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Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker In Africa DVD

Review by Greg Olma

I had heard about this film years ago when I was looking for Cream material. It has finally come out on DVD and although you will find it in the music section of most video stores, this film is really more of a documentary. In 1971, Ginger Baker decided to head across the Sahara Desert in a Range Rover. Tony Palmer decided to film this road trip or should I say “experience.” The main purpose in doing all of this is that Ginger Baker wanted to set up a studio in Lagos. Along the way, we get a glimpse of the local music.

This film has not aged well and that is part of its charm. The event took place in 1971 and it looks like it. The graininess of the film is something I really miss in the current CGI world we live in. The DVD is broken up into 5 parts, each part representing a different city along the way. Along with the “local music scene,” shots of the studio jams are interspersed with footage of the travels. Even the narration has a beatnik vibe to it. One of the parts of this film is a cartoon rendition of their troubles in Tamanrassett. The local authorities (basically warlords) gave them a hard time but let them go to the next village. The film is relatively short, running just under an hour, and time goes by fast. Aside from the fact that it contains the drumming talents of Ginger Baker, it is a wonderful glimpse into the cultures and music of Africa circa 1971.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at
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