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Q&A with producer Carolyn Carew

Mpumi "Supa" Mbele's debut documentary tells the story of world-renowned South African musician Joseph Shabalala, who rose to fame with his band Ladysmith Black Mambazo after contributing to Paul Simon's massively successful "Graceland" album. Bathed in Ladysmith's powerful music, MUSIC IS MY LIFE covers the full breadth of the singer's life, from his early years in rural South Africa to the height of his global success and his passing in 2020 at the age of 79. Filmed over several years, the film incorporates footage from the "Graceland" recording sessions plus many never-before-seen recordings and frank conversations taken from a secret archive kept by Shabalala's widow. Interwoven throughout is testimony from many of the luminaries who worked alongside Shabalala, including Dolly Parton, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. The film also documents the complex history of Isicathamiya music — the musical idiom whose boundaries Shabalala helped to expand — in terms of the political and musical forces that helped to form it. Locating his music at the heart of the South African experience as well as in its physical heartlands, this portrait is an engaging tribute to one of the country's most distinct musical forms and the man with the beautifully resonant voice who made it famous. (Note adapted from Durban International Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2022 Durban International Film Festival, 2023 Pan African Film & Arts Festival. DIR/SCR Mpumi "Supa" Mbele; PROD Carolyn Eileen Carew. South Africa/Canada, 2022, color, 90 min. In English and IsiZulu with English subtitles. NOT RATED

No AFI Member passes accepted.

90 Minutes
Documentary - music


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