Celebrating Caribbean Music Documentaries

Did you know that June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month as well as Black Music Month?  In honor of the occasion, on this last day of June, this post  highlights a few recent–and one classic–documentary films featuring Caribbean music.  What are your favorite Caribbean music docs?

Calypso Dreams (dir: Geoffrey Dunn & Michael Horne, 2004) traces the history of calypso music through an engaging mix of interviews, archival footage and performances.  Watch the trailer HERE.

The Other Side of the Water (dir: Jeremy Robins & Magali Damas, 2010) follows the Brooklyn-based Haitian band DJARARA.  The film explores the roots of rara music and its attendant controversies, focusing on the band’s charismatic leader Pé Yves.  Watch the trailer HERE.  (And HERE‘s a related article from New Yorker magazine on rara music.)

Rise Up (dir: Luciano Blotta, 2009) is a riveting film about three artists who try to make it in Jamaica’s cutthroat music business.  The film won the Best Music Documentary award at Silverdocs and has screened at many other festivals.  Watch the trailer HERE.

…Y tenemos sabor /…And We Have Flavor (dir: Sara Gómez, 1967) gives a lyrical introduction to Afro-Cuban rhythms.  This short is packed with interviews, footage of impromptu street performances and studio recordings. Check out this CLIP from the film, which definitely showcases Cuban flavor.


About BFC/A

The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University was established in 1981 as the first archival repository dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making available historically and culturally significant films by and about black people. The BFC/A's primary objectives are to promote scholarship on black film and to serve as an open resource for scholars, researchers, students, and the general public; to encourage creative film activity by independent black filmmakers; and to undertake and support research on the history, impact, theory, and aesthetics of black film traditions. View all posts by BFC/A

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