by Paul Chandler

Since 2003, Paul Chandler has been living and teaching in the West African country of Mali, where he has organized numerous events and projects for international agencies. The music programs that Chandler taught for ten years at the American International School of Bamako used a hybrid of western pedagogy and traditional methods of music acquisition and were co-taught with Malian artists in residence.

A musician and music producer, he and Tama Walley founded the non-profit Instruments for Africa in 2007 to reinforce traditional music and the

arts in West Africa and to empower underprivileged and at-risk youth through academic and cultural educational opportunities. Instruments for Africa’s events and spaces bring people together with the common goal of mending the social fabric of today’s Mali through shared artistic expression, culture, and history, emphasizing Malian’s similarities and their long-standing traditions of tolerance and peaceful conflict resolution.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Cultural and Education

Affairs awarded Instruments for Africa a grant from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation to support their work of aiding artists and preserving musical traditions. Following Mali’s 2012 coup d’état, Chandler expanded his work promoting peace and reconciliation through cultural festivals in the northern regions of Mali. This film shot and edited with Brian David Melnyk grew out of this program and features the powerful music and stunning mask performances of the Dogon peoples. It was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Mali (Bamako) and the U.S. Department of State.