Let's choose some music for a film project!
January 10, 2013 3:38 PM   Subscribe

So I'm working on this documentary film about the "Arab Spring" (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's the massive wave of revolutions that have been taking place in the Middle East region over the past 2 years). My emphasis is on the Syrian crisis. The film contains scenes of interviews with political/religious figures, demonstration/riot montages, news footage, .. So, at this point I am choosing the music for my project. So far I'm liking the Nine Inch Nails "Ghosts" album for some of the scenes. I also listen to a lot of classical music and I'm a fan of Rachmaninoff and Beethoven (I'm thinking I could use some for the more dramatic scenes like the massacre/war crimes montages). Any suggestions/alternative music choices?
posted by omar.a to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you considered using any middle eastern music? Maybe any of the protest music that was created during the Arab Spring? Might have a bit more impact and authenticity than classical music or NIN.
posted by erst at 4:27 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'd suggest figuring out what it is that you like about the music, and investigate finding similar music that fills those shoes but which comes from bands, musicians, or performers from the country in question. Bear in mind that it's a highly charged topic, so if this is going to be distributed or public, you'd want to know something about the bands in question, so you avoid any political faux pas (such as if the group would object to their music being used in your context). And related to that of course, is also respecting copyright as appropriate.

Are there any groups that performed as part of the politics? Check those out first. Maybe their work isn't something that would connect with the audience for your doco, but... maybe it is. Find out :)
posted by anonymisc at 4:29 PM on January 10, 2013

Getting the rights to use NIN stuff especially is going to be pretty impossible unless you have a really amazing producer/development house/etc.

I second trying to find the qualities you like from NIN in some bands from Syria and who might be more willing to let you use their material.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:31 PM on January 10, 2013

I think a critical part in determining your music selection will be the audience.

Who is your audience? What are the audience's demographics? What method will you use in order to release the documentary film?

Answering these types of questions will help you determine which type of music to play.
posted by livinglearning at 4:35 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hey guys, thank you for your answers.
- I can already get the permission for using the NIN Ghosts album.
- As far as using authentic riot music, there are already a lot of chants and songs that I've included, but I still need a soundtrack.
- I intend to upload the film on youtube and vimeo.
- My demographic includes, but is not restricted to, people in the "West" who know very little about what's going on.
posted by omar.a at 4:43 PM on January 10, 2013

I'm a fan of Irish punk like the Dropkick Murphys and political songs by Joe Strummer, Woody Guthrie, and Billy Bragg. I'm not sure they fit the area, but they have as much context as Nine Inch Nails.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:24 PM on January 10, 2013

You may want to refine the demographic further....I don't think I know anyone who doesn't know of the Arab spring, for example (which incidentally is not the preferred term, apparently, because it implies temporary change a la the Prague Spring). There are probably people who are your demographic but...are they nine inch nail fans? Maybe they don't need to be, and maybe they are. But I would consider thinking a little further. Perhaps you could review the choices in the Kony campaign? Sounds a bit like what you are after? Except that the Arab Spring has received considerably more publicity than the figures in that clip had.
posted by jojobobo at 6:25 PM on January 10, 2013

If you can, find a recording of the songs of Ibrahim Qahoush, who had his vocal cords ripped out in punishment for his poetry and is now known as the "nightingale of the revolution".
posted by sarastro at 9:20 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Omar Suleyman

Leh Jani (first search result)

He is from Northern Syria, and his music is licensed by Sublime Frequencies, so you'll have an English-speaking business contact to deal with for licensing.
posted by omnidrew at 7:05 AM on January 11, 2013

Thank you for your replies, I'll be sure to check those out.
posted by omar.a at 1:14 PM on January 12, 2013

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