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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Cinematic Journeys to the Source: Music Repatriation to Africa in Film” critically explores four documentary films that feature the repatriation of a musician or group of musicians to Africa. More specifically, it asserts that for these artists, their music has created the opportunity for both them and their audience to collectively remember an African past and either consciously or subconsciously is the metaphorical site of repatriation before the physical travel takes place. The author argues that music communities emotionally repatriate through their participation in music making and that in turn makes physical repatriation possible. The chapter makes these points by exploring the concepts of memory, identity, and performance of ethnicity. The films, They Are We, by Emma Christopher; Throw Down Your Heart, starring Béla Fleck, by Sascha Paladino; Feel Like Going Home, which stars Corey Harris, by Martin Scorsese; and Search for the Everlasting Coconut Tree, starring and directed by Adimu Madyun are reviewed based on their contribution to the ongoing dialogue about the negotiation of relationships between Africans and African Americans, perceived healing of the trauma of the trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved people and the lasting effects of it, and the role that music has played in pursuit of achievement of these goals.

Keywords: Africa, repatriation, banjo, griot, Orisha, trans-Atlantic, African diaspora, emotional repatriation, African American

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