The Mali-Cuba Connection

Africa Mia


In the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, ten young promising musicians from newly independent Mali are sent to Cuba to study music and strengthen cultural links between the two socialist countries. The guys spreak French but not Spanish. The Cubans don’t speak French. But deep musical connections are forged, and over the course of their studies they develop a revolutionary new sound and form the iconic ensemble Las Maravillas de Mali (The Wonders of Mali).

New Year’s Eve 2000. Richard Minier, a French music producer, chances upon a former member of the band in Bamako, and as he digs into this story, he resolves to bring the band back together. Little does he realize this quest will take him the best part of two decades…

"Las Maravillas de Mali’s sound is reminiscent of another Cuban revelation, The Buena Vista Social Club, and the same fire burns here. At the heart of the film is the music, the gently driving beat that spins out joy and sadness, familial warmth and solitude, love and life. The Mali-Cuba Connection explores an idea that spanned an ocean and touched everyone lucky enough to have experienced such smooth beats." Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

Director Icon Director
Richard Minier, Édouard Salier

Boncana Maiga
Producer Michaël Grassi, Naëlle Samri, Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barral, Richard Minier
Screenwriter Richard Minier, Jean-Philippe Bodin, Pascal Blanchard
Cinematographer Richard Minier, Emmanuel Cyriaque, Édouard Salier, Julien Meurice
Editor Julien Perrin
Music Las Maravillas de Mali
France/Cuba/Mali 2020 81 min. In Spanish and French with English subtitles 19+ Trailer | Official Website | Review


Please note that VIFF Connect online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.