MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Whatever your relationship status, nobody's music warms up a cold night like Prince's. In 1984, he was on top of the world with a number one album and later a number one movie, both named "Purple Rain." Little did Prince know how widely its influence would spread or how long it would last.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "AKOUNAK TEDALAT TAHA TAZOUGHAI")
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).
MARTIN: This is from a cinematic remake of "Purple Rain," filmed in Niger, starring members of a nomadic group of people known as the Tuareg.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
CHRISTOPHER KIRKLEY: My name is Christopher Kirkley. I directed the filmed entitled "Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai." The title translates to "Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It."
MARTIN: That's because there is no word for purple in their language. Like the original, though, this version of "Purple Rain" tells the story of a guitarist and songwriter who battles his musical rivals, his conservative father and eventually his own ego. And those struggles are every bit as resonant in Niger's desert community as they were in Prince's Minneapolis because over the past few decades, a vibrant new music scene has exploded among the Tuareg. Bootleg cassette tapes of artists like Jimi Hendrix and Dire Straits have been traded and re-traded across the Sahara.
KIRKLEY: This guitar-based, heavily blues-influenced music is now essentially pop music for the Tuareg community.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: Local star Mdou Moctar plays the Prince role. And - spoiler alert - in the end, he does win a battle of the bands competition against his rival. Moctar's show stopper sounds a little different from Prince's, though.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ADOUNIA")
MDOU MOCTAR: (Singing in foreign language).
MARTIN: Now, if you saw "Purple Rain," back in the day, you might remember that the love story got a little bit risque. How could they pull that off with actors from a conservative Muslim background, you might ask? Well, they didn't.
KIRKLEY: We, obviously, couldn't do a kiss on the screen. We even had problems with a hug. I thought, well, maybe we can just end the film with the two of you hugging, and they said no.
MARTIN: Christopher Kirkley's movie is currently playing the film festival circuit. He's still waiting for one person in particular to buy a ticket.
KIRKLEY: We haven't heard from Prince yet. I'm hoping that if and when we do, it's a positive experience.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PURPLE RAIN")
PRINCE: (Singing) Purple rain, purple rain, purple rain, purple rain, purple rain. Purple rain.
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