pars media // films // Aida's Brothers & Sisters

Music Documentary, 100 min, 1999

Director(s): Jan Schmidt-Garre, Marieke Schroeder
Cinematography: Wedigo von Schultzendorff, Craig Braden
Editor: Gaby Kull-Neujahr

Featuring: Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson, Grace Bumbry, Leontyne Price, Shirley Verett, Simon Estes, Barbara Hendricks, George Shirley, Götz Friedrich, Edward Said, Rosalyn M. Story, Opera Ebony et al.

Co-produced by BR, SWR, WDR, WNET/Thirteen/New York, DRS, TSR, NRK and YLE

Distributed with the support of Media II

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The film tells the story of classical singing against the background of black emancipation in politics and society, a story ranging from the first successes of the bass Paul Robeson, who throughout his life regarded his voice as an instrument of liberation, to the young singing pupils of the Harlem School of Arts, who identify themselves with their origins in rejuvenated pride. We hear the great African American singers, their opera company directors and producers talk about their views and experiences. Historical and contemporary film extracts and specially shot film sequences demonstrate the richness and variety of black singing. The film also tries to give an answer to the the question: Are we really colourdeaf?