Friday, April 13, 2007

Filmmaker Stephen Olsson on his new doc 'Sound of the Soul'

By David Lamble - Bay Area Reporter - San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.
Thursday, April 12, 2007

We were working like 18-hour days, and you get into this kind of trance yourself, the music has this profound effect on you.
The Sufi music doesn't even start until Midnight or one o'clock in the morning, and goes to three or four, then you're getting up at eight or nine, day after day.

So you're in this state of musical trance while you're making a film, looking through a viewfinder. You know this expression: 'I wasn't really there, I only filmed it!' That kicks in, and the music, and the lack of sleep, so you're in an altered state, it's a cool place to be in a culture which is safe, friendly, visually interesting, culturally interesting, fairly free for an Arab Muslim country.

I had a wonderful time making this film." — Stephen Olsson on shooting Sound of the Soul in Morocco.

(...)

"We sat down, we drank tea, we shared stories, and then he invited me to come to Morocco. He told me if I came during the festival time, he could arrange tickets and accommodation, so two weeks later, with a friend and no budget, we set off to Morocco.

We knew there was a festival there, but was there a film there, above and beyond a concert film? We really didn't know."

Olsson and camera partner Andy Black traveled to the ancient walled city of Fez, where for eight days and nights, they captured sounds ranging from a Thomas Tallis-inspired medieval chorus to brutally evocative love ballads from Portugal, intermingling with the distinctive Sufi traditional music with its uniquely Middle Eastern percussive rhythms and vocal wails.

The performers are sensitively lensed, with the meaning of the vocals enhanced by smoothly executed translations.

Each vocal and instrumental group is framed by a story or philosophical insight. Morocco's tiny surviving Jewish community is acknowledged with a Bar Mitzvah and the tale of how 300,000 Jewish Moroccans were saved from Nazi extermination by the intervention of the Moroccan King.

A female vocalist explains how Moroccans, following the tolerant Sufi teachings, find no conflict with a musical expression of their faith.

The Fez Festival's dollars-and-cents pragmatism comes across through the appearance in the audience of directors from the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. But ultimately, Sound of the Soul delivers the visual salad of a shockingly lovely landscape that is dotted with beautiful, happy faces.
[picture: Sufi and Dervish groups perform at the Fez Festival. Photo: IF Fes/Boissau]

1 comment:

Irving said...

What a lovely post :) I can't wait to see the film.

Ya Haqq!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Filmmaker Stephen Olsson on his new doc 'Sound of the Soul'
By David Lamble - Bay Area Reporter - San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.
Thursday, April 12, 2007

We were working like 18-hour days, and you get into this kind of trance yourself, the music has this profound effect on you.
The Sufi music doesn't even start until Midnight or one o'clock in the morning, and goes to three or four, then you're getting up at eight or nine, day after day.

So you're in this state of musical trance while you're making a film, looking through a viewfinder. You know this expression: 'I wasn't really there, I only filmed it!' That kicks in, and the music, and the lack of sleep, so you're in an altered state, it's a cool place to be in a culture which is safe, friendly, visually interesting, culturally interesting, fairly free for an Arab Muslim country.

I had a wonderful time making this film." — Stephen Olsson on shooting Sound of the Soul in Morocco.

(...)

"We sat down, we drank tea, we shared stories, and then he invited me to come to Morocco. He told me if I came during the festival time, he could arrange tickets and accommodation, so two weeks later, with a friend and no budget, we set off to Morocco.

We knew there was a festival there, but was there a film there, above and beyond a concert film? We really didn't know."

Olsson and camera partner Andy Black traveled to the ancient walled city of Fez, where for eight days and nights, they captured sounds ranging from a Thomas Tallis-inspired medieval chorus to brutally evocative love ballads from Portugal, intermingling with the distinctive Sufi traditional music with its uniquely Middle Eastern percussive rhythms and vocal wails.

The performers are sensitively lensed, with the meaning of the vocals enhanced by smoothly executed translations.

Each vocal and instrumental group is framed by a story or philosophical insight. Morocco's tiny surviving Jewish community is acknowledged with a Bar Mitzvah and the tale of how 300,000 Jewish Moroccans were saved from Nazi extermination by the intervention of the Moroccan King.

A female vocalist explains how Moroccans, following the tolerant Sufi teachings, find no conflict with a musical expression of their faith.

The Fez Festival's dollars-and-cents pragmatism comes across through the appearance in the audience of directors from the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. But ultimately, Sound of the Soul delivers the visual salad of a shockingly lovely landscape that is dotted with beautiful, happy faces.
[picture: Sufi and Dervish groups perform at the Fez Festival. Photo: IF Fes/Boissau]

1 comment:

Irving said...

What a lovely post :) I can't wait to see the film.

Ya Haqq!