As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the ... See full summary »
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.
Film-maker Martin Scorsese looks back over the impact of The Statue of Liberty on the twentieth century, her evolution and what she meant to people of the past and what she continues to mean after September eleventh, 2001.
In this Scorsese-directed segment we follow musician Corey Harris as he explores the origins of the blues, tracing back from the birth of the Delta-blues to the slave-experience and finally to Africa, meeting with musicians from Mississippi to Mali, culminating in a magical moment where the American Harris and the Malian Ali Farka Toure improvise on a theme, each in their own style and sound perfectly harmonious.
If a movie about the origin of the blues sounds didactic, rest assured it isn't: there is very little voice-over commentary, the soundtrack consists of almost wall-to-wall music, and it feels as if that music tells its own story. And what music it is: the early Alan Lomax recordings of Robert Johnson and Leadbelly, the fife and drums of Otha Turner (no, I had never heard from him either) or the African folk-music from Salif Keita or Ali Farka Toure, it is all so excellent that the documentary often frustrates by only giving excerpts. When Keita took my breath away with a soulfull rendition of a griot-song, I wish Scorsese didn't interrupt for an interview with the man.
For anyone who is even remotely interested in blues, this is a must-see documentary, with a must-have soundtrack record.
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