Music features to watch at Hot Docs 2018

Music is on the menu at Hot Docs 2018 in Toronto, ongoing till May 6.

The mammoth event dedicated to the true storytellers in film reached its 25th edition.

My two recommendations for the music lovers are Mr. SOUL! (Sat May 5) and Bachman (runs 2,3 and 4 May).

Premiering in 1968, SOUL! was the first nationally broadcast all-Black variety show on public television, merging artists from the margins with post–civil rights Black radical thought. Visionary producer-turned-host Ellis Haizlip—openly gay and committed to charting new aesthetic territory—brought the avant-garde into the mainstream by foregrounding poetry and politics. Debuting icons like Patti Labelle, Ashford & Simpson and Arsenio Hall alongside early legends such as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and the Last Poets, Haizlip’s keen ear for talent propelled a cultural shift so powerful it pushed Nixon into action.

From sold-out stadiums to a cameo on The Simpsons, Randy Bachman reached rock royalty status decades ago. Now in his 70s, he’s still takin’ care of business: performing live, working with young artists and hosting a national radio show featuring the musicians he admires. A man who achieved the rare feat of number one hits with two different bands—”American Woman” (The Guess Who) and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (Bachman Turner Overdrive)—Bachman eschewed the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of his contemporaries to focus on his craft.

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