I Shot Bi Kidude is a documentary on the Queen of Taarab music, her story, her music and Zanzibar.
“I shot Bi Kidude” – review on IMDb
A life-affirming documentary about an internationally famous Zanzibari singer and her last years.
The film revisits the singer Bi Kidude, previously the subject of a documentary about her music by the same director who had become fascinated by the extraordinary life-force of an ageing woman (thought to be around 100 years old), her music, and her appeal way beyond her home in Zanzibar.
News reaches him in England that the singer, no longer performing and with little care for her own finances, has disappeared from her home in the island’s capital, and that various claims are circulating about how she has been looked after, or not, before and after that disappearance, by friends, relatives and people with some interest in her musical worth. The director returns to Zanzibar to try to unravel the ‘mystery’ and the film relates the ups and downs of that investigation.
While never taking itself too seriously or lapsing into hyperbole and sentimentality, the unfolding story nevertheless raises important issues about how traditional views of family, gender and duty can create tension and confusion when set against individual and artistic freedoms.
The star of the piece is undoubtedly the singer herself – a unique combination of wise old age and mischievous humour, but the supporting role of the island of Zanzibar and its other inhabitants is important to the appeal of this charming yet thought-provoking film.
More on Bi Kidude on AMF