TONITE: Deep Blues In The Hand Of Fatima


The Hand of Fatima

dir. Augusta Palmer, US, 2009, video, 75 mins

Wednesday, May 5 at 7pm

Director Augusta Palmer in person


The Hand of Fatima is a double portrait of a rock critic and his favorite band. Robert Palmer (1945 – 1997) was America’s pre-eminent music writer, best known for his book Deep Blues and his work for The New York Times. Morocco’s the Master Musicians of Jajouka play music older than history, and jammed with Ornette Coleman and Sonic Youth. Using Palmer’s writing about the band as her guide, his daughter Augusta set out for Morocco in 2005 hoping to find out what happened when her father first met the Master Musicians of Jajouka on assignment for Rolling Stone in 1971.

The film intercuts verite footage of the filmmaker’s journey with animations of Palmer’s experiences deep_blues_f.jpgin the 1970s, allowing the filmmaker (and the audience) to glean the truth between the lines of his mystical journey and to understand the all-consuming need for musical transcendence. That need was more than met by the Master Musicians, who were introduced to expatriate Tangiers society by the artist Brion Gysin in the 1950s, and then popularized by Rolling Stone Brian Jones, who recorded an album in their village. Encounters with Yoko Ono, Donovan, Anthony DeCurtis, and the elder Palmer’s four wives round out a journey that culminates with the Master Musicians’ indelible performance in their remote Moroccan village. MORE

SIMON & SHUSTER: Palmer’s extraordinary knowledge and boundless love of music were evident in all his writing. He was an authority on rock & roll, blues, jazz, punk, avant-garde, and world music — often discovering new artists and trends years (even decades) before they hit the mainstream. Now, noted music writer Anthony DeCurtis has compiled the best pieces from Palmer’s oeuvre and presents them here, in one compelling volume. A member of the elite group of the defining rock critics who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, Palmer possessed a vision so complete that, as DeCurtis writes, “it’s almost as if, if you read Bob, you didn’t need to read anyone else.” Blues & Chaos features some of his most memorable pieces, including gripping stories about John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Moroccan trance music, Miles Davis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Philip Glass, and Muddy Waters. Wonderfully entertaining, infused with passion, and deeply inspiring, Blues & Chaos is a must for music fans everywhere. MORE

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