Questlove breaks down the process of directing his celebrated doc 'Summer of Soul' : World Cafe : World Cafe Words and Music Podcast Extensive footage and recordings from the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969 were packed away in a basement for decades. And then, Questlove was approached to make all of it into a documentary.

Questlove breaks down the process of directing his celebrated doc 'Summer of Soul'

Questlove on World Cafe

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Daniel Dorsa/Courtesy of the artist

Questlove

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Set List

  • Sly & The Family Stone, "Everyday People"
  • The Operation Breadbasket Orchestra & Choir, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand"
  • B.B. King, "Why I Sing the Blues"
  • Nina Simone, "Are You Ready"

Until about a year ago, if you mentioned the cultural impact of the Harlem Cultural Festival, most people wouldn't know what you were talking about. Taking place over several weekends in the summer of 1969, and featuring artists like Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and B.B. King, the Harlem Cultural Festival was vastly overshadowed in the media by Woodstock. Extensive footage and recordings from it sat packed away in a basement for decades, so the event survived mostly in the memories of the people who were there. And then, Questlove was approached to make that footage into a documentary.

That award-winning film, called Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), was Questlove's directorial debut. And recently — naturally — he released the soundtrack to go along with it. Questlove joins World Cafe for a conversation about the documentary, its soundtrack, and what he learned putting it all together. But first we kick things off with a selection from that soundtrack, recorded live at the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969, Sly & the Family Stone performing "Everyday People."

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