CDs, books and DVDs
By davidognomo
Hi, guys,

as you may have noticed, I've just posted a Boka Camara video never seen on youtube before of Boka on a presentation in Conacry with some european students. It was actually posted by a friend of mine. I know that there's some footage of Boka and other stuff that is out there, that is shared within certain circles, but that then, it cannot be released, because it's being sold hand to hand, and a public release is like throwing the footage's buy value into the dump. Also, the owners of precious footage who are making money selling or trading it protect their assets.
This is probably the reason why all the priceless videos of one youtube user, "famoudous" are all gone. Like two years ago or so, this user released old footage of Noumoudy Keita, Famoudou, Mamady Keita, and also a longer clip of the Boka Camara, Thomas Guei and Harouna concert in Paris. I have seen the video of the entire concert. Some friends of mine have it. It came from Belgium, but the guy who brought it explicitly tells us this cannot be released, and this obviously has to do with objections from the source of the footage and the trading and circulation rules.

This saddens me. I'm not arguing with the right of people doing this. It's someone's footage, they have the right to try and make money out of it, if there's people willing to pay for it. But for how long this not so big community is going to be deprived from priceless footage of old or any masters?
This reminds me of the world's capitalist system. The same system that retains wealth in some spots of the world, not releasing it freely because if that would happen, fortunes would lose its value. It's the same to me. I am the starving west african drumming lover.

One thing is not releasing classes and workshop footage. That seems right to me. It has to do with teachers' life and wishes. I have workshop footage wich was permitted to be taken by the teacher, in the condition it would not be released. That makes sense to me. They have to make a living, and also, having access to teaching material through footage isn't quite the same as actually learning with a teacher, it cannot substitute it.

Back to the subject, on performance videos - even if informal performance, I hope that this footage comes out. It has to come out. Boka footage, Noumoudy footage and other stuff with people who is no longer with us, specially. People that we cannot look for anymore to see playing or performing live. We owe this to those people, as an homage, a tribute, and to the world as a gift and as a sign of good will and plain decency.

Or, well, just keep your precious footage, I hope it serves you well in your grave, and that it has given you wealth and happiness throughout your life (this is not directed to anyone here. just an outburst).

Greedy villains of the world, wake up!
hi david,

your post evokes mixed feelings for me. As a passionate collector of video and audio footage on drumming I can understand your outburst so well. From the beginning, I suffered from the behaviour of those envily trying to protect their "treasuries" and shared, if at all, only with special ones. I was so badly in need of lots of input which I couldn't possibly achieve through workshops and classes, as I had 5 complete days a week to rehearse but hardly any money. The better I got, the less most people were willing to share. And the less people could do with their djembe, the less willing they were sharing. It was a big lesson for me on how deeply "capitalism" penetrates society, since I thought to engage in a community sharing their love of this music and enganging in drumming together. However, competition was prevailent in all classes and band projects.

Still, I guess we have to live with the fact that people feel that way and have to tolerate that. Then there are those who think that their footage is not only less valuable in economic terms when it is public. There is a trait in perhaps all of us that we find rare things more precious. Think about how you feel about music these days where it can be disrtibuted easily digitally and how the possession of a vinyl album felt back in the old days...

My own feelings are ambivalent. Even though I am a fighter for the public release of footage (I like the idea of sharing in drumming as an antidote to the economic way of thinking that seems to become dominant in all other realms of life), I felt dissapointed when Swiss friends of mine released footage about Drissa Kone and Sedu Balo they made in Bamako three years ago. That footage lost some of its value for me - slightly, since I still like their performance. But I prefer to analyse and transcribe other footage now that is not released, yet.

I had to learn to keep things to myself as a collector. I had to give my word of not further sharing stuff even though my heart wanted to, because I love the idea of culture being shared in a way free of economic reasoning. But I have to keep my promise, which was the reason I received that footage in the first place.

About the sharing of footage from people not alive any more like Boka: I though about that after the death of Sedu Balo. We cannot ask for his permission any more so it should be o.k. to release videos on youtube. But then I thought about his wife and the children he left behind and probably live in poverty right now. I guess they feel different about free sharing...
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By dleufer
I agree that stuff, especially stuff of now deceased players, needs to be put out in a spirit of generosity. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I deliberately uploaded everything I filmed in Guinea in the hope that such a gesture might guilt trip some other people into getting their assess off their piles of solid gold material. One way to do it constructively is to include the contact details for any players in your videos. That way, the musicians get some advertising from the footage and potentially attract new students or recording possibilities. As I see it, you have a right to hold on to private tuition material (for example, I have very detailed recordings of a full dununba medley from Kon to Gbada through 5 others rhythms) which you want to use for a band, but when it comes to traditional performances or recordings of fetes, get it out there (and do it in a way that the musicians, more so than the cameraman, get the benefit)! There's too much bullshit on youtube and not enough good stuff. As I see it, the more decent material of quality players that gets uploaded the better.