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TOPIC: Music

Censored Iranian Artists, Poets and Musicians Threatened with Exile

[Note: Please enjoy this guest essay on Iranian artists and censorships, in conjunction with the broadcast premiere of When God Sleeps, by artist and game creator Kurosh ValaNejad. See more on him at the end.] by Kurosh ValaNejad, guest contributor In the Islamic Republic of Iran, artistic expression is not denied.  Iranians can sing and dance … READ MORE

10 Questions with “Rat Film” Composer Dan Deacon: On Baltimore, Rats, Player Pianos and Theremins

Baltimore-based composer/musician Dan Deacon did the music for Theo Anthony’s Rat Film. The film, which uses the urban rat as a way to explore a deeper story of urbanization and segregation, is a unique blend of history, science and sci-fi, poetry and portraiture. And Deacon’s music, also a unique blend of styles, genres and instruments … READ MORE

For “Winnie”: Anti-Apartheid Songs of Protest

By Sarah Bardeen, guest contributor Modern South Africa was forged in apartheid. The struggle defined life for generations of South Africans, and music was crucial in that struggle. Black South Africans saw their guns confiscated, their homes bulldozed, their land stolen, but in the mouths of demonstrators, song became both a balm and a weapon. … READ MORE

Muscle Shoals’ Rick Hall Passes Away

Sad news to report, that Rick Hall, the star of the Independent Lens film Muscle Shoals, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness. The Fame Studios founder, who is credited with launching the career of such music icons as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others, published and recorded numerous R&B, pop and … READ MORE

On Supergirls, Sasha Fierce, Slim Shady and Having an Alter Ego

By Michelle Konstantinovsky Naomi Kutin is technically the central subject of the new Independent Lens documentary Supergirl. But as the film unfolds, viewers learn fairly quickly that there are actually two equally important protagonists: Kutin and her all-powerful alter ego, “Supergirl.” At first glance, the story might seem specific to Kutin, but the New Jersey pre-teen is representative … READ MORE

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld Chases Coltrane’s Legacy

Filmmaker John Scheinfeld is no stranger to taking on challenging subjects for documentaries. The Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee and writer/director/producer’s other films include The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him), We Believe, and Dick Cavett’s Watergate. But something about the story of legendary jazz … READ MORE

Chasing Trane Playlist: Coltrane and His Disciples

By Nick Dedina, Guest Contributor Drop a needle on a John Coltrane record, hit play on one of his digital playlists, or watch Chasing Trane and it’s easy to understand why the saxophonist is universally revered as a musical giant. The ways in which Coltrane influenced jazz are vast. But the saxophonist has also had a … READ MORE

Girl Power: The Original #SquadGoals (and Just #Goals in General)

In the Independent Lens documentary Ovarian Psycos, we’re introduced to The Ovas — a chicanx (xicanx) feminist group who bike through the streets of East L.A. in honor of sisterhood. While bike riding in solidarity is definitely an underground movement, womxn coming together to uplift and empower one another has been a huge part of recent … READ MORE

TOWER Playlist: 1966 Music Soundscape

Pure and simple, 1966 was considered by many critics as one of the greatest years for popular music ever [see the Guardian’s “Was 1966 pop music greatest’s year?” and the LA Times‘ “1966 Could be Rock’s Most Revolutionary Year“]. The AV Club’s Steven Hyden on why 1966 was his favorite year for music: “I chose … READ MORE

The Black Panthers Pandora Mixtape

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution will be televised on Independent Lens February 16 at 9 pm [check local listings] but you can plug in, turn on, and get down ahead of time with our curated Pandora Mixtape. The set joins the politically charged soul music of the ’60s and 70’s with post-Panther era R&B and hip-hop that … READ MORE