Tuesday, August 08, 2006

‘Lomax: The Songhunter’ by Rogier Kappers

17 November 2005

On Monday I was at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh to see ‘Lomax: The Songhunter’ – a fascinating documentary. Alan Lomax was an American song collector who died in 2002. For most of his life, he travelled around the world with his recording equipment, hunting for folk songs and recording ordinary people. Filmmaker Rogier Kappers visited Lomax one year before his death, when he was already seriously ill with a brain haemorrhage. Kappers decided to search for people Lomax recorded, and travelled through Europe in an old Volkswagen. His journey led him past desolate Scottish islands, through the parched interior of Spain and to isolated Italian mountain villages where he found the grown up children of some of the people Lomax recorded in the 1940s and 1950s and – in some cases – the original musicians themselves. In one memorable scene Kappers plays a vintage Lomax recording to a group of elderly locals in a supermarket in Galicia and you can see their faces breaking into smiles as they recognise their earlier selves on the tape. Gradually they begin to join in with the songs and end up dancing up and down the aisles of the supermarket. For more information, see: www.lomaxthesonghunter.nl

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