When recalling Link Wray’s shivering guitar classic, “Rumble,” Martin Scorsese marvels, “It is the sound of that guitar . . . the aggression.” Wray was the first to deploy thumping power chords and hone distortion, carving out a new guitar sound that influenced rock and roll forever. But as a Native American, Wray’s music was a threat—and it was treated as such.
Blues pioneer Charlie Patton, cherished jazz singer Mildred Bailey, and metaphysical wizard Jimi Hendrix are among the many music greats who have Native American heritage and have created their distinctive music amid the attempted cleansing of indigenous culture from the country. Their music was not even meant to exist.
Using playful re-creations and little-known stories, alongside concert footage, audio archives, and interviews with living legends, this deeply insightful film cements how some of our most treasured artists and songs found their inspiration in ancient, native melodies and harmonies that were infused with a desire to resist. You’ll never listen to your favorite rock and roll classics the same way again.