I can’t get by without a daily dose of music, so during the lockdown I’ve been using PressReader and RBdigital to keep up with the latest releases. I’ve also been checking out some music documentaries on our online streaming services Beamafilm and Kanopy–old favourites I enjoy seeing again, plus some new ones. Below are six fantastic music documentaries from the last few years, including Academy Award-winners and local gems–enjoy!
Searching for Sugar Man
Length: 86 minutes
Director: Malik Bendjelloul
In the late 60s, a musician was discovered in a Detroit bar by two celebrated producers who were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity. Two South African fans then set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Academy Awards winner for Best Documentary.
Naxos Jazz Library: Did you know that Rodriguez opened the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2013? Discover more great jazz resources via the Naxos Jazz Library–including over 200,000 tracks.
20 Feet From Stardom
Length: 91 minutes
Director: Morgan Neville
This great documentary shines the spotlight on the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.
Lynda.com: Did you know that Lynda has courses on how to sing? Start practicing now via our eLibrary.
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble
Length: 96 minutes
Director: Morgan Neville
Spanning the globe, this is the celebratory story of the renowned international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The feature-length documentary follows this group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.
Press Reader: Press Reader has a range of great music magazines from around the world, including BBC Music Magazine and more.
Liam Gallagher: As it Was
Length: 85 minutes
Directors: Gavin Fitzgerald and Charlie Lightening
Liam Gallagher went from the dizzying heights of his champagne supernova years in Oasis to living on the edge, ostracised and lost in the musical wilderness of booze, notoriety and bitter legal battles. Starting again alone, stripped bare and with nowhere to hide, this intimate doco sees Liam risks everything to make the greatest rock’n’roll comeback of all time.
RBdigital: Want to read more about Oasis and Liam Gallagher in Rolling Stone? You can–right here in RBdigital!
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
Length: 88 minutes
Directors: Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin
On Feb. 21, 2012, members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, donning their colorful trademark balaclavas, or ski masks, participated in a 40-second “punk prayer protest” on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral before being detained. Arrested and tried for trespassing, wearing “inappropriate” sleeveless dresses and disrupting social order, Nadia, Masha and Katia were accused of religious hatred in a trial that reverberated around the world and transformed the face of Russian society. An official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Punk Spirit.
The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps
Length: 95 minutes
Directors: Julia Parnell and Rob Curry
Martin Phillipps came tantalizingly close to conquering the international musical world with his band The Chills, but instead fell into decades of debt and addiction in his hometown of Dunedin, New Zealand. At 54, he’s been given a dire medical prognosis, forcing him to face his demons and realise his musical ambitions before it’s too late.
Wellington Music at WCL: With interviews, reviews, archives and a gig guide, our specialist music page has got your local music needs covered.