dir. by João Viana

TabatôMutar, who fought in the war, is back in Guinea. In his luggage, he brings strange objects. Fatu, his daughter, takes the opportunity of Mutar’s absence to open his bag. Shortly afterwards, Fatu’s boyfriend Idrissa finds Mutar with his hand soiled in blood and Fatu dead. It is then that Idrissa picks up a drum.



4500 years ago, while you were waging your war, we invented agriculture.
2000 years ago, while you were waging your war, we discovered how to govern with justice.
1000 years ago, while you were waging your war, we paved the way for reggae and jazz.
Today, confronted with your war, we will help you build peace.


For the majority of the people who have heard about Guinea Bissau, it is only the third poorest country in the world. But there is something extraordinary happening in TABATÔ which is a small village located in the interior of Guinea: For more than 500 years, all of TABATÔ’s inhabitants have been djidiu musicians. They are hereditary singer-poets whose songs of praise and tales of history and legends play an essential role in the musical life of Africa. It is in TABATÔ where djidiu MUTAR DJEBATÉ lives, the chief of the 300 best balafon* players in the world.

The film is a metaphor of the present situation in Guinea Bissau, and is located somewhere between the abyss of the war and the existence of this musical village called TABATÔ. It tells the dramatic personal story of BAIO (Djidiu and mandinga ex‐soldier at the service of the Portuguese) who returns to Guinea Bissau, to his home village of TABATÔ, 37 years after the end of the colonial war, for the marriage of his daughter FATU with IDRISSA, son of MUTAR DJEBATÉ and a rising musician in Guinea Bissau.