Art Beat Focus: Martin Shore of ‘Take Me to the River: New Orleans’ — in Edmonds Feb. 25

Martin Shore

Saturday, Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N., Edmonds

The documentary film Take Me to the River: New Orleans was released Feb. 3 and is available to stream on Prime, Itunes, and Google Play. Paired with the film is a live show Take Me to the River: New Orleans LIVE! coming to Edmonds Center for the Arts. It features musicians from the documentary Dumpstaphunk and Jon Cleary.

The documentary follows recording sessions that pair legendary musicians from New Orleans and more modern musicians who have been influenced and inspired by their work. The artists created a record, including the Grammy-winning song Stomping Ground by Aaron Neville, featuring the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Woven between the sessions is the story of the rich musical history, heritage, legacy and impact of New Orleans and Louisiana. It’s a true collaboration and melting pot of influences from around the world that came together and formed one of the world’s most unique cultural jewels. The live show allows audiences to experience the full range of New Orleans music and to point them to the record and film. The record is available on Spotify, Apple Music and, for vinyl fans, Amazon.

Martin Shore, film producer and director of the documentaries, Take Me to the River and Take Me To the River: New Orleans, describes what sparked the idea for the film series. He was walking around on a break from a recording session in Mississippi and was struck with an epiphany that the true origin story of American popular music had not been told. Following this moment, several music legends from the Mississippi Delta region passed away (Issac Hayes, Jim Dickinson, Willie Mitchell and Alex Chilton) and he felt an urgency to preserve the history and impact of the roots of American popular music.

Shore has been drumming since the age of 6 and began his career as a musician. He describes his transition to directing as natural: “I’ve always loved how film combines all the arts,” he said. He began first as a music supervisor, then as a producer. In these films, sitting in the director’s chair felt the most natural.

The themes of the film are passing the torch, preserving legendary musicians and masters, and breaking down societal walls.

Shore said he has a true passion for education. Along with the curation of the history of popular music in his films, he has created Take Me to the River Education Initiative (TMTTREI) to bring music history and instruments to schools around the world. In partnership with Berklee City Music at Berklee College of Music, the TMTTREI has designed common core curriculum available on Berklee PULSE. It is currently accessed by over 45 Berklee City Music Network members, New York Public Schools and other schools and educational organization with over 300,000 PULSE accounts. The goal is to inspire students to explore and express their own musical creativity.

Next on Shore’s agenda is Take Me to the River: London.He hopes to tell theBritish invasion story from a new perspective and will partner UK musicians and artists from his other Take Me to the River documentaries.

Take Me to the River New Orleans LIVE! gathers some of the most influential figures of modern New Orleans funk R&B, soul and jazz together on the same stage for a night of extraordinary music. Featuring both individual and collaborative performances, the evening is packed with three generations of legendary Crescent City Talent. Featuring funk and jam band Dumpstaphunk and legendary pianist Jon Cleary, the night is guaranteed to keep everyone dancing, shaking and smiling as if transported to New Orleans itself. Get tickets here. Be sure to wave to Martin at the show in Edmonds, and he hopes “you’ll be worn out from all the dancing you’ll do!”

— By Elizabeth Murray

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