Brooklyn’s Caribbean Film Academy (CaFA), producers of the ongoing Caribbean Film Series that debuted last April at its regular home of BAMcinematek with a sold-out screening of the Trinidadian hit “God Loves the Fighter,” is now releasing a brand new series that will travel around Brooklyn and NYC showing niche Caribbean short and feature films.
The first film debuting in CaFA’s new series will return audiences to Jamaica via two Israeli DJ’s intent on resurrecting a once-popular style of reggae music. In “Congo Beats the Drum,” Ariel Tagar (Kalbata) and Uri Wertheim (Mixmonster) travel from their basement studio in Tel Aviv, all the way to the Kingston ghettos and countryside, looking for their favorite singers of days gone by to record an album with forgotten Rub-a-Dub style reggae artists . Insisting on not using any computers in the process, while blending in elements of techno, psychedelic funk, African roots music, they encounter an eccentric and often challenging culture while trying to achieve their goal.
Rub-a-Dub style reggae was developed in the late 1970’s through the 1980’s and served as the precursor to Dancehall music, filling the gap of influential Jamaican rhythms after the passing of Bob Marley in 1981. And according to Beth Lesser, author of “Rub-a-Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall,” this innovative music style, with its use of pre-programmed beats and “battles” also influenced hip-hop during its time of major growth.
Appearing in the film are past Rub-a-Dub champions such as Jah Thomas, Mutabaruka (who film fans should remember as the character Shango from Haile Gerima’s “Sankofa” – 1993), Little John, Echo Minott, Major Mackerel, Trinity, Puddy Roots and the sadly, recently departed Prince Jazzbo.
Screening on February 13th at the Made In NY Media Center-IFP in DUMBO, Brooklyn (30 John Street) at 6:30p, this is a must-see for music and reggae enthusiasts. Tickets should still be available. Preceding the film is the touching short film “Egress,” directed by and starring Sean M. Field, who hails from Barbados.
For more information, go to CaribbeanFilm.org