Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices

Raphaël Grisey, Bouba Touré

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Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices
(Crossing Voices)

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A film by Raphaël Grisey and Bouba Touré


Using rare cinematic, photographic and sound archives, Crossing Voices recounts the exemplary adventure of Somankidi Coura, an agricultural cooperative created in Mali in 1977 by western African immigrant workers living in workers’ residences in France. The story of this improbable, utopic return to the homeland follows a winding path that travels through the ecological challenges and conflicts on the African continent from the 1970s to the present day. To tell this story, Bouba Touré, one of its principal actors, returns to the heart of his personal archives. They document peasant struggles in France and Mali as well as following the personal stories of migrant workers over many decades. Furthermore, the film is a story of transmission, kinship and cinematographic geographies. It is the story of Bouba Touré with filmmaker Raphaël Grisey, who became Bouba’s spiritual son, but it also chronicles Bouba’s relationship with militant filmmakers such as Sidney Sokhona or Med Hondo. Throughout the film, voices come to accompany Bouba and bring forth the narrative of a forgotten memory leading towards the future.

Over the course of the film, different voices enter the sound-scape to accompany Bouba Touré’s voice; they bring the tale of a forgotten memory toward a possible future sung by an electronic griot storyteller.


In the mid 1970s, a group of activists from the western African diaspora, hailing from agricultural backgrounds and living in Paris in workers’ residences, decide to turn their backs on factory work in order to train with French farmers in the Champagne region. Their objective is to create an agricultural cooperative in a country in the Sahel region of western Africa. In December 1976 the group founds the agricultural cooperative “Somankidi Coura” in the Kayes region of Mali, a country of massive emigration. Concurrently the director Sidney Sokona makes a film on the subject, Safrana ou le droit à la parole (1978). In this work of fiction, the photographer Bouba Touré plays the role of himself. Later he will become a film projectionist and his political activism will also lead him to produce a significant number of photographs and videos which bear witness to his life as an immigrant and to the conflicts he has traversed and accompanied. Thirty years after Sokhona, Raphaël Grisey begins a new cinematic collaboration with Touré, as a gesture of transmission of an archive and a history at risk of disappearing. From this collaboration will emerge the video Cooperative (2008, Raphaël Grisey) and Bouba Touré’s short film Bouba Touré, 58 rue Trousseau, 75011, Paris, France, in which the filmmaker transforms his apartment into a living archive. The film  “Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices” follows the artistic and militant trajectory of Bouba Touré and attempts to assemble pieces of the history of the Cooperative in order to speak of its present and to imagine a future that would be supported by generative African ecological practices, unshackled from the heavy weight of colonial history and entanglements.


In the 1960s, artist Bouba Touré was part of a wave of migration to Paris from West African former colonies. Eventually, in the face of maltreatment and a crippling drought in the Sahel, he and likeminded peers underwent training in agriculture and headed to Mali to establish the cooperative farm Somankidi Coura. Xaraaasi Xanne – Crossing Voices is the culmination of a multi-year project in collaboration with artist Raphaël Grisey, dedicated to the collective and its work. Thrillingly dynamic in its construction, material from Touré’s film, photo and video archive stretching from the 1960s to the present is paired with stagings of his plays, sourced historical footage, documents and contemporary digital flourishes. Similarly, the film’s scope is nothing less than sweeping, cutting between eras and continents to place the project in the context of post-colonial migration and that era’s global resistance movements, as well as the ongoing fights against discrimination in France and for food sovereignty globally.

Jesse Cumming

Xaraasi Xanne (Les Voix Croisées)
Un film de Raphaël Grisey et Bouba Touré
(123 min, coul, 2022)

Xarassi Xanne (Les voix croisées ) raconte à partir d’archives cinématographiques, photographiques et sonores rares, l’aventure exemplaire de Somankidi Coura, coopérative agricole fondée au Mali, en 1977, par des travailleurs immigrés d’Afrique de l’Ouest vivant en France dans des foyers. L’histoire de cette improbable utopie de retour au pays suit un chemin tortueux qui éclaire depuis les années 70 les enjeux et luttes écologiques sur le continent Africain aujourd’hui.

Produit par  : Spectre Productions (Olivier Marboeuf) / Coproduit par : Weltfilm GmbH (Kristina Konrad), The Dark (Cédric Walter)
Montage : Raphaël Grisey, Chaghig Arzoumanian / Voix-off : Bouba Touré / Griot-e-s : Mah Damba, Sira Dramé / Récitant-e-s :
Mariam Sissoko, Mamadou Sow (Radio Rural de Kayes)
Photographies : Bouba Touré, Recherche archives : Léa Morin / Montage et mixage son : Jochen Jezussek poleposition d.c. / Étalonnage : Sebastian Bodirsky
Avec le soutien de :
CNAP Image / Mouvement, Norwegian Artistic Research Program
NTNU, Trondheim, 9th Contour Biennale, HKW – Anthropocene Curriculum, Fondation des artistes, Parco Arte Vivente, Région Ile-de-France.
En association avec ARTE France – La Lucarne

Related Text

At Crossroads

By: Raphael Grisey & Bouba Touré
In: Features

Figuring Fallow Time

By: Raphaël Grisey
In: Sowing Somankidi Coura: A Generative Archive

Soil, Celluloid, and Resistant Collectivities

By: Sheikh, Shela; Gray, Ros; Wolf, Nicole; César, Filipa; Grisey, Raphaël and Touré, Bouba
In: The Empire Remains Shop


Spectre Production, Weltfilm GmbH, The Dark, in association with Bouba Touré and Raphaël Grisey

Language of Production

Soninké, French, Bambara, Fula



Production Location

France, Germany, Mali


  • A film by: Raphaël grisey and Bouba Touré
  • Produced by: Spectre Productions (Olivier Marboeuf)
  • coproduced by: Weltfilm GmbH (Kristina Konrad), The Dark (Cédric Walter)
  • Editing: Raphaël Grisey, Chaghig Arzoumanian
  • Voice Over: Bouba Touré
  • Griot singer : Mah Damba, Sira Dramé
  • Speakers: Mariam Sissoko, Mamadou Sow (Radio Rural de Kayes)
  • Photographs: Bouba Touré
  • Archival research : Léa Morin
  • Sound Edit and Sound Mix: Jochen Jezussek poleposition d.c.
  • Color grading and Formating: Sebastian Bodirsky
  • With: Bouba Touré Sally N'Dongo Sidney Sokhona John Osseini Jean-Baptiste Tiémélé Mady Koïta Niakhaté Robert Liensol Ousmane Sinaré NDiaye Diaby René Dumont Madjiguène Cissé Siré Soumaré Bathily Bakhoré Ibrahima Camara Bangaly Camara Moussa Coulibaly Dramane Diaby Balla Moussa Diallo Fode Moussa Diaby Ladji Niangané Fabourama Sissoko Samba Sy Founty Diallo Karamba Touré Seydou Traoré Souaré Samassa Dado Diakhité Maro Niakhaté Fune Niakhaté Maïmouna Bathily Awa Bathily Batou Coulibaly Mina Diallo Salia Soumaré Assa Coulibaly Ara Traoré Idrissa Diara Haby Diara Med Hondo Ousmane Keïta Ibrahima Traoré Saly Soukho Mr Koïta Mr Diakhité Aïssatou Goudiam Oumar Diagouraga Demba Traoré Olivier Koné Barka Fofana Les habitant-e-s de Somankidi Coura Les habitant-e-s du foyer Charonne, Paris du foyer Pinel, St Denis et d’autres foyers en Ile-de-France Coordination des Sans-Papiers 75 Le 3ème collectif de Sans-Papiers Les occupant-e-s de la bourse du travail Les occupant-e-s de la Cité de l’Histoire de l’immigration Les occupant-e-s de la rue Baudelique Les expulsé-e-s de la Barre Balzac Les occupant-e-s de la Chapelle Théâtre Forum Kàddu Yaraax: Seydou Ndiaye Diol Mouhamadou Leity Kane Mamakagne Diatta Dame Hane Yasmina Diop Masseye Ndiaye Meme Bassene Cheikh Ndiaye Moussa Kalamou Pape Sidy Sy

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