“Sanuya”, written and performed by Modibo “Bastin” Diabate featuring Mah Bara Soumano and Konté B, arranged by Lamine Soumano, produced by Studio Mali, and filmed by Spencer Orey.
“Sanuya” is a song about about cleaning up the trash in Bamako that draws attention to trash and pollution in the city. It’s mostly in Bambara with some French, and it’s around six minutes long. Usually in Bamako I do my best to see through the pollution into the underlying beauty of the city, and trust me, there is a lot there that is beautiful. However, this time, I got to focus directly on trash and make things into a giant chaotic trash party, shooting all but one scene without my tripod while riding around on motorcycles with a big group of rappers in the Bamako neighborhood of Djicoroni Para. Unfortunately, it’s the hot season right now, so it’s nearly 115 degrees F every day, and the light is always incredibly strong, making filming especially difficult. However, with help, we found some dirty places to film: trash piles, burning trash piles, open sewers, meat markets, and more.
But you know, this is not to say that all of Bamako is like that. You see, in presenting this video, I don’t want to misrepresent Bamako or Mali as entirely dirty places: there IS a big problem with trash and trash collection (most trash collection is done by donkey-driven carts), and nobody will deny there. But there are ALSO beautiful trash-free places in the city, and not everything is trash. It’s important to remember that in making the video, we sought out the dirtiest places possible, meaning that there were many places that we passed up as too clean.
Bastin told me he hopes that his song will help people realize that they’re going to have to be more careful about trash, about how much they consume and how much they throw away, not to mention WHERE they throw it! He wants people to stop burning trash, especially tires and plastic bags, and to work together to find a better waste management solution. He hopes that his song will help the city transform into an even more beautiful place.
For the editing, I worked with Lamine Soumano, who was an invaluable help in sync’ing the video and helping me to know which images should go with which verses. People I’ve shown it to have commented that the finished version looks exactly how a Malian music video should, which is something that I am proud of. It certainly was a great experience and a lot of fun to make!
I hope you enjoy the video!