Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: Mama Africa

Mama Africa
Dir. Mika Kaurismäki
Country: Germany
Aus Rating: N/A
Running Time: 90mins

The best music documentaries are those that shine a light on a familiar subject in a new and illuminating manner, or those that place the spotlight on somebody who otherwise may have gone unnoticed by the general public. Miriam Makeba, the subject of Mika Kaurismäki’s Mama Africa, is one of those names, faces, and voices, that will be remarkably unknown to many readers (plus this writer), but this documentary goes a long way to demonstrating why she was so popular and hailed as the defining voice of African music. The performer of songs “Pata Pata” and “The Click Song” died in 2008, but her life story remains as vital and important today as it did in 1950s and ‘60s. Mama Africa assembles its collection of old interviews, modern day testimonials, and classic performance footage into a powerful film that explores how one woman used her musical gift to bring attention to not only the issues of her homeland, but the racial troubles of America.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine

Mama Africa screens alongside and The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 and Come Back, Africa for a very brief time at ACMI. I looked at all of them via the link.

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