After Doc’n Roll Fest in December, Kanye West’s album launch last week and Janis: Little Girl Blue released last Friday (currently playing a few more shows), Picturehouse at FACT have even more unmissable music documentaries and events lined up for you!

They’ll Have to Kill Us First and Q&A with Songhoy Blues

22 February / 6.40pm (with additional screening 23 February)

A film more important than any other music documentary you are ever likely to see, They Will Have To Kill Us First follows musicians in Mali in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music. Music, one of the most important forms of communication in Mali, disappeared overnight in 2012 when Islamic extremists groups rose up to capture an area the size of the UK and France combined, but rather than lay down their instruments, Mali’s musicians fought back.

A gripping and powerful documentary featuring the music of Khaira Arby, Fadimata Disco Walet Oumar, Amkoullel, Moussa Sidi and our new favourites, Songhoy Blues, this is an essential film to anyone that has ever picked up a guitar, beat a drum or sang along to the radio.

After the screening we're delighted to welcome Songhoy Blues and the film’s director Johanna Schwartz, for a Q&A. We saw the band at last year’s Green Man Festival and they instantly became our go-to band in the Picturehouse at FACT office. We're just a little bit too excited to see this film and meet the band themselves!

Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise

29 February/ 9pm 

Filmed over a period of 15 years by German music documentarian Volker Schnaer (Feathered Fan And Silken Ribbon), this very singular portrait of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, one of dub’s genuine superstars, travels from his impoverished roots in Jamaica to his current home high in the Swiss Alps. 

Along the way, Perry – who produced Bob Marley And The Wailers amongst many others, and remains a legendary performer at 79 years old – affirms his reputation as a great and endearing musical eccentric. 

Schnaer’s film also uses animation and state-of-the-art digital effects to chronicle Perry’s quest for spiritual liberation. Contributions from dub heroes such as Adrian Sherwood and Dennis Bovell add considerable depth to this fascinating picture of a musical icon.

Havana Club Rumba Sessions: La Clave with Intro from Gilles Peterson

13 March / 3.30pm

A feature-length documentary directed by Charlie Inman, Havana Club Rumba Sessions: La Clave sees Gilles Peterson, along with his old friend Ade Egun Crispin Robinson, guide the audience through rumba's continued significance in a country where a carefully preserved past has long sat side-by-side with innovation. 

Highly respected both in the island's spiritual drumming community and as a session musician in the UK, Robinson connects Gilles to key figures across Cuba’s musical generations. Accompanied on their journey into rumba by one of the shining lights of Cuba’s current music scene, Daymé Arocena, the film traces the through lines running from slave communities' spiritual drumming practices and the dancers and musicians who preserved them, to the younger generation who have plucked out and recontextualised the elements most exciting to them.

The history of rumba, inextricably tied up with the slave trade, uniquely intertwines West African and Iberian musical styles. With roots in the Congo, Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon, different African religious institutions such as Ifa, Ekpe and Nkisi were remade in Cuba as Lukumi (Santeria), Palo, Abakua and Arara. The film draws together how the religious and social realities instituted by the African diaspora have a distinct, if complex, connection to the rhythms foundational to contemporary club music. 

We’re delighted to welcome Gilles Peterson to introduce this screening, a hero of music the world over and the voice of our Saturday afternoons spent listening to 6Music.

Book tickets for all three films, and see the rest of our upcoming programme here.