Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2013 Contents B23
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
What role has music
played in Nelson Man-
dela s life? A new docu-
mentary explores how he used song
as a powerful weapon against
Nelson Mandela once said: "Music
is a great blessing. It has the power
to elevate and liberate us. It sets
people free to dream. It can unite
us to sing with one voice. Such is
the value of music."
With the spotlight on the former
South African president s health over
the last few weeks, Canadian film-
maker Jason Bourque has seen a
surge in interest in a documentary
he shot in 2011.
Music for Mandela examines how
Nelson Mandela has used music both
personally and politically throughout
"It was made as a tribute to our
greatest living icon," says Bourke,
speaking from his home in Vancou-
ver.Bourque and producer Ken Frith
spent their teenage years on opposite
sides of Canada but in 1988 both
were among the TV audience of 600
million watching the live broadcast
of Mandela s 70th Birthday Tribute
concert at London s Wembley Sta-
"It made an indelible mark on
me," Bourque says." I was about 16
and you know how important music
Gabriel, Simple Minds, Dire Straits,
Sting and George Michael---so it was
through my favourite artists that I
became aware of Nelson Mandela."
Nine years later, Bourke and Frith
met at the Vancouver Film School
and later formed Gold Star Produc-
tions, making documentaries, films,
music videos and commercials.
Having had their Mandela project
in their minds for many years, pro-
duction got underway two years ago.
Music for Mandela was filmed over
six months in South Africa, Canada
and the UK and features musical
performances from Ladysmith Black
Mambazo and the Soweto Gospel
Interviewees include BB King,
Sean Paul, Estelle, classical singer
Katherine Jenkins and Mandela s
grandson, hip hop artist Bambatha
"What was interesting for me,"
says Bourque, "is that throughout
this process I began to see music as
more of a weapon."
Nelson Mandela was convicted of
treason and sabotage in June 1964
and sentenced to life imprisonment.
He spent most of his sentence on
Robben Island, off Cape Town, doing
While imprisoned, Mandela s
influence grew through freedom
songs and he became a symbol for
the movement to end apartheid.
As Jonas Gwangwa, the former
exiled South African jazz musician,
says in the film: "His name was kept
alive especially through music. When
people sang about Mandela...the
young generation would ask who is
Mandela? Then we would explain."
Mandela himself would use song
to lift the spirits of his fellow pris-
One of the highlights of the doc-
umentary is when Eddie Daniels, an
ex-prisoner and long-time friend of
Mandela, sings Bonny Mary of
Argyle, a song that Mandela used
to sing behind bars.
"Mandela and the prisoners would
give Christmas concerts and the
music would resonate through the
prison walls," Bourque says.
"In prison there were subversive
folk songs that they could sing and
get away with."
Bourque s film also considers the
cultural ban on images and music
inspired by Mandela. Hundreds of
records were banned---including Pink
Floyd s The Wall, which had been
adopted by protesters against edu-
cational inequities under apartheid.
"Songs that had anything to do
with Mandela would literally be
scratched off the LP by the censor,"
Banned music was smuggled on
cassettes, or beamed into the country
by shortwave radio transmitters,
while exiled musicians travelled the
world singing about the plight of
the South African people.
Another first-hand account in the
film comes from hip hop artist Bam-
batha Mandela, who was a baby
when his grandfather was released
"Music in general is part of our
South African culture and it s also
part of what got us through the
struggle," he says in the film.
He also performs his rap-song
Born African. Bourque recalls: "We
had his grandson telling us these
wonderful stories about growing up
with Mandela and then he rapped
about it. It was a wonderful
The documentary highlights the
influential role of The Special AKA s
hit protest song Free Nelson Man-
dela. First released in 1984, it reached
number nine in the UK charts.
"It seemed to plant the seed for
the entire 70th birthday tribute,"
"It was one of the songs they
would have had to smuggle into
South Africa. People were aware of
it, but it was banned. You would
have to travel miles to a friends
house and listen to it behind closed
How did that 1988 concert change
"When I look back at it---and the
power of music and the simple mes-
sage---without a doubt it raised the
global consciousness as to what was
going on," he says.
"That was the way that the
majority of the world found out
about Mandela s plight and that of
the South African people. You can t
deny how many people were touched
by that concert." (BBC)
What s a hulking vampire to do
without moody mortals in distress
and with no more computer-
enhanced battles to wage in the for-
For 28-year-old Twilight actor Kel-
lan Lutz---better known as Emmett
Cullen, the heartthrob brother of lead-
ing man Edward---it s still about look-
ing as good as superhumanly possible.
Lutz unveiled his Pre-Spring 2014
collection with Abbot + Main this
week in Las Vegas during MAGIC,
one of the fashion world s most influ-
ential trade shows.
"It s great to find something outside
of acting," he said in an interview
Monday at a Las Vegas Strip hotel
suite, resting a chiseled, stubbly chin
on a sofa pillow.
Born in North Dakota and raised
in Arizona and the Midwest---places
he described as trendiness-chal-
lenged---he started modeling at 14 and
developed an eye for style hanging
out with fashion and photography
Soon enough, he stopped borrowing
clothes from some of his six brothers.
They were borrowing from him.
His brand---which debuted in 2011
and is named after an intersection in
the beachy-cool Venice Beach, Cal-
ifornia neighborhood where Lutz once
lived---mainly consists of soft, slim-
fitting T-shirts and not-trying-too-
Initially just for men, two-thirds
of the collection is now for women.
There s a peach-colored, long-sleeved
sweater of translucent hacci fabric; a
draping tank top in matte gray. Meant
for layering, prints and logos are
nowhere to be found.
Bloomingdale s and Nordstrom
carry the line. Pants retail for $91,
while hoodies go for $98.
Lutz works with business partners
mainly over Skype as he travels around
the world filming. He s starring as the
oft-shirtless Hercules in the upcoming
Hercules 3D. After MAGIC, he ll be
headed to Bulgaria to shoot The
Expendables 3, an action thriller that s
set to include Sylvester Stallone,
Arnold Schwarzenegger and things
Stephenie Meyer, author of the
books that led to the movie series
that grossed US$1.4 billion in US box
office receipts, told Variety last week
that she s done with the fantastical
world of glittery-skinned, bloodthirsty
"I get further away every day,"
Meyer s quoted as saying. "I am so
over it. For me, it s not a happy place
But the small supporting role that
carved him a place in the acting
world---and in many a teen girl s
heart---looms large for Lutz.
"I m so thankful for everything that
movie s done for me," he said. "Twi-
light gave me a name." (AP)
Mandela documentary examines power of music
Twilight star unveils new fashion line
The Soweto Gospel Choir. PHOTO COURTESY IMG ARTISTS
Actor and designer Kellan Lutz looks through his pre-spring 2014
clothing line Abbot + Main at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
Links Archive August 20th 2013 August 22nd 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page