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Rejoice and Shout

Submitted by MBergeron on June 10, 2011 – 12:58 amNo Comment
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Music is the food of love, and music is joy. The sound of the human voice singing brings joy and love and this is constantly true in the movie Rejoice and Shout. A comprehensive documentary on the history of gospel music, R&S contains stunning vocal performances, each one better than the last.

Rejoice and Shout works because it’s so unassuming. A series of talking heads introduce gospel songs and musicians. The chronology is linear. In fact the construction is actually pretty prosaic, but when the music starts the magic begins. It’s the thesis of R&S that gospel account for all forms of current modern music, and with apt examples we witness how this works. As the film progresses director Don McGlynn even extends the segments from snippets to full-length songs.

Some of the interviewees and singers I recognize, like Smokey Robinson, The Staple Singers or The Edwin Hawkins Singers while others are revelations. Clips of the Blind Boys of Alabama and The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi demonstrate the vocal technique of the “shout.” Music classes are evidently popular in schools for the blind one commentator reminds.

There’s a lot of talent on display and care is taken to cover all the proper genres. But nothing prepares you for the rock solid vocals of Sister Rosetta Tharp that plays over the closing credits. Rejoice and Shout opens this weekend at the AMC Deerbrook and First Colony.

- Michael Bergeron

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