Paul Simon ‘Graceland’ documentary to premiere at Sundance

Under African Skies follows the story of Paul Simon's ludicrously successful 1986 album.


Words by: Charlie Jones

Under African Skies, a new documentary about the making of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22nd.

Documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, the West Memphis Three/Paradise Lost trilogy) travelled with Paul Simon to South Africa to revisit the places and people Simon worked with on the 1986 album, which fused both American and African musical styles.

The film features footage from a Graceland reunion concert, which brought together all the musicians involved in the making of the album, as well as footage from interviews with anti-apartheid campaigners and muscians including Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney, David Byrne and Peter Gabriel.

Simon’s decision to work in South African with South African musicians was controversial at a time when the country was under UN cultural boycott, although the album was made in large part by talented black South African musicians and did not support the government.

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