About the documentary:
Spring 2005 – introduce "Timbuktoubab," then just coming off the film festival circuit, to PBS stations around the country.
As a result of Kristin's efforts, "Timbuktoubab" premiered on public television in numerous top markets, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Sacramento, Orlando, Nashville, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Louisville, Austin and many others.
Kristin additionally helped Markus with suggestions for distributors and advised entering "Timbuktoubab" into the 2005 CINE Awards, where it won a Golden Eagle, CINE's highest honor.
"Thanks for all you're doing on our behalf.... Your help has really added a lot of credibility to the presentation and we really appreciate it."
Markus James, musician & director/producer of "Timbuktoubab"
The press reviews:
"Few cross-cultural musical collaborations have been as pleasing and fruitful as Markus James' Timbuktoubab project. Their music is a language whose grammar has been developing for centuries along the sandy banks of the Niger River and in the delta of the Mississippi River."
Marco Werman of PRI/BBC's "The World"
"...an uncommon insight into the inhabitants and the music of Mali. What emerges is haunting music that conjures the very soul of the Sahara. Every song is a piece of magic that will draw in listeners and work its own spell."
"Timbuktoubab" is a wonderful documentary, a must see for music lovers and armchair travelers alike. The fast pace and uplifting message bring a tap to the foot and a smile on the face."
Dierdre Saravia, Texas Public Radio, Cinema Tuesdays Review
Kam Williams, Global Rhythm Magazine
Markus James' first musical memory, from the age of four, is of an old, blind blues singer he saw playing many times on a sidewalk in Washington DC. He first encountered West African stringed music at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival where he was mesmerized by the Gambian Kora player and singer, Alhaji Bai Konte. Following gigs with various rock and R&B groups, Markus moved to the San Francisco Bay area to pursue his interest in African, Indian and Gamelan music, while also writing and recording original music in various rock styles.
He travelled in West Africa and Haiti, studying traditional ensemble drumming, before first visiting Mali in 1994 where he met the legendary Ali Farka Touré. Markus has returned to Mali many times where he has written and recorded blue-influenced music with traditional Malian musicians, notably his 2002 release, "nightbird," which was warmly received by critics in the US and in Europe. Markus and fellow musicians, Hamma Sankara, Hassi Sare and Solo Sidibe, have performed three times at the Festival au Désert, the focus of which is the preservation of the cultures and traditions of the desert while opening doors to the outside world.
In 2007, Markus was invited to perform at the series of Jamal Poi tribute concerts for his friend and inspiration, Ali Farka Toure, in Bamako and Niafounke, which were broadcast on Malian national television. The UK's fROOTS Magazine calls Markus "the unofficial dean of this movement" of up and coming US roots musicians whose focus is the African source.