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11 music doccies that’s totally worth the watch

17 March 2016, 15:32

Nairobi – The last few years have seen a rise in the amount of music documentaries being released.

From Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse, filmmakers are tackling documentaries head on to bring to life the stories behind some of music’s most iconic voices.

But then there are also some documentaries that are not about the stars of the music, but about the festivals, the people behind the scenes and the music scene in general.

We found 11 music doccies (old and new and in no particular order) that are totally worth the watch:

1. Festival Express
Festival Express is a 2003 documentary film about the 1970 train tour of the same name across Canada taken by bands such as Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, Flying Burrito Bros, and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. Directed by double Grammy Award-winner Bob Smeaton, the film combines live footage shot during the 1970 concerts, as well as footage aboard the train itself, interspersed with present-day interviews with tour participants sharing their often humorous recollections of the events.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

2. Kurt Cobain: Montage of a Heck
Directed by Oscar nominated Brett Morgan and co-produced by the Nirvana frontman’s widowed wife, Courtney Love and their daughter Frances Cobain, this 2015 rock documentary is said to be the most intimate one in history. Including never-before-seen footage of home videos, live shows and more, the film taps into only a fraction of the intense life of the rock legend himself.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

3. 20 Feet From Stardom
This Oscar winning 2013 documentary was directed by Morgan Neville and produced by Gil Friesen, a music industry executive whose curiosity to know more about the lives of background singers inspired the making of the film. The film follows the behind-the-scenes of backup singers and stars Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, and Jo Lawry, among many others.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

4. Amy
This 2015 doccie depicts the life and death of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, directed by Asif Kapadia. The film depicts Winehouse's life largely from the standpoint of her struggle with substance abuse problems both before and after her career began to blossom, and which eventually caused her premature death.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

5. Some Kind Of Monster
Named one of Rolling Stones’s 10 Best Documentaries of All Time, this film features American heavy metal band Metallica. It shares its name with the song Some Kind of Monster from Metallica's 2003 album St. Anger. The film shows many studio rehearsals and fragments of concert footage. Metallica is forced to examine their nature and their very existence as bassist Jason Newsted quits the band and frontman James Hetfield abruptly leaves the group to enter a rehabilitation facility due to alcohol abuse. Metallica's management Q-Prime hires "performance-enhancing coach" Phil Towle to help the group better understand one another as friends, bandmates, and human beings.

Click here to watch it on YouTube.

6. Woodstock
This Oscar winner and 1970 box office hit is about the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival that took place in August 1969 at Bethel in New York. It shows the three-day festival over three immersive hours. Entertainment Weekly called this film the benchmark of concert movies and one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

7. Searching for Sugar Man
This 2012 Oscar winning doccie, which is a UK/Sweden co-production, tells the story of Detroit singer-songwriter Rodriguez who, as portrayed in the film, became a source of hope and inspiration in apartheid South Africa before mysteriously disappearing. It follows South African music fans who set out to discover what exactly happened to their idol Rodriguez.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

8. It Might Get Loud
This 2008 American documentary film by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim explores the careers and styles of prominent rock musicians Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White. They discuss their instrument and, more crucially, their approach to it.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

9. Fokofpolisiekar: Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do
This 2009 doccie follows Francois, Wyand, Hunter, Jaco and Johnny, the 5 young Afrikaans punk rockers that transformed a generation during a unique time in history. The film follows the story of the band over 4 years as they forge a place for themselves and their fans in the new South Africa, in the process challenging the stigmas and expectations placed on them by their Afrikaner heritage, the church and tradition. Through the death threats and Christian backlash, they stood tall - sentries for the right to identity and freedom of thought.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

10. Big Easy Express
Indie folk heroes Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Tennessee’s Old Crow Medicine Show, and Britain’s acclaimed Mumford & Sons, climbed aboard a beautiful vintage train in California in 2012, setting out for New Orleans, Louisiana on a "tour of dreams". The resulting film from this journey is nothing short of magical.

Click here to watch it on YouTube.

11. Sonic Highways
Sonic Highways, directed by Dave Grohl and written by Mark Monroe, was made in 2014 concurrently with Foo Fighters' eighth album, Sonic Highways, and was broadcast on HBO. Grohl described the project as "a love letter to the history of American music". Each of the eight episodes is presented as an exploration of the musical history of a different American city through a series of interviews by Grohl. The group is also shown incorporating what they learned from the interviews into the writing and recording of a new song in or near that city.

It is available on DVD from Takealot.

(Sources:Wikipedia,YouTube, Rolling Stone and Vulture.)

- Channel24


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