Staring Into the Sun
Photographer/filmmaker Olivia Wyatt’s Staring into the Sound project is no longer the talk of town. But it should be as it’s an effort unlike anything else done for Ethiopian culture in many years and truly deserves another round of applause and recommendations.
Olivia Wyatt went to Ethiopia to attend the Festival of a Thousand Stars, an annual event featuring music from almost all of the country’s 80 ethnic groups. When she got there, she discovered it was canceled. She decided to go ahead anyway with her mission to document tribal music and music-related rituals. The result was released by Sublime Frequencies on DVD/CD/Book.
In the film, Olivia explores 13 different tribes throughout Ethiopia. Traveling from the northern highlands to the lower Omo Valley, Wyatt brings together the worlds of Zar spirit possession; Hamer tribal wedding ceremonies; Borena water well polyphonic singing; wild hyena feedings; and bizarre Ethiopian TV segments; presenting an enchanting look at these ethereal images, landscapes and sounds from the horn of Africa. The tribes featured in this film are captured with an unflinching sense of realism and poetic admiration resulting in a visual and aural feast of the senses.
See the film trailer here and more of Olivia’s polaroid photos below and here, all of it highly recommended.