Harlem Street Singer: The Reverend Gary Davis Story tells the story of Gary Davis, one of the most underrated musicians of our time. Though Davis has had a huge influence on many well-known musicians, including Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane, David Bromberg, Bob Dylan, Woody Mann, Dave Van Ronk, and Townes van Zandt, his story has gone virtually unknown until now.
Davis, who became blind as an infant, was born in South Carolina and worked his way up to Harlem in New York City where he was ordained as a Baptist minister and began preaching and playing on street corners. He was a master guitar player with a unique finger picking style and was a blues, ragtime and gospel music virtuoso. His guitar playing was complemented by a soulful voice that defined feeling.
The first official screening of the documentary was back in January 2013 in Boston, MA, but now screenings have been added in New York, NY; St. Louis, MO; Anchorage, AK; and the UK, for November and December as part of several film festivals – info for those is here below.
Harlem Street Singer is co-produced by guitar extraordinaire Woody Mann, who was a student of the late Davis. The film includes audio recordings from Woody Mannâ€™s guitar lessons with Davis, as well as interviews, archival footage, rediscovered photographs, and concert and informal musical sequences by Davis and contemporary artists who have been influenced by him.
Having seen an earlier draft of the film, I feel that Harlem Street Singer will appeal not only to music lovers of all kinds, but to anyone who can appreciate a uniquely American story with a rare glimpse into the life of a unique and talented man.
— NYC, NY â€“ DOC NYC Film Festival â€“ November 17 (sold out) and November 21
— Leeds, U.K. â€“ Leeds International Film Festival â€“ November 20
— St. Louis, MO â€“ St. Louis International Film Festival, November 24
— Anchorage, AK – Anchorage International Film Festival, December 8 and December 14
Film website: www.harlemstreetsinger.com
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Anchorage International Film Festival
DOC NYC Film Festival
Leeds International Film Festival
St. Louis International Film Festival