Indigenous peoples used to not get much attention in history books, and it seems the same thing can be said about music history. It turns out that key figures in the world of jazz, blues, rock, and metal were either themselves Indigenous or heavily influenced by Indigenous artists – but hardly anybody knew. That quiet Native presence is what inspired the Canadian documentary Rumble, the award-winning film that will be screened as part of Toronto’s Hot Docs in July.
Here’s what Hot Docs has to say about the film:
“Winner of the Hot Docs Audience Award and Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary, Rumble reveals an essential and, until now, missing chapter in the history of popular music: the Indigenous influence. Lifting the veil on the enormous impact made by First Nations and Native American musicians including Robbie Robertson, Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Charley Patton, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis and more, Rumble celebrates their genre-changing and undeniably catchy influence. Blending audio archives, concert footage and interviews with industry icons from Tony Bennett to Steven Tyler and Martin Scorsese, this Hot Docs hit and Sundance award-winner is an unforgettable and political exploration of a musical history that was silenced for too long.”
Rumble has already been making waves in the film world: it won an award for Masterful Storytelling at Sundance Film Festival this year, and received the Best Music Documentary Film Award at the Boulder International Film Festival. And hopefully, the movie will make some waves in the music world as well – the lack of knowledge around Indigenous influences in the industry is what inspired the doc in the first place.
The documentary will screen daily at the Ted Rogers Cinema in downtown Toronto from July 28 to August 3. Tickets are just under $10 and can be found on the Hot Docs website along with specific showtimes. If you’re curious, you can also find the trailer for Rumble below.