I went out last night with a group of friends to see the premiere of a much anticipated documentary on music. Of course, when one goes out to such an event, one has certain expectations. Well, I had my first lecture in Unexpected 101.
When the bill says “documentary”, you can expect to be informed and educated on the subject at hand. And surely there will be a well-formed argument supported by evidence bringing the viewer toward the philosophical position asserted by the thesis of the film-maker. Who could doubt this?
Yet Icons Among Us delivers something which is so much more—and so much more powerful—than expected that one must feel an urge to liberate it from the constraints of that word, documentary: it is too small a cage for this size of bird.
I have been watching the progress of this release for some time now. (I think it was seven years in the making.) The final product has been divided up, so we consumers will have a few options for getting our feet wet.
There is a wealth of information on their official Web site. In short, what I watched was a theatrical version of the work (coming in just under two hours). There is also a four part (about four hours in total) series which is being aired at various dates on the Documentary Channel. (If you visit their site I am told you can sign up to be notified about a DVD release which I imagine would contain both versions. I have not yet confirmed this with a link.)
Icons Among Us is a philosophical coup de grâce putting into our minds the questions What is music?, What does it mean to be a musician?, and Who am I? The philosophically weak-of-heart should consult a PhD before seeing this film due to the increased risk of metaphysical myocardial infarctions. Everyone else, be prepared to enjoy some excellent music during the show, and know that you will want to have scheduled some musical listening after the show: a known side effect is increased musical hunger. Good medicine.
This is exactly what my friends and I did.
Which brings us to part two of this review. After the premiere (and after some noodles) we made our way over to Neumos for a show. (I should take a moment to mention that Icons Among Us was shown as part of SIFF at the Egyptian thanks to various sponsors including DonQ‘s yummy rum.)
I’m really not sure how to talk about the daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra. Do I describe them as an orchestra which incorporates hip-hop components (such as rappers and scratch), or are they more an MC/DJ combo backed by a full orchestra and a rhythm section?
I swear to you, I have never seen a more exuberant and at the same time technically exquisite violin solo. Nor would I have been able to guess that an audience could respond to violin work with such powerful vocalizations. Put plainly, this show (juxtaposed as it was with the documentary) was musical magic.
Ok, so go find a way to watch Icons Among Us and check out the daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra.
Life just keeps getting better.