Potentially tricky territory here. Back in 2017, the white British film-maker Peter Webber travelled to Jamaica to document a musical reunion destined to remind seasoned arthouse patrons of Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club. The Inna de Yard sessions gathered reggae veterans on a rickety porch in Kingston to re-record their best-known standards acoustically – mirroring that unplugged tradition prevalent in MTV circles almost since the electric guitar’s invention, while venturing a Jamaican analogue to the Great American Songbook.
As one interviewee puts it: “Some countries have diamonds, some have pearls, some have oil; we have reggae.” As with all those resources, the spectre of exploitation has never been far away; Webber’s entirely disarming tactic is to allow the musicians to tell their own stories in their own words. Few require much prompting.
Sessions - Resumption - Careers - Hold - Others
For some, the sessions are a resumption of careers put on hold; for others, a return to the one constant in their lives. For many, they’re a means of reclaiming these songs from companies that wrung more money from them than was ever allowed to trickle down Kingston way. Webber’s business isn’t exploitation but celebration, commemoration. He rightly senses –...
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