CREATING COMORIA – a documentary on the Franco-Comorian music group Afropa in Marseilles

Ali Cheikh Mohamed and Abdoulwahab Chaharani, both born in the Indian Ocean archipelago Comoros, have been playing music all their lives. A couple of years ago they met in Marseille, France, where they now live and decided to work together. As AFROPA, they play Afro-Folk which is based on Comorian rhythms and inspired by their youth icons such as Santana, Dire Straits or Pink Floyd. They sing about politics, violence, racism and the challenges of life more generally- mostly in Comorian but also in French.

Their biggest aim is to show the heterogeneity of Comorian music, especially to the younger generation of Franco-Comorians who grew up in France. However, they also aim at a general public which usually reduces Franco-Comorian music to its most popular style, Twarab.

The music, messages and strategies of AFROPA are at the center of this documentary – as well as their encounters with other Franco-Comorian artists. Through their artistic work, all of them contribute to the creation of a “Comoria” in the sense of a transcultural space which is shaped by the realities of postcolonial France and the Union of the Comoros.

  • Birgit Englert
  • Andres Felipe Carvajal Gomez
  • Birgit Englert
  • Birgit Englert
  • Ali Cheikh Mohamed
    Key Cast
  • Abdoulwahab Chaharani
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    CRÉER COMORIA – un documentaire sur le groupe de musique Franco-Comorien Afropa à Marseille
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 16 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 14, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Afrika Film Festival
Director Biography - Birgit Englert, Andres Felipe Carvajal Gomez

Birgit Englert studied African Studies in Vienna and London. Since 2012 she is Assistant Professor at the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna where she directs the research project “Popular Culture in Translocal Spaces“ funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Her current research interest is popular culture, especially with regards to generation and political identities. She is particularly interested in processes of transnationalisation and diasporisation, and how they manifest themselves in popular culture production. On a methodological level she is interested in exploring audiovisual means in research and especially the relation between research films and documentary.

Andrés Felipe Carvajal Gomez holds a degree in social anthropology (BA) from the University of Kent(UK),and deepend his focus on visual anthropology at the universitiy of Mainz (Germany). Prior to becoming involved in the research on the Comorian diaspora in France in 2010, he had carried out audiovisual research in Tanzania (on local media culture) and Colombia (on Afro-Colombian music). Previous major film project: “Veejays in Dar as Salaam – filamu kwa kiswahili” (together with Sandra Groß).

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