1 of 2
2 of 2
Great White Northern Stripes, Islamic Punk, Neil Young's Trunk – the Available Light Film Fest is running several music documentaries - spotlighting icons such as Neil Young, Thelonius Monk, and the White Stripes, who made a film of the northern part of their Canadian tour that included both a free outdoor show and a concert at the Yukon Arts Centre, where hundreds watched the Whitehorse premiere of The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights. The experience felt like looking in a mirror, to see the same stage, and much of the same audience, both on screen and surrounding me. I almost expected screamin' Jack White to jump out of the screen and onto the stage.
Even more unique among the music docs was Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam.
Taqwa = god consciousness, core – as in hard core, and the fictional music genre was seeded by Michael Muhammad Knight in his novel The Taqwacores. Knight, who converted to Islam as a teen, questioned its limitations as a young man and wrestled to resolve his conflicts when he returned to Pakistan with one of the punk bands he’s indirectly spawned.
Director Omar Majeed embedded himself first on a bus reminiscent of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, but in this case, commandeered by Muslim punk-rockers, and then on a tour of Pakistan with the same band.
Tumultuous as its subject matter, Taqwacore's soundtrack also seemed to win over the crowd, who kept director Majeed fielding questions about activism, zealotism, punk ethics and “where can we get the soundtrack?”