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by Cynthia Fuchs

11 May 2012


In 2003, Dr. Qudrat Mojadidi went back to Afghanistan, again. This time, he was accompanied by his daughter Sedika Mojadidi, and her film crew. The doctor, who has a thriving OB/GYN practice in Virginia, had for 20 years been working along the Afghan border, helping those women he could survive childbirth, disease, and injury. Now, following the invasion and the temporary defeat of the Taliban, the US guaranteed support, asking the doctor to rehabilitate the Rabia Balkhi hospital, and most earnestly, wanting to “make a difference inside the country.” In her documentary, Motherland Afghanistan, premiering on Global Voices 13 May, Sedika Mojadidi narrates their journey with a mix of concern, confidence, and wonder. The camera looks out from their car window as they drive in, observing male street vendors, soldiers in uniform, women in burqas, children as the car slows in traffic. Repeatedly, Dr. Mojadid and his team confront impossible odds, from lack of funding to distrustful communities to fearful wives and daughters. Focused through the doctor’s witty, measured perspective, the documentary makes clear the successes and the hardships of his remarkable efforts (the death of a premature baby, its tiny corpse tended to on screen, would likely have been avoided had the proper resources been available). Telling a story that is at once intensely personal and acutely political, Motherland Afghanistan offers a trenchant critique of US policy. While, as the film shows and Dr. Mojadidi says, Afghans can do take care of themselves, some small sincere, well-considered, and organized help would go a long way.

See PopMattersreview.

Watch Struggling to Save Mothers in Afghanistan on PBS.  See more from pbs.

by Sarah Zupko

11 May 2012


Photo: Syndey Byrd

Dr. Michael White is a something of a professional historian when it comes to jazz. With perfect clarity and tune in his clarinet playing, he resurrects and revitalizes the traditional sounds of New Orleans jazz that first arose in the early part of the 20th century. That’s not to say he treats music as a museum piece though. Keeping the past alive, while collaborating on recordings with the likes of Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis and Marianne Faithfull keeps White’s music fresh and alive.  White’s sixth album, Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 2, releases on 19 June via the NOLA-based Basing Street Records and features intriguing covers of some rock and country classics, including this take on Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” made famous by Janis Joplin.

by PopMatters Staff

11 May 2012


PopMatters’ Matt James raved about Grimes’ latest release Visions back in February saying “she may have the name of a hobo and the look of a streetpunk, but Grimes sounds like a dream.” Now Grimes has released her latest video for the haunting tune “Nightmusic”. James said of this song, “the Tron gridlines of ‘Nightmusic’ are similarly captivating. Bookended by flourishes of operatic melodrama and string quartets it channels much of the ethereal beauty of Crystal Castles’ II. Blooms and flourishes of strange, twisted melody burst ‘n’ fall like confetti and fireworks. Wowzer.”

by PopMatters Staff

11 May 2012


In anticipation for the release of Strangeland (out now on Cherrytree/Interscope Records), Keane premiered a second video trailer providing fans with a behind the scenes look at their new album. Take a look.

by Cynthia Fuchs

10 May 2012


“It’s not good to do nothing. You should always be busy.” And so Yama is. A Tibetan nomad, she’s spending yet another summer in Dzachukha, Sichuan Province, China. Here she and her husband, Locho, as well as her two sisters and their husbands, keep their herds of yaks and horses fed on fresh grass, until the season changes and they head to less forbidding land for winter. Yama doesn’t need to seek work, as she reveals throughout the remarkable documentary, Summer Pasture—made by Lynn True, Nelson Walker, and Tsering Perlo, and premiering on PBS’ Independent Lens on 10 May. The film provides views of their lives together and in separate interviews too, revealing differing perspectives on their pasts and future, and the lives of their young children. If the couple share difficult daily labors, their emotional lives are premised on ever tentative compromise or, sometimes, painful silence. Even as Locho looks forward to changes—in technologies and access to education—Yama is less convinced of their positive effects. “I think it will be the same as now,” she says as the camera watches her make her way across a snowy landscape, toting the yak dung that will serve as fuel. “Every day is the same. There’s no time to hold your hands in your lap.”

See PopMattersreview.

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