Compiled by David Henderson (St. Lawrence University)
This issue includes several older VHS recordings that did not appear in
earlier issues, as well as a few recent DVD releases of older films.
Acknowledgements:St. Lawrence University Libraries for financial and technical
General | Africa | Americas | Asia
and Oceania | Europe | Distributor Information
The Human Hambone. 2005. Directed by Mark Morgan (USA). Distributed
by First Run/Icarus Films. VHS and DVD, 49 mins. Demonstration and celebration
of the ways in which the human body can be used as a musical instrument.
Traces the historical roots of body music back to eighteenth-century American
history and examines body music within an anthropological framework.
African Culture: Drumming and Dance. 2000 (1994). Directed by
Mitch Jacobsen (USA). Distributed by AIMS Multimedia. DVD, 21 mins. Short
program intended for grades 4-8, hosted by singer, choreographer and storyteller
Margo Blake and percussionist Tony Rios.
African Drumming. 1993. Directed by Cecilia Mastrorilli (USA).
Distributed by Interworld Music. VHS, 50 mins. Discussion of Nigerian drum
traditions, drumming techniques, and rhythms for djembe and ashiko, presented
by Babatunde Olatundji.
Colors Straight Up. 2005 (1998). Directed by Michèle Ohayon
(USA). Distributed by Docurama. DVD, 90 mins. Film tracing the work of Colors
United, a performing arts group for teenagers in Watts. Academy Award nominee
for Best Documentary in 1998, this film is currently being remade as a Hollywood
drama under executive producer Morgan Freeman.
Come Let Us Dance (Lomir Geyn Tantsn). 2002. Directed by Karen
Goodman (USA). Distributed by Ergo Home Video. DVD, 48 mins. An investigation
of klezmer dance styles and their preservation and transformation in the
diaspora. Centers around Miriam Rochlin, a student of Polish-born dancer
and choreographer Nathan Vizonsky, as she teaches a freylekhs and two versions
of the sher and converses with the director.
The Cry of Jazz. 2003 (1959). Directed by Edward O. Bland (USA).
Distributed by Music Video Distributors. DVD, 34 mins. Filmed in Chicago,
The Cry of Jazz begins by pitting black and white actors against each other
in a conversation on jazz and race, then moves into a freewheeling, occasionally
interrupted monologue on jazz forms and styles. Filmed by composer Edward
O. Bland and featuring Sun Ra and His Arkestra.
Cuba Mía: Portrait of an All-Woman Orchestra. 2005. Directed
by Cecilia Domeyko (Cuba). Distributed by V.I.E.W. Inc. DVD, 86 mins. Exploration
of the work and lives of the members of Camerata Romeu, a Cuban chamber
ensemble that performs an eclectic array of musics under the baton of conductor
Zenaida Romeu. In English or Spanish. [Cuba Mia]
Cubanissimo: A History of Cuban Music. 2004. Directed by Philippe
Blot (Cuba). Distributed by Synkronized USA. Available from Facets Multi-Media.
DVD, 90 mins. Documentary assembled from archival photographs and film footage
along with recent interviews with and performances by influential musicians.
Includes segments with Beny More, Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes, Bola
de Nieve, Lino Borges, and others. In Spanish with English subtitles.
5 Sides of a Coin. 2004. Directed by Paul Kell (USA/Canada). Distributed
by Seventh Art Releasing. DVD, 70 mins. Overview of the international culture
of hip-hop, featuring Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc, this is a fast-paced
collage of insightful interviews with Grandmaster Flash, Gil Scott-Heron,
Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, the Pharcyde, DJ Spooky, Miho Hatori, and others.
Filmed on location in Vancouver, New York City, Washington, London, Paris,
Berlin, Rome, Milan, Bangkok, and Tokyo.
Legendary Voices: Cantors of Yesteryear. 1991. Produced by Ergo
Media Inc. (USA). Distributed by Ergo Home Video. VHS, 58 mins. Compilation
of performances by Mordechai Hershman, Adolph Katchko, Samuel Malavsky,
Moishe Oysher, David Roltman, Yossele Rosenblatt, Josef Shlisky, and Leibele
Waldman, assembled from Joseph Seiden’s sound films (1931-1950) and
A. J. Bloome’s Dream of My People (1933). Includes brief introductions
to each cantor, excerpted from Velvel Pasternak and Noah Schall’s
compilation, The Golden Age of Cantors (1991).
No Borders—Canto. 2001. Directed by Wayne Miller & Michael
B. Borofsky USA). Distributed by Image Entertainment. VHS and DVD, 125 mins.
Follows Los Super Seven from the studio, where they finish work on their
album, Canto, to the concert stage, where they perform "Siboney,”
"Compay Gato,” "Teresa” and other songs.
Sing Faster: The Stagehands’ Ring Cycle. 1998. Directed
by Jon Else (USA). Distributed by Docurama. DVD, 56 mins. A quick trip through
seventeen hours of Wagner, this film follows the rehearsals, performances,
and backstage life of the stage crew at the San Francisco Opera. Stagehands
break in on occasion to provide a cheerful, no-nonsense synopsis of the
four works of the cycle.
Welcome to Death Row. 2001. Directed by S. Leigh Savidge (USA).
Distributed by Xenon Pictures. VHS and DVD, 104 mins. History of Death Row
Records, "a label run like a gang, or perhaps the other way around,”
as Nathan Rabin puts it in his review of the film for The Onion. Starring
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Suge Knight, Kevin Powell, and Tupac Shakur.
Why Elvis? 1993. Directed by David Leonard (USA). Distributed
by Kultur. DVD, 75 mins. Documentary focusing not so much on Elvis Presley
as on the people he knew and the fans and impersonators who continue to
honor his memory. With music by Mojo Nixon, Phineas Newborn, Jr., the Brewers,
and the King Bisquick Boys.
Asia and Oceania
From Mao To Mozart: Isaac Stern in China. 2000 (1980). Directed
by Murray Lerner (USA). Distributed by Docurama. DVD, 115 mins. Winner of
the Oscar for Best Documentary in 1981, this film follows Stern on his month-long
tour of China in 1979. This release also includes two short films: Musical
Encounters, which documents a return visit twenty years later, and The Gentleman
from Shanghai, a biography of Chinese violinist and violin-maker Tan Shuzhen,
directed by Heather Greer.
Hom rong/The Overture. 2004. Directed by Anant Narkong (Thailand).
Distributed by Kino International. DVD, 104 mins. Winner of six awards,
including Best Picture, at the Thailand National Film Association Awards
in 2005, this feature film is a biography of Luang Pradit Pairoh (1881-1954),
one of the most famous composers of traditional Thai music of the 20th century.
In Thai with English subtitles.
Jewish Soul Music: The Art of Giora Feidman. 1992 (1980). Directed
by Uri Barbash (Netherlands/Israel). Distributed by Ergo Home Video. VHS,
45 mins. Profile of Giora Feidman, a former clarinetist with the Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra who later in life took up klezmer music. Includes
extensive excerpts of his solo and ensemble performances.
Edith Piaf: A Passionate Life. 2003 (1967). Directed by Marcel
Blistène (France). Distributed by Kultur. DVD, 50 mins. This documentary
was made for French television four years after Piaf’s death, and
includes footage of her life and the massive funeral procession for her
in Paris. Also includes clips from several of her film appearances. Re-released
with narration in English.
Music Hall Days. 2002. Directed by Stephen Gammond (UK). Distributed
by Kultur. DVD, 69 mins. History of British music hall, or variety. This
film traces its origins to the Bartholomew Fayres of the 13th century, but
focuses more on its flourishing in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hosted
by Canadian television actor and professional dancer Lionel Blair.
20765 Superior Street
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Ergo Home Video
P.O. Box 2037
Teaneck, NJ 07666-1437
1517 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
First Run/Icarus Films
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Brooklyn, NY 11201
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Music Video Distributors
P.O. Box 280
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Seventh Art Releasing
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Los Angeles, CA 90046
34 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
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