- James Brown
- Muhammad Ali
- Don King
- Celia Cruz
- BB King
This is so much more than a chronicle of the 1974 3-day music festival in Kinshasa, Zaire scheduled during the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" superfight against Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
The story goes "In 1974, Hugh Masekela set out to organize a music festival in Africa. They approached boxing promoter Don King with the proposal to combine the festival with a title fight that that King was organizing. King persuaded President of Zaire Mobutu Sese Sekou to provide a venue and bankroll the fight. Mobutu agreed to host the festival, but declined to provide financial support. Masekela and Levine later found a Liberian investment group willing to finance the 3-day festival and film of the event"
In this doc you will see such scenes as Bill Withers, Muhammad Ali, Don King and Bundini Brown eating breakfast engaged in comical banter about who is free and who isn't, Manu DiBango looking like a bonafide King, playing his saxophone while children clap and sing aloud and Miriam Makeba (aka Mama Africa) is such a beauty all the way around you couldn't take eyes or ears off of her regality.
The candid scenes with James Brown, Ali, and Celia Cruz singing on the tour bus while BB King looks on are so impactual to the rich legacy of Black musical culture, I don't believe the filmmakers truly knew of what pricelessness they captured.
You will want to watch this, watch it again, call a loved one and have them watch it with you and keep the cycle spinning with the brilliance of this visual time capsule.
Soul Power could not have a more appropriate title.
Link to soundtrack review:
When We Were Kings soundtrack