DOXA 2017: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World | Directed by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana | DOXA Documentary Film Festival | Screens May 5, 2017

The first thing we hear are guitar chords that inspired a generation and sparked a whole new movement in rock ‘n’ roll. It’s spine tingling stuff. Link Wray’s riffs on “Rumble” were revolutionary at the time. He is the father of the power chord and distortion. Nobody was playing guitar like that and the song ended up banned for fear that it would incite gang violence. What many people don’t know is that Wray was a Shawnee Native American.

As it turns out, many musical pioneers in the United States boast Native American ancestry, and their influence on rock, blues, jazz, and funk is immeasurable. This film traces the musical family tree from the likes of Wray, Charley Patton, and Mildred Bailey to many prominent musicians including Steven Tyler, Iggy Pop, and Tony Bennett who credit them as formative influences.   

It seems that the roots of almost all American music can be traced back to Native American sounds and rhythms. More modern musicians such as Buffy Saint-Marie, guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, and drummer Randy Castillo are also profiled. It is hard to believe that some of these names have gone unknown for so long when they have been such a foundation of American music.

This film is a great starting point for delving into the history of musical influences and Native American roots in the United States. There were a few mentions of Canadian musicians such as The Band, but it would be nice to have an equivalent film for the Canadian context.    

The powerful sounds of Wray’s guitar and the other incredible musicians reverberate in the mind long after the film comes to a close.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn