dir. Michael Murphy, 2019
NR, 104 min, USA, in English
Up From The Streets – New Orleans: The City of Music celebrates the culture of New Orleans through the lens of music. The history of this city is distinct from any other in the US. The music created here, a powerful form of expression. The film looks at the evolution of New Orleans music and how it has reflected the culture and times in which it was created. From the drumming at Congo Square by free people of color and enslaved Africans, to the explosion of musical styles that can still be heard on the streets of the city, the power of music to change lives is evident. Personal reflections by New Orleans’ musicians including Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick, Jr, Branford & Wynton Marsalis, Mannie Fresh, and Dr. Michael White, and commentary by national and international musicians along with archival and newly filmed performances by iconic artists such as Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and The Neville Brothers, paint the picture of “this city of music”. The sounds and rhythms of New Orleans were the foundation of American music and continue to carry the torch of a liberating expression into the future.
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Up From The Streets is a film on how the music of New Orleans reflects the culture of the city; and how music has the power to change lives. New Orleans is my hometown and the music here has been a vital source of inspiration for myself and the citizens of this amazing city. Our music unites us, providing a deep spiritual connection to the city’s rich multi-cultural foundation that began 300 years ago. In many ways, the story of New Orleans is the story of America – a country founded by people who wanted freedom, and wanted to escape social injustice and cultural biases. The music of New Orleans became not only a celebration of life but also, at times, an expression of a want, need, and desire for freedom.