Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

/ Supplied
/ Supplied

Directed by Catherine Bainbridge

Oct. 1, 6:45 pm, Landmark Cinemas 9 City Centre

This intriguing record soon hits flat notes … when it’s not needle-skipping from one instrumental indigenous rocker or folk-singer to another (Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, and more).

After a fascinating section about the pre-Civil War sound-mixing of indigenous and slave cultures—where Pura Fé, sings to a Charley Patton record, reveals the indigenous beat in the music—Rumble stutters into a series of blurb-bios. In even the best of these, metal-man Randy Castillo only gets a vague analysis of how Native drumming influenced his stick work. Dates are ignored. Context is scanty (how can a doc featuring activist John Trudell and noting the FBI’s targeting of Sainte-Marie never once mention the American Indian Movement?). Eras, regions, and disparate peoples and traditions jitter past. (There’s a mad hop from jazz singer Mildred Bailey to ‘60s footage of police brutality and the folk-music scene.)

The effect? A flitting-about number with no clear through-line, offering up key musicians who happened to be “Indians.”

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