They're Playing Our Song

Music is often the way we mark out milestones, and it's no different when it comes to revolutions. In fact, as becomes evident in the documentary Soundtrack for a Revolution, maybe even more so. A poignant history lesson and voyage through the events of the American civil-rights movement, the film, by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, ties those many marches and activist expressions together through song: the hymns, spirituals and folk music -- much of it a legacy of slavery -- that carried the movement through its darkest times. Case in point: "They can take away everything else except our songs, which meant that we kept our souls," Freedom Rider Bernard Lafayette says, looking back in the film, as he recalls singing with his companions in protest while imprisoned in Jackson, Mississippi, for the crime of riding on an integrated bus.

Showing tonight at 6 p.m. as part of the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library's Seldom Screened series, Soundtrack also connects the past with the present by intermixing archival footage and interviews with the likes of John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond and Andrew Young with modern versions of the old songs as sung by an all-star cast including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean and the Roots. It's also a tie-in with the library's new historical exhibit, Moving Toward Liberation: Freedom Riders, which can be viewed through November 28; the film series, subtitled "The Stony Road," continues on Mondays through December 12. Admission is free; for information, go to or call 720-865-2401. BCAARL is located at 2401 Welton Street.
Mon., Nov. 21, 6-8 p.m., 2011

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd