In 1974, the most celebrated American R&B acts of the time came together with the most renowned musical groups in Southern Africa for a 12-hour, three-night long concert held in Kinshasa, Zaire. The pipe dream of musician Hugh Masekela and producer Stewart Levine, this music festival became a reality when they convinced boxing promoter Don King to combine the event with “The Rumble in the Jungle”, the epic fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, previously chronicled in the Academy Award winning documentary When We Were Kings.
Soul Power is a verité documentary, entirely composed of footage shot in 1974 at the legendary music festival (dubbed “Zaire ’74″). It shows the experiences and performances of such musical luminaries as James Brown, BB King, Bill Withers, Celia Cruz, Miriam Makeba, among a host of others. At the peak of their talents and the height of their careers, these artists were inspired by this return to their African roots, as well as the enthusiasm of the Zairian audience, to give the performances of their lives. The concert has achieved mythological significance as the definitive Africa(n)-American musical event of the 20th Century.
Soul Power has been crafted from the extensive footage which remained after the making of When We Were Kings, which famously documented the epic title fight, but only briefly touched upon the Zaire ’74 music festival. This footage has remained vaulted for the past 35 years, unused, unseen, until now.
An unbridled musical journey for the ages.