4 Stars
Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 70 minutes
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If you are a fan of world music, Stephen Olsson’s “Sound of the Soul” is a documentary not to be missed. Chronicling the ten-day long Festival of World Sacred Music held each year in Fez, Morocco, Olsson’s film provides a whirlwind tour of musical traditions from around the globe, with most focusing on spiritual or religious themes. Additionally, the site of the festival has long been a crossroads for Muslim, Jewish and Christian travelers, which adds to the film’s overarching multicultural theme.

Taking a fairly straightforward approach (probably due to Olsson’s extensive background in television production), “Sound of the Soul” intersperses “talking head” interviews with clips of the various musicians in action. The location sound (done by Hope Mitnick) is flawless and the production zips along at a brisk pace. Not only does “Sound of the Soul” provide a great introduction to this expansive genre, it also creates a window into the world of the musicians themselves, including both their personal and cultural influences. I found myself cross-referencing and searching for many of the featured performers, which is an added benefit to watching this film on home video (with access to the internet, if possible).

A favorite on the festival circuit when it debuted in 2005, “Sound of the Soul” is definitely worth tracking down if you are a fan of uplifting, spiritually-grounded music. And if you’re not, this could very well be the film that turns you into one.

Posted on August 19, 2010 in Reviews by

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