Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Music docs on the big screen

Like the best music, the best music documentaries are often the ones you have to go searching for. Cheap technology means any doofus with a video camera can put together a documentary featuring a band talking blandly about their music. …

Fri, Sep 24, 2010, 08:55

   

Like the best music, the best music documentaries are often the ones you have to go searching for.

Cheap technology means any doofus with a video camera can put together a documentary featuring a band talking blandly about their music. But it’s the film-makers who are prepared to go beyond the cliches and platitudes who usually produce the most abiding images.

Often it’s a case that the film-maker finds a story which he or she didn’t even realise was going to be told when they switched their camera on. Sam Jones’ excellent I Am Trying to Break Your Heart on Wilco’s trials and tribulations during the making of their “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” album is a fine example of this kind of lucky break.

Then, there are documentaries on lesser-known or overlooked acts which come up trumps. Millions may have heard Motown house band The Funk Brothers doing their thing on dozens of hit singles, but few knew their story until Paul Justman put the musicians on tape in Standing In the Shadows of Motown.

New Irish enterprise Fresh & Noble will be screening a slew of lesser known music docs in the next few weeks in Dublin and Cork.

They’re showing Still Bill, Damani Baker and Alex Vlack’s documentary on soulman Bill Withers, at Dublin’s Sugar Club next Thursday (September 30). Then, it’s Nina Simone: La Légende at Cork’s Pavilion on October 25 during the city’s jazz festival.

Other documentaries to be screened in the series at future dates include Favela On Blast, Diplo’s film about his Brazilian musical adventures, and Dub Echoes, Bruno Natal and his crew tracing the basslines from Jamaica to all points on the globe.

Further information on the screenings here.