This is the title of a Cuban documentary shown at the SF Film Festival April
28 and 30 (check schedule for times and locations sffs.org) Inspired by the
unprecedented success of Buena Vista Social Club a couple of years ago
(the festival even booked Ritmo y Armonia for its closing party that year) the
festival programmers followed up with a documentary about Los Van Van last year
and this unique film this year. (Sorry, no details about that party, some
reporters are less equal than others, but, most likely, salseros did not attend.
Who could afford a hefty admission charge? Besides, the salsa community was not
targeted for advertisements).
We Are the Music was made in 1964 by Rogelio Paris and edited by Nelson
Rodriguez whose work is highlighted at this festival. There is almost no salsa
here. It's mostly charanga, bolero, rumba and other styles of Cuban music
featuring performers of that era including Celeste Mendoza, Chapottin, Bola de
Nieve and others. One point to note: very African roots of this music. If you're
curious about the origins of salsa this is one film not to miss.
Shown with it is a short Strings Over My City by Mayda Vilasis featuring
all-female musical group Camerata Romeu performing in the 18th-century basilica.
You'll enjoy images of Old Havana accompanied by baroque and Cuban music. Fans
of Caribbean music should check out My Voice by an African-born director Flora
Gomez. The movie is no Oscar contender, but the soundtrack is very pleasant.
If you're a swing devotee and you got lost on this site, a word of caution:
the French film Swing has nothing to do with your favorite dance and music. It's
the name of a Gypsy girl, but her father is a great guitar player so if you like
Gypsy Kings and other world music this film presents a little bit of gypsy, a
little bit of Arabic, Hebrew etc. If you don't catch them at the festival you'll
have to wait until they're released (if at all)