Film Premieres: Menelik Shabazz’s “Lovers Rock” and Frantz Voltaire’s “Maestro Issa El Saieh”

As part of its ongoing African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF) Spring and Summer Film Series, ArtMattan Films presents the “Music of the World” Series on July 29-31, 2011. This program presents an array of excellent musical films including two premieres in the United States: Lovers Rock by Menelik Shabazz (UK; 2010) and Maestro Issa El Saieh by Frantz Voltaire (Canada/Haiti; 2009; in Creole with English subtitles); the latter screening will be followed by a question and answer session with director Frantz Voltaire. The screening will take place at Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam (Room 263 Macy), New York, New York.


Lovers Rock: To be screened on July 30, Lovers Rock focuses on “a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems.” Lovers Rock has been dubbed “romantic reggae.” Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive footage shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance—known as ‘scrubbing’—at parties and clubs. Interviews include, Levi Roots, Linton Kwesi Johnson, UB40, Maxi Priest, Janet Kay, Dennis Bovell, Angie Le Mar, Dr. Lez Henry.

Maestro Issa El Saieh: Frantz Voltaire’s Maestro Issa El Saieh will be screened on July 31. It is a musical documentary that traces Maestro Issa’s contributions to the music scene in Haiti between 1942 and 1959. Issa El Saieh created a musical revolution in Haiti by introducing Jazz and Cuban music to the island after returning there in 1940. He invited international musician such as Bobby Hicks and Bebo Valdés to perform and record in Haiti. Band leader in the Cabane Choucoune and in the Casino, he was also instrumental in discovering local talents such as Jo Trouillot, Guy Durosier and Raoul Guillaume among others. He was the first to work with Voodoo priests by writing down their songs and later creating operating and jazz arrangements which lead to public performances of this spiritual music.

For more information, you may call (212) 864-1760 or visit

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