‘Mirror to the Soul: Music, Culture and Identity in the Caribbean 1920-72’ is a massive new release from Soul Jazz Records comprising 2 music CDs, a two-hour (+ 1hr extras) documentary DVD and a 72-page book as well as 2 vinyl editions.
Over two years in the making, the DVD Mirror to the Soul is a new documentary film about the Caribbean, a unique collaboration between Soul Jazz Records and British Pathé, made up entirely of newsreel footage filmed during the period 1922-1970.
British Pathé was established in London in 1910 to produce newsreels screened in cinemas throughout Britain before main feature films. In the 1950s, to compete with the new medium of television, Pathé began adding entertainment, cultural, musical and educational stories to hard news items. Pathé eventually closed production in 1970 after accumulating over 3,500 hours of documentary history and Soul Jazz Records/Films were given full access to these film vaults for the making of this new film.
As well as offering an insight into aspects of West Indian life, the film also allows us to see how a private British film company presented a Caribbean identity to the outside world. Consequently the film tells us as much about British society and its own identity and values - especially in regard to attitudes towards its colonies and former-colonies - as it does those of the Caribbean itself.
The relationship between the Caribbean and Britain is explored through features and footage of the onward diaspora of West Indians to the ‘motherland’, from the fascinating footage of the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948 (including an interview with new arrival Lord Kitchener) to racial troubles and more.
This film presents many aspects of Caribbean life to the viewer. From Calypsonians to banana plantations, from Voodoo ceremonies to revolutionaries, as well as hurricanes, stingrays and flying fish, colonialism and independence, water diving, carnival – all presented together here into a uniquely fascinating document.
REVIEWS OF THE DOCUMENTARY DVD:
“A compelling new film, which takes the curatorial art of the compilation album and applies it winningly to the moving image..” The Guardian
“A powerful, jigsaw-like testament to the beauty and importance of archive footage. A Chris Marker-esque investigation of memory” British Film Institute
Music CD 1/2xLP: Caribbean Jump-Up, Mambo and Calypso Beat 1954-77 Big sounds from small islands! This album is a whistle-stop musical journey through the Caribbean stopping off at Trinidad, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and more along the way as Caribbean Jump-Up, Mambo and Calypso Beat all feature in this upfront selection of heavyweight Caribbean dance tunes from 1954-77! Includes loads of killer ska, mambo and latin jazz, calypso, tropical funk and more. Artists include Irakere, Cachao, Slim Smith, Celia Cruz, El Gran Combo, Edmundo Ros, Lord Flea, Techniques, Carlos Malcolm, Count Ossie and more!
BONUS Music CD2 (Tracks 26-40): Afro-Caribbean Music Up From The Roots 1994-2013 Soul Jazz Records have been recording Afro-Caribbean music for the last 15 years, travelling to and documenting roots styles in the Caribbean region. This authentic Afro-Caribbean music is at the source of many popular styles of today and the album is a selection of Soul Jazz Records’ productions and includes music from Cuba, Haiti, Colombia, Guadeloupe and Belize.
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