Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Soul Power
Hat tip to DJBrainchild at OSN, writing about a new documentary called “Soul Power.”

"What this film is, is essentially a companion piece to “When We Were Kings” which was about the Ali/Foreman fight in Zaire in 1974. To accompany the fight, a 3 day festival was put together, spearheaded by Hugh Masekela. A lot of African musicians played along with Sister Sledge, The Pointer Sisters, Bill Withers, BB King, Fania All Stars with Celia Cruz, The Spinners, and headlined by James Brown.

“Soul Power” basically chronicles the days leading up to the show and the show itself. I gotta say this sh#t felt like the first time i watched Woodstock and Wattstax.

In fact, it felt like the director kinda used the two as a template for this film. All of the onsite construction set up felt similar to similar scenes in Woodstock. And the heavy use of casual monologues from Muhammad Ali throughout the film was very similar to Richard Pryor in Wattstax.

It’s a very moving film. I’ve never seen such casual footage of James Brown ever before. There’s a scene where he’s in a hotel room with Don King talking about how money is essential to black people being liberated. At the end James Brown said a line that sent the audience in the screening howling and clapping. I won’t ruin it for you.

Other amazing scenes include, what the Director called a very random and unplanned performance by a local African r&b band on a street corner in Kinshasha, a VERY young Kathy Sledge teaching members of an African dance troupe how to do the bump, the Fania All Stars JAMMING THE F#CK OUT on the airplane on the way to Zaire, BB King eying the women as he’s walking off of the plane, Phillipe Wynn sparring with Muhammad Ali. Bill Withers’ performance of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” damn near moved everyone to tears.

After the screening there was a short Q&A with the director and he said he wants to release the full show on a series of DVDs (14 hours of performances) after the movie has its run."

Full text over here. When We Were Kings is one of the best music docos ever, so if it's half as good as that, it will blow your freakin' mind. You've seen When We Were Kings, right? No? Shame on you! Sort it out!

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