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In 1974, the most celebrated American R&B acts of the time came together with the
most renowned musical groups in Africa for a 12-hour, three-night long concert held in
Kinshasa, Zaire. The dream-child of Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine, this music
festival became a reality when they convinced boxing promoter Don King to combine
the event with The Rumble in the Jungle, the epic fight between Muhammad Ali and
George Foreman, previously chronicled in the Academy Award-winning documentary
WHEN WE WERE KINGS.
SOUL POWER is a verité documentary about this legendary music festival (dubbed
Zaire 74), and it depicts the experiences and performances of such musical
luminaries as James Brown, BB King, Bill Withers, Celia Cruz, among a host of others.
At the peak of their talents and the height of their careers, these artists were inspired by
this return to their African roots, as well as the enthusiasm of the Zairian audience, to
give the performances of their lives. The concert has achieved mythological
significance as the definitive Africa(n)-American musical event of the 20th Century.
SOUL POWER is crafted from the extensive outtakes that remained after making
WHEN WE WERE KINGS, which documented the epic title fight, but relegated the
music festival to a small, supporting role. The outtakes have remained vaulted for the
past 34 years, until now. The film was ultimately edited down from over 125 hours
worth of footage. Lensed primarily by celebrated cinematographers Albert Maysles,
Paul Goldsmith, Kevin Keating and Roderick Young, SOUL POWER finally provides
todays audience the opportunity to experience this historic musical event in all of its
magnificent, filmed glory.
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