SPAIN, MEXICO, PORTUGAL, AND SENEGAL / 2016 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUTITLES / 72 MIN
Flamenco is synonymous with Spanish culture. Yet, since its inception, theorists have sidelined the fundamental contribution of Afro-Andalusians to this art form.
Commercial exploitation of the American colonies brought hundreds of Africans to Spain to be sold as slaves, forming a population which, over time, managed to gain space in a society wrought with racial prejudices. Music and dance were a fundamental part of their expression and the most important affirmation of their identity. As the black population began to disappear from Spain in the late 19th century, so too did their contribution to this extraordinary art form. In Gurumbe: Afro-Andalusian Memories, their story is finally told.
"There are a number of musical performances in Gurumbe, but the tone of the film is surprisingly measured, authoritative, and at times something close to academic. As a result, it is highly credible and convincing." - j.b. spins Read Full Review HERE
Lovers Rock, often dubbed 'romantic reggae' is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance- known as 'scrubbing'- at parties and clubs. This dance provided a coping mechanism for what was happening on the streets. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40) These influences underline the impact the music was making in bridging the multi-cultural gap that polarized the times. The film sheds light on a forgotten period of British music, social and political history.
TUNISIA / 1999 / ENGLISH AND ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
In Tunisia, the history of stambali goes back to the arrival of the first Africans taken as slaves from Mali, Timbuktu specifically. Practicing their music and worship in the house of their masters, the enslaved and their musical traditions survive to this day.
Stambali is a religious ritual in Tunisia, a journey with the rhythm of the "gombri" and "chkackek," traces an individual and collective hypnosis, an annual tribute that the disciples of Sidi Saad pay to their master during an initiatory journey and rite of purification that lasts three days.
In "Stambali," the camera, video and film follow the rhythm of the possession, dances, and goes into a trance, in the cemetery, in an open space of grass, trees, dust and sand, in the eroticism that is released by this physical and spiritual representation.
CUBA/ 2008/ ENGLISH, FRENCH SUBTITLES/HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY/ 52 MINS
The Black Mozart in Cuba is the latest act in the rehabilitation of the memory of this extraordinary human being. The film skillfully combines biographical information with performances of his works.
Born in Guadeloupe of a Senegalese enslaved woman and a French nobleman, Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), became one of the most remarkable figures of the 18th century. He influenced the music and political life of his time. He was a genius composer and conductor, a virtuoso violinist, the best fencer in Europe, as well as the first black general in the French army. For 200 years after his death his music was rarely heard, due in part to Napoleon’s efforts to erase his existence from history. Today, his music is being rediscovered and played by orchestras and music groups around the world. In this documentary, Cuba dedicates a week of cultural activities to his memory and welcomes Saint Georges as “a great hero of the Caribbean.”
She was ahead of her time, a genius. During an era when Jazz was the nation's popular music, Mary Lou Williams was one of its greatest innovators. As both a pianist and composer, she was a font of daring and creativity who helped shape the sound of 20th century America. And like the dynamic, turbulent nation in which she lived, Williams seemed to redefine herself with every passing decade.
From child prodigy to "Boogie-Woogie Queen" to groundbreaking composer to mentoring some of the greatest musicians of all time, Mary Lou Williams never ceased to astound those who heard her play. But away from the piano, Williams was a woman in a "man's world," a black person in a "whites only" society, an ambitious artist who dared to be different, and who struggled against the imperatives of being a "star." Above all, she did not fit the (still) prevailing notions of where genius comes from or what it looks like. Time and again, she pushed back against a world that said, "You can't" and said, "I can." It nearly cost her everything.
PERU ND BELGIUM / 2003 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 54 MIN
Susana Baca is not only a champion in the performance and preservation of Afro-Peruvian heritage, but also an elegant singer whose shimmering voice sings of love, loss and life. Susana and her husband Ricardo Pereira have founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo “Black Continuum” in Lima, a spirited facility for the exploration, expression, and creation of Black Peruvian culture. While Baca has dedicated herself to researching and performing virtually all forms of Afro-Peruvian folklore, it is the lando that has become her trademark. This slow to mid-tempo, highly evocative mix of Spanish, Indigenous and African rhythms has become what the son is to Cuba, or the samba to Brazil--the lando is the sound of Black Peru.
JOSEPHINE BAKER: BLACK DIVA IN A WHITE MAN'S WORLD
DIRECTED BYANNETTE VON WANGENHEIM
GERMANY, U.S. AND FRANCE / 2006 / ENGLISH, GERMAN, AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 45 MIN
A tender, revealing documentary about one of the most famous and popular performing artists of the 20th century. Her legendary banana belt dance created theatre history; her song “J’ai deux amours” became a classic, and her hymn.
The film focuses on her life and work from a perspective that analyses images of Black people in popular culture. It portrays the artist in the mirror of European colonial clichés and presents her as a resistance fighter, an ambulance driver during WWII, and an outspoken activist against racial discrimination involved in the worldwide Black Consciousness movement of the 20th century.
URUGUAY / 1993 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 16 MIN
More than two hundred years ago, there was an influx into Uruguay of slaves from Africa whom, after being freed, continued to make up the poorest and most marginalized strata in society. Fernado Nunez, a black man, a musician, and a maker of drums, sees himself as the heir to "Candombe", an important social and cultural legacy from his slave forefathers. The official history and culture of Uruguay, on the other hand, which has never acknowledged this contribution to the degree which it deserves, continues to marginalize expressions of black culture. Fernando Nunez and his friends from the Barrio Sur back street quarter of Montevideo have decided to fight to keep these important cultural roots alive in the consciousness of the Uruguayan people.
LA ULTIMA RUMBA DE PAPA MONTERO (THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO)
LA ULTIMA RUMBA DE PAPA MONTERO (THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO)
DIRECTED BYOCTAVIO CORTAZAR
CUBA AND MARTINIQUE / 1992 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
A fascinating film on the rhythmic dance genre known as Rumba, La Ultima Rumba de Papa Montero dances around the life of Papa Montero, one of the famous rumberos of Cuba, assassinated during carnival. A discovery of Cuban traditions and every day life told through beautiful images, sensual music and dance. The use of Afro-Cuban mythology is the force behind the characters as orishas guide the characters' fate.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Nick Hughes
Starring: Eric Bridges Twahirwa
Starring: Cleophas Kabasita
Starring: Davis Kagenza
DVD Afro-Cuba: Yesterday and Today which also includes Sara Gomez: An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker.
SENEGAL, SWITZERLAND AND FRANCE / 2006 / ENGLISH AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 108 MIN
A musical road movie,Return to Goréefollows Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour's historical journey tracing the trail left by enslaved Africans and the jazz music they created. Youssou N'Dour's challenge is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire of his own songs to perform a concert in Gorée, the island that today symbolizes the slave trade and stands to honor its victims.
From Atlanta to New Orleans, from New York to Bordeaux and Luxembourg, the songs are transformed, immersed in jazz and gospel. Transcending cultural divisions and rehearsing with of some of the world's most exceptional musicians, Youssou N'Dour is preparing to return to Africa for the final concert...
COLOMBIA AND FRANCE/ 2003 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
An entertaining documentary that explores the African culture of Colombia through music. The film presents the music of the Sons of Benkos, one of the most important Black leaders in the fight for freedom during the times of slavery in Colombia. The film also shows the evolution of Afro-Colombian music over time through the fusion of Cuban and contemporary African rhythms with traditional Afro-Colombian music.
SOUTH AFRICA AND GERMANY / 2011 / ENGLISH / 90 MIN
Miriam Makeba was one of the first African musicians who won international stardom and whose music was always anchored in her traditional South African roots. Miriam Makeba was forced into exile in 1959.
She sang for John F. Kennedy, performed with Harry Belafonte and Nina Simone, was married to Hugh Masekela and also Stokely Carmichael.
Her life was tumultuous. She always stood for truth and justice. She fought for the oppressed most importantly for black Africans, as a campaigner against apartheid. She died November 2008 after a concert in Italy.
Mika Kaurismäki's documentary, traces fifty years of her music and her performing life. Through rare archive footage of her performances and through interviews with her contemporaries we discover the remarkable journey of Miriam Makeba.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Mika Kaurismäki
Starring: Hugh Masekela
Starring: Angélique Kidjo
Starring: Harry Belafonte
DIRECTED BY NTANDAZO "DIDI" GCINGCA
SOUTH AFRICA / 1999 / ENGLISH / 17 MIN
Aces is the story of a young man who fights against the battering of his mother by his drunken father. The situation escalates until Ace desperately stabs his father to death, and is sent to jail for a period of 15 years. Nine years later he is out on parole. He kills again within a day's time of his release.
FRANCE / 2013 / FRENCH AND SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 93 MIN
Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tangoby Angolan filmmaker Dom Pedro explores the expression of Tango’s Africanness and the contribution of African cultures in the creation of the tango. Tango was a reflection of the social life of the enslaved Africans that were taken to South America - including Argentina and Uruguay - mostly from central Africa, particularly from the former Kongo Kingdom. Director Dom Pedro reveals the depth of the footprints of the African music on the tango, through this rich movie combining musical performances and interviews from many tango fans and historians in Latin America and Europe, including the renowned Argentinean pianist Juan Carlos Cáceres.