Libya, screening Monday, March 18

March on three consecutive Mondays, Mar 4, 11 & 18

BAM Brooklyn Academy of Music
BAM cinématek presents Saharan Frequencies, a 
seven-film exploration of the sounds of North Africa 

In-person appearances by acclaimed ethnographer Robert 
Gardner, Sublime Frequencies co-founder Hisham Mayet with
Olivia Wyatt, and music critic Byron Coley.

Link here to official BAM event site

BAM Blog link:

Thursday March 7th:
Sarasota Springs NY
Spring Street Gallery
110 Spring Street
Saratoga Springs, New York

Friday March 8th:
Brattleboro VT
Luminz Studio
74 Cotton Mill Hill, #346, 3rd Floor
Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
(802) 258-7378

Saturday March 9th
Willimantic, CT
Willimantic Records
744 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA
* with ROBERT JAZ DJing from the Sublime Frequencies' vault

Sunday March 10:
Providence RI
103 Dike Street
Providence, RI 02909
* with ROBERT JAZ DJing from the Sublime Frequencies' vault

Fete event link

Tuesday March 12:
Baltimore MD
Floristree Space
405 W Franklin St 6th Floor  

Wednesday March 13th:
Richmond VA
Gallery 5
200 W. Marshall St.
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 644-0005

Thursday March 14th:
Asheville NC
The Apothecary
39 S. Market St. #B, Asheville NC 28801
(919) 793-5441/(919) 609-3944


Friday March 15th:
Washington D.C.
Local 16
1602 U Street NW Washington, DC 20009

SUBLIME FREQUENCIES is a collective of explorers dedicated to acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds from modern and traditional urban and rural frontiers via film and video, field recordings, radio and short wave transmissions, international folk and pop music, sound anomalies, and other forms of human and natural expression not documented sufficiently through all channels of academic research, the modern recording industry, media, or corporate foundations. SUBLIME FREQUENCIES is focused on an aesthetic of extra-geography and soulful experience inspired by music and culture, world travel, research, and the pioneering recording labels of the past including OCORA, SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS, ETHNIC FOLKWAYS, LYRICHORD, NONESUCH EXPLORER, MUSICAPHONE, BARONREITER, UNESCO, PLAYASOUND, MUSICAL ATLAS, CHANT DU MONDE, B.A.M., TANGENT, and TOPIC. SUBLIME FREQUENCIES PO BOX 17971 SEATTLE WA 98127 USA

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