Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Lomax the Songhunter|
Actor: Alan Lomax
Director: Rogier Kappers
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Alan Lomax (1915-2002) earned a singular place for himself in American culture and arts. Building on the pioneering work of his father, John, whom he accompanied on folk-song recording tours of the American South and South... more »
Good Lomax documentary with a European slant
J. W. Reitsma | Haarlem, the Netherlands | 07/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film explores some aspects the life and work of Alan Lomax, the famous conservationist of folk music that seemed on the brink of extinction in the mid-20th century. The film's director Rogier Kappers sought out and filmed Alan Lomax in Florida, but unfortunately he was no longer able to talk as a result of a brain haemorrhage. As his desire to make a documentary on Lomax continued unabated, he decided to follow in his trail in a VW van similar to the one in which Lomax travelled with his recording equipment and pay a visit to surviving singers in some European regions where Lomax had recorded in the 1950s. His travels and meetings in England, the Scottish Hebrides, Spanish Galicia and Italian Calabria produced some surprising encounters with the original singers on the field recordings that have been reissued on CD by Rounder in recent years. The singers with their wavering voices are quite affecting, and some of their performances even kick off a real party in the village. These musical meetings are interspersed with interviews with Lomax' daughter Anna Lomax Wood, friends and collaborators such as English folk song collector Peter Kennedy, singers Pete and Peggy Seeger and a visit to the Library of Congress music archive. Also included are some interesting historical film clips of British and American work songs and archival TV footage of Lomax forcefully and persuasively arguing his views.
As this is a 93-minute film and not an exhaustive biography, certain things are bound to fall by the wayside. I think the Dutch film director made a wise choice to focus on Lomax' relatively unknown European exploits and leave it up to the Americans to provide a thorough examination of the ground-breaking work that Lomax did in the US. (However, I'm still waiting for this.) I guess we should be happy to have at least this one movie.
Two complaints, though: the DVD doesn't have any chapters, so you will need to fast-forward to any favourite scenes. Also I've read there were plans to include a CD with songs featured in the film, but that obviously didn't work out. However, if you're wondering which CD to get, quite a few of them are prominently held up in the frame!