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Premiere Film Screening and Director Q&A – “Azmari” by Itsushi Kawase

January 30 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Tuesday 30 January 2024, 5:30pm – 7:30pm GMT

This is an in person only event

Location: Cinema, Goldsmiths University of London, SE14 6NW

Book your free ticket here:

The Asian Music Unit at Goldsmiths and the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) are delighted to invite you to this special screening event.

European premiere of the film
“Azmari – The Fest of Voices” (2024, 70 mins)

followed by a discussion and Q&A with the director Itsushi Kawase,
chaired by Barley Norton.

About the film:
Azmari, who play a one-stringed fiddle called masenqo, are known as hereditary musical professionals who have made music their livelihood in the communities of the Ethiopian highlands since ancient times. Azmari simultaneously serve as a resistance against the rulers and as representative voices of the people for social and political satire and debate through songs. The performances by Azmari are characterized by the improvisation of poetry, not only by the singer but by the audience, who improvise and throw their own poems at the singer. Azmari’s songs serve as a mirror, reflecting the social situation and the feelings of the locals. This film follows the performances of Solomon Ayanaw, an Azmari working in Addis Ababa, and examines issues surrounding the transformation, authenticity, and inheritance of Azmari culture through conversations between the anthropologist/filmmaker, Itsushi Kawase, and Solomon, his relatives, and the audience. Languages: Amharic, Azmari argot (English subtitles). Locations: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Tokyo.


About the Director:
Itsushi Kawase is an anthropologist, filmmaker, and poet born in Gifu, Japan. He has conducted research on Ethiopia’s poet-singers since 2001. He has won numerous awards for his writing and films, most recently the 2022 Umesao Tadao Literary Prize. He is currently an associate professor at Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology and the Graduate University for Advanced Studies where he also co-edits the multimodal journal TRAJECTORIA.




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January 30
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category: