Directed by Kiley Kraskouskas

Critically acclaimed documentary The Last Song Before The War is now available on DVD for academic institutions. 

Told through the lens of the renowned Tuareg music festival, The Festival in the Desert the film examines the role of the festival in fostering peace and creating economic development in one of the poorest regions in the world.  Filmed in 2011 the producers captured the full festival experience in the period leading up to the fall of Northern Mali and the subsequent coup on the capitol, revealing how the renowned festival managed to thrive amidst a fragile peace. 

 According to Erin Joanna Augis ASA member and Associate Professor of Sociology at Ramapo College of New Jersey, 

“The Last Song Before the War provides a moving and richly detailed analysis of the effects of the invasion of Mali by Ansar Dine and Al Quaeda in the Islamic Maghreb on local communities’ religious and artistic traditions. With exceptionally researched ethnographic data, this film highlights the significance of the Festival au Desert to local economies and identities, the devastation caused by its exile, and the resilience of the Malian people in the face of political instability and cultural conflict.  It is a must-see for students and professors of Ethnomusicology, Religion, Sociology, Anthropology, and African Studies.”

Individuals represented in the film also praise the work. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, festival director, Manny Ansar told reporter Celia Wren “this film is, for me, the most complete. Unlike others filmed around the same time, it is entirely focused on the festival itself. It touched on every aspect of the festival — its origins, its day-to-day content, even the geographical steps involved in getting there, without ever forgetting the politico-social context” of the festival’s 2011 incarnation.

The film can be purchased online at for an institutional fee of $250.00.