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Music documentaries by Ely Rosenblum to debut this year

last modified Oct 26, 2015 09:37 AM
Two music documentaries directed and edited by doctoral candidate Ely Rosenblum are featured in major exhibits at the British Library in London, UK and the Deaf Culture Centre in Toronto, Canada.

The Sunjata Story: Glimpse of a Mande Epic 

Producer - Dr. Marcia Ostashewski, Canada Research Chair in Communities and Cultures (Cape Breton University) 
Artistic Director - Dr. Lucy Duran (School of Oriental and African Studies) 
Director of Photography and Editor - Ely Rosenblum (University of Cambridge) 
Courtesy Singing Storytellers Public Outreach Project 
The Office of Dr. Marcia Ostashewski, Canada Research Chair in Communities and Cultures,
Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 
The epic genre (fasa) of the Mande griots (jeliw) is probably the most vibrant and celebrated example of a living oral epic tradition on the African continent. The life story of Sunjata Keita, the prince who founded West Africa's greatest empire almost 800 years ago, has been passed down for generations through song, spoken recitation, and musical accompaniment on traditional Mande griot instruments such as the 22-key balafon. Most performances focus on only one or two episodes of Sunjata's life; it is rare for the whole story to be performed on one occasion. 
This special performance features two master musicians from Mali: singer Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté accompanied on the balafon by Fodé Lassana Diabaté. Professor Chérif Keita (Carleton College) provides a poetic translation of the story along with the traditional performance. It was commissioned by the Singing Storytellers Symposium and performed in October 2014 at the Boardmore Playhouse, Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. Professor Keita, himself a descendant of Sunjata, collaborated with the two hereditary musicians and also with ethnomusicologist Dr Lucy Duran (SOAS, University of London) for this unique cultural exchange. 
This documentary of Griot storytelling and musicianship is part of the upcoming British Library exhibit West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song

Signed Music: Rhythm of the Heart
Co-Producers - Joanne S. Cripps, Dr. Anita Small, Ely Rosenblum (University of Cambridge), Dr. Jody H. Cripps
Project Manager - Joanne S. Cripps
Content Manager - Dr. Anita Small
Director - Ely Rosenblum (University of Cambridge)
Host - Dr. Jody H. Cripps
This documentary introduces an emerging American Sign Language (ASL) performance practice featured in the Signed Music/Eye Music Special Exhibition at the DEAF CULTURE CENTRE (Toronto, Canada). Signed Music: Rhythm of The Heart presents the foundational concepts of the performance practices that make up Signed Music/Eye Music. We tend to associate music with hearing and to think of visual forms of music as simply interpretations of the auditory experience to make it “accessible”– inclusive. Signed Music/Eye Music is a Deaf centred music practice that emerges from within the community. It extends our notion of “inclusion” beyond access to an “empowering” visual musical art form that emerges from within “Deaf cultural space”, engagement and experience.

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