Various – Four American Roots Music Films by Yasha Aginsky
Featuring Mike Seeger, Elizabeth Cotten, Alice Gerard,Tommy Jarrell, Roscoe Holcomb, Sonny Terry, Denis McGee, Wallace “Cheese” Read, Canray Fontenot, Leopold François, Robert Jardell, Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy, Jody Stecher and more
Homemade American Music
In visits with their friends and mentors, Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard trace the origins of rural American music from traditional folk cultures in the southern United States and then demonstrate how traditional music is learned, played, adapted and performed by younger musicians from urban backgrounds. In addition to Mike and Alice, musicians include Tommy Jarrell, Roscoe Holcomb, Lily May Ledford, Elizabeth Cotten, Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy, Tracy Schwarz, Hank Bradley, Jody Stecher, Irene Herrmann, Stefan Senders, Will Spires, Eric Thompson and Susie Rothfield.
(1980, 42 minutes)
Sonny Terry, Shoutin’ the Blues
In a motel room in Oakland, California, blind blues harmonica great Sonny Terry tells a story about his start in show business and then plays an original solo in his own amazing style, created in over 50 years of playing.
(1969, 6 minutes)
Les Blues de Balfa
Through their festival appearances, concerts and recordings, the Balfa Brothers became the most renowned Cajun musicians and the first group to take their traditional music outside of southwest Louisiana. Tragically, just after this film was undertaken in 1979, brothers Rodney and Will were killed in a car crash. The surviving member of the group, Dewey Balfa, tells the history of his musical family and demonstrates the role of their musical tradition in his life, as he continues to spread Cajun music and culture in schools, music festivals and by playing with other musicians in local dance halls and clubs. In addition to the Balfa Brothers, musicians include Allie Young, Nathan Abshire, Tony Balfa, Rockin’ Dopsie, Raymond François and the Cajun Playboys and Tracy Schwarz.
(1983, 27 minutes)
Filmed at homes in rural southwest Louisiana, this film presents six masters of traditional Cajun music : Denis McGee, Wallace “Cheese” Read, Canray Fontenot, Leopold François, Robert Jardell and Dewey Balfa, singing and playing traditional songs and tunes and talking about their music, their lives, their work and their environment. Representing a diversity of ethnic origins, ages and social classes, they all continue to speak in the French language as well as English.