August 10, 2009

Rumble in the Jungle: Soul Power documentary

One of my all-time favourite documentaries is When We Were Kings (1996), co-created by Leon Gast, telling the story about the The Rumble in The Jungle, the epic 1974 meeting between George Foreman and Muhammed Ali in the Central African country of Congo (formerly known as Zaire). Even if you don't like boxing, surely you will appreciate Ali's charisma. And not the mention the music festival, which accompagnied the boxing event. A small part of this legendary festival (coproduced by Hugh Masekela) is already featured in When We Were Kings. However, Leon Gast recently released his new pic, called Soul Power, this time focussing solely on the musical events during Rumble In The Jungle. Appearing artist include James Brown, BB King, Celia Cruz and the Fania All-stars, Bill Withers, The Spinners, Sister Sledge and African superstars Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, Franco and Tabu Ley Rochereau. An amazing line up, and amazing footage of an event in which afro-american performers returned to the motherland, and celebrating it with their gift for music. If you enjoyed Woodstock and Wattstax you gotta dig this! Be sure to check out the trailer of Soul Power. Earlier, Leon Gast already created three terrific pieces of musical cinema: Our Latin Thing, Salsa the Movie and Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars in Africa (all re-issued on dvd by Vampisoul, but sadly already out of print).

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