Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

The contributions of indigenous peoples to the continuum of American music have long been neglected, and while Rumble is ultimately a drop in the bucket in correcting this oversight, it’s a very good start. Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana's far-reaching documentary is necessarily episodic, with discrete sections on crucial figures like blues progenitor Charley Patton, rock trailblazer Link Wray, folksinger/activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, session guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, and metal drummer Randy Castillo. Each of these musicians could command his or her own narrative, but the accumulation of these snapshots gives Rumble an undeniable power. And the movie’s diagram of the undeniable similarity between Patton’s rise-and-fall melodies and traditional Native songs will have you rethinking everything you’ve learned about American musical history.


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