Niger: Magic and Ecstasy In The Sahel

This musicography of Niger sheds light on a country that fewer than 1,000 people visited in 2004. Shot in crisp digital video, director Mayet, co-founder of the Sublime Frequencies label, captures street musicians and religious gatherings in Islamic, Christian and animist regions of the country. These performances all explode with vitality, whether documenting solo instrumentalists, a possession ceremony, or the incredible Tuareg rock and roll blitz in the desert city of Agadez. Shots of that 1,000-year-old desert cityscape alone are some of the most stunning images captured on DVD this year. Free of narration, the economical liner notes give the viewer just enough context to appreciate the sights and sounds of the Sahel. (Sublime Frequencies, www.sublimefrequencies.com)