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March 14, 2003 - Image 88

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-14

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At The Movies

Freedom's Songs

Film soundtrack samples a half-century
of South African music.

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ee Hirsch's Amanda!• A
Revolution in Four-Part
Harmony focuses on the
songs that fueled the anti-
apartheid movement in South Africa,
and traces the lives of these songs
through meetings, rallies, guerilla
camps, funerals, church services, march-
es and demonstrations during the dark
decades of apartheid.
The film features
songs recorded and per-
formed by leading
South AfriCan artists
including Miriam
Makeba, Hugh
Masekela, Abdullah
Ibrahim and politician-
Vusi Mahlasela.
Fellow South African-
born musician Dave
Matthews' ATO Records
has produced and released the film's
namesake companion soundtrack.
Matthews worked with ATO's co-
founder Chris Tetzeli, Director Lee
Hirsch and Producer Sherry Simpson
in choosing the CD's 29 tracks.
"Seeing the reaction of the audiences
at Sundance was really what drew us
to try and commit to getting the film
out there and being involved with the
soundtrack," said Matthews.
"I was never quite aware of the
depth of music's part in the revolution
until I saw this film. [Music] was real-
ly a clear weapon — the strongest

NOT QUITE WHITE from page 87
the real attitudes toward the country's
Jews, whatever the official policy:
"The fact that the Cohens and the
Bernsteins were strong supporters of
the National Party in their annual
donations and their unquestioned
vote, election after election, never
seemed to count in their favor."
Nadine Gordimer, who was award-
ed the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature,
writes of a 13-year-old boy who is
sent to South Africa in "M ■ ,, Father
Leaves Home."
Despite his age, the boy succeeds as

"Traditionally, music was a
method of communicating ideas,
even before apartheid. It would fol-
low that it would be an integral part
in whatever was happening in that
"It's pretty amazing when you see
it in the film — you see a crowd,
singing in harmony, approaching a
line of guns — it's overwhelming to
see that kind of
strength and
The CD includes
Masekela's "Bring
Him Back Home,"
a central anthem in
the Free Nelson
Mandela move-
ment; Ibrahim's
soulful piano bal-
lad, "Mannenburg,"
which soothed the
people after the
1976 Soweto killings; and three
tracks from Mahlasela, including his
horn-like voice and soulful lyrics on
"When You Come Back."
Nancy Jacob's rendition of
"Meadowlands" recalls the stern
home where black South Africans
moved after the government leveled
their Sophiatown; and the Diepkloof
Community Choir of Soweto con-
tributes a rendition of the anthem
"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica."
"This documentary is a marvel, an
extraordinary achievement," says
Matthews. "Not one person should
miss this film. Not one."

a watchmaker in his new country and
marries an English wife.
But things are hardly ideal in his
household: "In the quarrels betWeen -
husband and wife, she saw [Jews] as
ignorant and dirty," Gordimer writes.
One of the more memorable stories
in the collection is "This One's
Gonna Killya," an excerpt from DON'
Fedleis Gagman:
A story about a man in a Nazi con-
centration camp who escapes by his
wit and courage, it could also be the
story of Jews and blacks in apartheid
South Africa. ❑

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