Music

Fela

Finding Fela tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He created a new musical movement, Afrobeat, using that forum to express his revolutionary political opinions against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. His influence helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria and promoted Pan Africanist politics to the world. The power and potency of Fela’s message is completely current today and is expressed in the political movements of oppressed people, embracing Fela’s music and message in their struggle for freedom.


Finding Fela
was directed by the Academy Award winning director, Alex Gibney.

2014 | UK | Run time: 119 mins | Special Features: 75 mins

Special Features: BFI Q&A with Rikki Stein / Podcast interview with director Alex Gibney / Deleted Scenes / Theatrical trailer

 

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NAS: Time Is Illmatic

Twenty years after the release of Nas’s groundbreaking debut album ‘Illmatic,’ NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC takes us into the heart of his creative process. Returning to his childhood home in Queensbridge, Nas shares stories of his upbringing, his influences — from the music of his jazz musician father Olu Dara to the burgeoning hip-hop scene in New York City — and the obstacles he faced before his major label signing at age 20. Featuring interviews with his ‘Illmatic’ producers (Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier) and musical peers (including Pharrell Williams and Alicia Keys).

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC is a thrilling account of Nas’s evolution from a young street poet to a visionary MC.

2014 | USA | Run Time: 73 mins | Special Features: 75 mins

Special Features: Unseen Interviews / Breakdown of Nas’ 1994 debut album Time Is Illmatic featuring Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Q-Tip and many more

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Mama Africa

Mama Africa is the biography of Miriam Makeba, South African singer and anti-apartheid activist, the voice and the hope of Africa.

A documentary about the late, incredibly talented and charismatic South African musical icon, Miriam Makeba, who travelled the world with her powerful voice speaking a message against racism and poverty and for equality and peace.

Mama Africa is homage to this extraordinary and impressive artist who incarnates the voice and the hope of Africa.

Directed by: Mika Kaurismaki
Cast: Miriam Makeba, Zenzi Monique Lee, Nelson Lumumba Lee, Hugh Masekela, Angelique Kidjo
Cert: E
Language: English
Run Time: 88 min

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Sing Your Song

Harry Belafonte is not just one of the greatest entertainers of our time; he has led one of the great American lives of the last century. Susanne Rostock’s film SING YOUR SONG lets us share in the struggles, the tragedies, and, most of all, the triumphs of this extraordinary icon.

Belafonte grew up, poverty-ridden, in Harlem and Jamaica. After fighting in the Second World War, he realised he wanted a life in the arts. He became a star, and at the same time lived a life of active involvement in breaking down racial barriers that had never been broken before. He had a passionate involvement at the heart of the civil rights movement and countless other political and social causes.

 

SING YOUR SONG is an inspiring story of performance and protest, from a superstar singer and actor who was on the front lines of practically every progressive political battle in modern memory. Along the way he became close to some of the most talented and influential people of the latter half of the 20th Century – from fellow students at his acting class Tony Curtis, Marlon Brando, Sidney Poitier and Walter Matthau, to Eleanor Roosevelt, James Baldwin, Bob Dylan, Fidel Castro, Miriam Makeba and Nelson Mandela. But it was his intimate relationship with civil rights hero Dr Martin Luther King that was to be the most significant of his long political life.

Belafonte has touched countless lives, both as an artist and an activist and Sing Your Song is a rare opportunity to share his story.

Directed by: Susanne Rostock
Cast: Harry Belafonte

Produced by: Michael Cohl, Gina Belafonte, Jim Brown, William Eigen, Julius R. Nasso

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The Story of Lovers Rock

Often dubbed ‘romantic reggae’, Lover’s Rock is a unique British sound, developed against a backdrop of racial tension, the Brixton riots and sound systems in the late ’70s and ’80s.

Directed by award winning director/producer Menelik Shabazz, The Story of Lover’s Rock combines comedy, live performance, interviews and archive footage to shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Contributors to the documentary include UB40; Maxi Priest; Levi Roots; Linton Kwesi Johnson; comedians Angie Le Mar, Robbie G and Eddie Nestor, alongside new artists such as Ava Leigh and Lovella Ellis.

Lover’s Rock was the feel good music at parties and clubs that brought intimacy for young people in the ’70s and ’80s. The music allowed them to experience intimacy and healing through a dance known as “rubbing”. They identified with the music as it spoke to their notions of romantic love and formed a coping mechanism for what they were experiencing on the streets of Great Britain.

Despite international success, the genre has been hugely ignored by the British mainstream. Yet the music went on to influence a number of successful pop bands in the ’80s such as Culture Club, Sade, and the Police to mention a few.

Today the music is being embraced by young up and coming talent such as Ava Leigh and Lovella Ellis, daughter of the legendary reggae artist Alton Ellis.

A sleeper smash-hit when it was released in cinemas in late 2011, the film continues to woo audiences across the UK and America. The Story of Lover’s Rock looks back with serious affection at a musical phenomenon that has an enduring appeal for audiences of all ages.

Directed by: Menelik Shabbazz
Certificate: E
Running Time: 96 mins
Year: 2011

DVD Features: Trailer

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