Sotigui Kouyaté – Mali and Burkina Faso

Linked with Vent d’Afrique (African wind, about African Arts).

Sotigui Kouyaté (born c. 1936) is one of the first Burkinabé actors. He is the father of film director Dani Kouyaté and is a member of the Mandinka ethnic group. Kouyatés have served as griots for the Keita clan since the 13th century. The Kouyatés guard customs, and their knowledge is authoritative amongst Mandinkas. Keitas have to provide amenities to Kouyatés, who in turn should not hesitate to ask for Keita help. The word Kouyaté translates as “there is a secret between you and me”. Sotigui Kouyaté was born in Mali to Gambian parents and is Burkinabé by adoption. When he was a child, he enjoyed koteba performances. He once played on the Burkina Faso national football team. Kouyaté began his theatre career in 1966, when he appeared as adviser to the king in a historical play produced by his friend Boubacar Dicko. That year, he founded a theatre company in 1966 with 25 people and soon wrote his first play, The Crocodile’s Lament … // … In 2009, Kouyaté won a Silver Bear at the Berlinale Filmfestival for his acting. He played the male main character in Rachid Bouchareb’s drama London River on the 2005 London bombings … (full text, last modified on 22 February 2009).

… As government funding has dried up, Dani Kouyaté and other film-makers have become increasingly dependent on the West – particularly France – for cash. About 80% of the money for films in Burkina now comes from Europe. Kouyaté himself, the son of one of the first ever Burkinabé actors, Sotigui Kouyaté, spent five years at the Sorbonne after studying film in Burkina Faso. (full text).

He says: Let’s be modest. Africa is vast, and it would be pretentious to speak in its name. I’m fighting the battle with words because I’m a storyteller, a griot. Rightly or wrongly, they call us masters of the spoken word. Our duty is to encourage the West to appreciate Africa more. It’s also true that many Africans don’t really know their own continent. And if you forget your culture, you lose sight of yourself. It is said that “the day you no longer know where you’re going, just remember where you came from.” Our strength lies in our culture. Everything I do as a storyteller, a griot, stems from this rooting and openness … (more on wikipedia).


Sotigui Kouyaté – Mali and Burkina Faso

… This past is again present in three new French-language plays at his Paris home, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. The main work, “Tierno Bokar,” the name of a Sufi mystic caught in an Islamic dispute in French-ruled Africa, has echoes of Mr. Brook’s African epic, “The Conference of Birds.” “The Death of Krishna” is taken from Mr. Brook’s Indian saga, “The Mahabharata.” “The Grand Inquisitor,” based on Dostoyevsky, also addresses questions of religion and power … Yoshi Oida, Habib Dembele, Sotigui Kouyaté and Bruce Meyers in “Tierno Bokar,” one of three new Peter Brook works about religion now at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris … (full text, November 29, 2004).

… Sotigui Kouyate taking the award for best actor. It was a good decision, as it was only Kouyate’s performance that lifted an otherwise dull and predictable film that avoided any meaningful discussion about the effect of the terrorist attack around which the story was shaped … (full text).

Multinational Forces at the Berlin Film Festival.

… At the same time in France, the elderly African father Ousmane also sets out for London in search of his missing son. The tall, austere Ousmane (played with great dignity by Sotigui Kouyate) works as a forester in France and is a practising Muslim with long dreadlocks … (full text).

BERLIN, Feb. 14 2009 (Xinhua) – Actor Sotigui Kouyate from “London River” won the silver bear for the Best Actor on the 59th International Film Festival Berlin (Berlinale) on Saturday …

Le Malien Sotigui Kouyaté, 72 ans, a gagné l’Ours d’argent du meilleur acteur dans “London river” du Franco-Algérien Rachid Bouchareb, samedi soir à la Berlinale … (full text, Feb 14, 2009).

He plays a French Muslim desperately awaiting news of his son after the 2005 terrorist attacks in London

GERMANY-FILM-BERLINALE-AWARDS: Actor Sotigui Kouyate of Mali poses during a press conference after winning the Silver Bear award for best actor following the awards ceremony of the 59th International Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin on February 14, 2009. Sotigui Kouyate won the award for his role in “London River” by Franco-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb as a father looking for his son after the July 2005 attacks in the British capital … (full text, Feb 14, 2009).

Find him and his publications, movies, videos, pictures: on this, and on that zimbio page; on yahoo movies /filmography; on IMDb; on Google Video-search; on Google Images-search; on Google News-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

SIA: THE MYTH OF THE PYTHON (2001, Burkina Faso, 96 min.), directed by Dani Kouyaté; screenplay by Kouyaté, loosely adapted from the play The Legend of Wagadu Seen by Sia Yatabéré by Moussa Diagana; cinematography by Robert Millié; sound by Pierre Lorrain; edited by Zoë Durouchoux; music by Daniel Rousseau and Fantani Toure; with Sotigui Kouyaté (Watigué the General), Habib Dembelé (Balla the Griot), Hamadoun Kossoqué (Kerfa the Madman), Fatoumata Diawara (Sia), Ibrahim Baba Cissé (Mamadi), Kardiqué Lolco Traoré (the Emperor, Kaya Maghan), Fily Traoré (Kététigui), Mariétou Kouyaté (the Empress). In Bambara with English subtitles … (full text).

Genesis: … Il restait à faire des liaisons en filmant Sotigui Kouyaté dans un décor indéfini qui pourrait ressembler à une case faite en terre. Nous avons tourné au studio Eclair pendant deux semaines pour une durée de 7 à 8 minutes. Travail très précis et rigoureux pour des metteurs en scène très exigeants et très agréables. En fait, des conditions de tournage idéales. Nous avions le temps de travailler calmement et dans la bonne humeur. Pour eux ce petit tournage était vraiment un tout petit court métrage, ils ont tourné plus de deux ans et sur plusieurs continents. (full text, octobre 2004).

He says also: … I love dance and in 1966, I finally agreed to be in a historical play produced by my friend Boubacar Dicko which featured a war dance. He also asked me to play a part as adviser to the king. The play won a prize and went on tour in the region. I became attached to the show, and then to another, based on a play written by my uncle. Gradually, acting grew on me. But I wasn’t enamoured by everything–not the courses run by French instructors, for example. They told us, without explaining why, how we should walk on stage, which seemed far too affected to me. They would ask us to imagine a ship, to picture it on the wall, but I couldn’t see anything. I left, though by then, I’d really become taken with the profession. I set up my own theatre company in 1966 with a group of 25 people. Burkinabé radio gave us a place to work and we mainly did improvisations. I’d go to work at the ministry for labour and public administration in the morning, play football in the afternoon, and then go off to theatre rehearsals. At the same time, I was also writing my first play, The Crocodile’s Lament. It was about being sensitive, a gift with which you can even manage to caress a crocodile, as it actually happens in several regions of Burkina Faso, where crocodiles are viewed as sacred … (full interview text).


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vent d’Afrique;

Categories on wikipedia: Burkinabe actors; Cinema of Burkina Faso; Burkinabé people by occupation; Actors by nationality; Burkinabé sportspeople; Football (soccer) players by nationality; Football in Burkina Faso; Burkinabe footballers.

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