|When he left South Africa in the 1960s, Abdullah Ibrahim took Cape Town with him. The city's mixture of African, Arabic, Oriental and European cultures echoes in the music he writes for his septet, Ekaya; there are spirituals, slow-rolling South African marabi rhythms, American jazz (especially Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington), African traditional melodies, even the samba rhythms that Mr. Ibrahim traces to Africa...The film gives a well-rounded view of a musician for whom exile means both pain and inspiration.
A world-renowned jazz pianist from Cape Town, South Africa, Abdullah Ibrahim--named Dollar Brand before his conversion to Islam--has lived a life of music, and this documentary looks back on his illustrious career. Exposed as a youth to a variety of music spanning from traditional African and religious song to jazz, he began studying piano at the age of seven; he joined a number of South African jazz bands as an adult before moving to Zurich. Once there, he was heard by Duke Ellington, who arranged a recording session for him and booked him at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965. Ibrahim moved on from there to New York, where he played with many illustrious jazz musicians, and several of his compositions were arranged for a 22-piece orchestra, with which he has toured the world. Ibrahim has also composed scores for films such as CHOCOLAT and NO FEAR NO DIE. Created in close collaboration with Ibrahim, this journey through the life of Cape Town's finest musician evokes the scope and complexity of his music, as well as the deep spirituality and political awareness from which it was born. Using both interviews and dramatizations, while moving between New York and Cape Town, the film explores the cultural history of the Cape through the eyes and memories of one of its most illustrious artists.
DVD (NTSC/ALL REGIONS) 90 Minutes, Color, CC.