May 7, 2008
Every film should open with Youssou N’Dour singing. It’s a surefire way of ensuring that the audience stays hooked to the film to the end. At least I know I will stay to the end.
Every personality documentary film should make you feel comfortable and engage you. The director should make you love or loathe the character – it doesn’t really matter what – and you should just feel justified to do so and comfortable with your decision. In the case of Retour à Gorée (2007) which was shown at the Amakula Kampala Film Festival yesterday, the director Pierre-Yves Borgeaud hit all the right notes.
Retour à Gorée (Return to Goree) is the story of Youssou N’Dour’s journey following the epic trail by slaves from Africa and the USA and by the jazz music they invented. Youssou N’Dour’s challenge is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire and to sing those tunes in Goree, the island in Senegal that today symbolizes the slave trade.
On his journey, Youssou N’Dour is joined by a brilliant cast of jazz artists including Tunisian pianist Moncef Genoud who helps to reinvent Youssou’s sound. Others in the cast are renowned New Orleans drummer Idris Muhammad, bassist James Cammack of the Ahmad Jamal Trio, as well as Pyeng Threadgill, Grégoire Maret, Ernie Hammes, and Wolfgang Muthspiel, also of the Ahmad Jamal Trio.
Youssou N’Dour travels from Goree to Atlanta, New Orleans, New York, Luxembourg and back to Goree, incorporating jazz and gospel undertones to his music. The film climaxes with a concert played at the ruins of Goree.
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May 6, 2008
First, three things –
- I love My Machrine
- At 33 years, I am ashamed that I still don’t know enough about my country
- I love music teachers
Then – Amakula Kampala is still on. Tomorrow, films will focus on cinema from Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa. If you are interested in the filmmaking process, the Congress on East African Cinema will be discussing “The filmmaker and his/her audience” and “Reaching the local audience with a local product.” There will also be a special presentation by Ogova Ondego, the director of Art Matters, Kenya.
Explaining the three things –
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May 5, 2008
It’s the time of the year when my favorite cultural festival comes to town.
The Amakula Kampala Film Festival is here again. Yay! Since Thursday last week the days have been warm and bright and full of orangey-yellow hues and nothing in the world matters apart from good film and good fun.
Despite all the publicity and the promise of free films, Amakula Kampala continues to be very poorly attended. I think the fact that the festival is so widely ignored among a class of Ugandans that claim to be educated, informed and cultured is a shame.
This blog post is intended to point you to some of the highlights (according to me) of the festival and to coax you to participate (do it for me) in one of the few brilliant cultural events (so says me) in our seemingly cultural-less city (yeah, me again). I do hope the lineup below will tickle your arty farty bone and interest you in coming for at least one show.
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