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Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World (free)

  • Central Library 201 West Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Catherine Bainbridge's documentary examines the contributions of indigenous people to American popular music. Info

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Drawing its title from Link Wray's iconic, swaggering instrumental hit, Catherine Bainbridge's 2017 documentary Rumble charts the contributions indigenous North Americans have made to the modern pop-music landscape. Bainbridge highlights the native heritage and musical influence of Wray and other artists—from protest singer Buffy Sainte-Marie to Delta blues pioneer Charley Patton to rapper Taboo to jazz singer Mildred Bailey. But just as importantly, Rumble also delves into the historical and political context of genocide and discrimination in the United States and Canada, right up to the conflicts that rage on at places like Standing Rock. Perhaps more than anything, the film's extensive archival footage and wide-ranging interviews (with figures including Taj Mahal, Martin Scorsese, Rhiannon Giddens, and Iggy Pop) confront us with the question of why so few of us already understood the indigenous role in shaping American rock, folk, and blues music, and exposes pop culture's complicity in the horrific erasure of whole peoples. Screening here as part of the PBS Independent Lens Pop-Up series, the film will be followed by a panel discussion. —Scott Gordon