In 1985, after hearing a cassette tape of an instrumental song called "Gumboots", performed by the South African band Boyoyo Boys, the singer-songwriter Paul Simon set out to South Africa to record with local musicians who could help him emulate the sound with which he had fallen in love. The result of that collaboration was the 1986 album Graceland, which went on to not only become Simon's most successful album, but also launched the "world music" genre of the 1980's. But not everyone was happy; by recording in South Africa and touring with a band of South African musicians, Simon was accused of violating the cultural boycott of South Africa, erected in an attempt to help bring down the nation's racist apartheid regime. Joe Berlinger's Under African Skies is the story of Graceland, from its inception to the political uproar it created. Filled with footage of the recording sessions, live performances and the incredible music of Simon's legendary album, Under African Skies is a triumphant story of the power of music to transcend our differences and bring the world together in song. The Sarasota Film Festival is proud to present Under African Skies as our 2012 Closing Night Film.
Under African Skies screens with our FILMMAKER TRIBUTE AWARDS Saturday, April 21 at 6:00 PM at the Sarasota Opera House.
SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL: What were your feelings twenty-five years ago when you first heard Graceland and witnessed the controversy surrounding the record and tour?
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