Top Documentaries That Surround Folk Music

Most other genres and forms of music – pop, rock, country, techno, etc., pervaded the public sphere for decades. This music’s popularity led to a significant number of following throughout the years with the great artists under each genre fondly known and remembered for their timeless hits.

Although not as popular or widely known as other musical genres, folk music is being repopularized with the aid of the millennial generation. This young generation, along with other long-time fans of the genre, would be thrilled to experience the history and significance of folk music through this list of documentaries. They bear the story of American folk music, its role in the civil rights movement up to the new independent folk artists that are making it in the grassroots level.

1. FOLK: A film by Sara Terry

The film documentary follows the birth of folk music way back from the founding of America up to the present. It disproves the common belief that folk music originated in America only in the 1960s. The film also highlights the development of folk music to the present as the life and time of current folksingers and the yearly gatherings of the Folk Alliance.

2. A Soundtrack for a Revolution

This film documentary features American folk music side-by-side the Civil Rights movement. Majority of African-American folk music such as timeless folk songs, hymns, and protest songs was appropriated to reflect the injustice and discrimination felt by the people. Although the proponents of the movement experienced hardship and difficult challenges, they continued rallying for freedom through the help of their folk songs.

3. Bob Dylan: No Direction Home

Famous American singer and performing artist Bob Dylan started his musical career as a folk singer. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film is set in the 1960s where it features Bob Dylan’s humble beginnings and eventual climb into superstar status. The film is praised as one of the most honest and authentic portrayals of the life of Bob Dylan. It features interviews with some of the key persons in his life, such as Dave Van Ronk, Allen Ginsburg, and Joan Baez.

4. Be Here to Love Me

Many folksingers and artists at present would definitely have to include the name of Townes Van Zandt as one of their leading influences. Van Zandt was a talented and gifted performer who created music in the genre from the obscure folk style of it to the more common mainstream country. Fans of Van Zandt would enjoy this documentary for its realistic details which focuses both on the highs and lows of this country musician.

5. Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound

Renowned for her identifying roles as a passionate activist for social justice and peace, this documentary truly highlights the awe-inspiring courage and experiences of folk musician, Joan Baez. The film brings into focus how Baez’ folk music, filled with themes of empathy and understanding one another, is developed and fueled by her commitment to making the world a better place for all.

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