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Ginger Baker: In Africa (2006)

 NR |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Ginger Baker: In Africa + Beware of Mr. Baker + Ginger Baker: Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer
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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Ent
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 53 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H7JCC8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,101 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In November 1971, Ginger Baker, the legendary drummer of Cream and Blind Faith, decided to set up a recording studio in Lagos, then the capital of Nigeria. Baker was one of the first rock musicians to realize the potential of African music. He also decided that it would be a rewarding musical experience to travel to Nigeria over land across the Sahara desert – a journey that would lead him into a number of adventures. This film by Tony Palmer follows Ginger Baker’s odyssey as he makes his journey and finally arrives in Nigeria to set up his studio, which would run successfully through the seventies as a facility for both local and western musicians (Paul McCartney’s Wings recorded "Band On The Run" there).

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Considering that this film documents a 1971 event, it's amazing that it took so long for "Ginger Baker In Africa" to be released to the public. In the early 1970's, Ginger Baker was one of the first westerners to appreciate West Africa as the rhythmic capitol of the world. This film documents Ginger Baker's road trip from Algeria to Nigeria. To the percussionist, this is a holy pilgrimage of rhythm. Baker's tribulations in the desert are well documented. Animation makes up for the lack of film. Baker's expressive stoner poetry narrates the drive across the Sahara Desert. Once the Land Rover drives into Nigeria, the music begins. Most of Ginger Baker's playing consists of avant-garde Afrobeat. In other words, Ginger Baker plays free form improvisational jams with musicians well versed in the Afrobeat school of music. The real gem in this consists of watching none other than Fela himself playing live with his group. We actually get to witness Fela's legendary group play during their glorious heyday! If you adore vintage African music as much as this reviewer, the Fela scenes pay for the price of admission ten fold. Traditional African drumming is also well represented. At one point Ginger Baker describes the dynamics of the talking drum. While this DVD has much going for it, there are drawbacks. For starters, the audio is mediocre. Ginger Baker's narrations are awful in terms of the audio quality. With this movie, asking for 5.1 surround sound would be absurd. The original video work is decent and Tony Palmer's editing is good. This is one of those films that you will either love or hate. If you approach this as a Cream fan, you'll hate it. If you grew up with the "Fela-Ransome-Kuti and the Africa 70 with Ginger Baker" CD, you'll love seeing a video version. This experience will better appeal to the Afrofiles and ethnomusicologists long before it resonates with those from the Classic Rock camp. While dated, "Ginger Baker In Africa" has irresistible charm.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is great.... November 24, 2006
I almost didn't buy this DVD because of the horrible reviews it received. However, I did buy it, and am glad I did. It's very interesting- Ginger narrates the entire thing. There is some really cool footage of them driving across the desert, and some even better footage of him playing with some local groups. Basically, this is an edited home movie of his adventure. If you are looking for a professional "movie", this is not it. However, if you're looking for a cool piece of music history, then by all means buy it. Overall, I was very very happy with this purchase. If you're not a huge Baker fan, you might not like it. I love anything with Ginger though, so it was definately worth 4 stars.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Anyone for tennis?" June 29, 2008
A friend of mine bought this DVD on a whim and told me it was great. I looked it up online, saw that the average rating on Amazon was 3 stars, so I didn't know quite what to expect. When I finally saw the film, I was blown away.

The basis of the film is Ginger's seemingly stoned safari across the African continent. Ginger was probably one of the first rock musicians to realize the greatness of African music. Along the way, he plays with an assortment of African musicians. For anybody interested in African music or world music in general, this DVD is a treasure. Not only is the music brilliant, but the DVD also provides a fascinating look into Africa at the beginning of the 70's. The shots of the African cities and music clubs make the music come alive. This DVD is valuable both musically and anthropologically.

The music is undoubtedly the best part of the DVD, but the parts that showcase Ginger's travels are pretty interesting. Ginger narrates the movie through what sounds like a Leslie speaker, giving his voice a very psychedelic tone. One scene features a hilarious piece of narration- "Anyone for tennis?" You'll have to watch the movie yourself to see how it fits in.

The footage of Fela Kuti is truly amazing. I own the "Music is the Weapon" DVD, but it doesn't feature any footage as early as this. At this point, Fela was not an international star. However, his music was as good as ever. During his performance, it is pouring down rain. The band is laying down a monster groove. Fela's dancers (probably a few of his wives) are on fire. I'm sure a few people in attendance probably went into trances of ecstasy. It really is that good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wild adventure March 7, 2011
The back of the DVD has an excellent description of how three men are lucky to be alive after driving through the desert. At first I was disappointed that there was not more footage of afro beat artists. However, this was 1971 and with the resources they had to make this film, I do not have a right to complain. The footage is fantastic. Ginger Baker shows his versatility with his ability to cross over from jazz, rock, blues, to afro beat. This is not for everyone but truly remarkable for its time. The jam sessions are incredible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome stuff!!! Great DVD!!! February 6, 2009
What a find!!! I found this great DVD really awesome,being a drummer myself helps!!! Sure the source material is on the rough side,but that just adds to the charm!!! He is the narrator to,it sounded a lot like Pressed Rat And Warthog,when he did the narration,a lot of it in rhyme!!! The drumming is the main part of the film,and the jams with African musicians is awesome,it's also unusual for Ginger to use a single bass drum setup,but you can hardy tell though,he's that good,it's also a history lesson,since some of the places wernt the most friendy,he and his friend were arrested,an later released,some of the 53 minute film even had cartoons,yes Ginger Baker animated!!! A true classic document of Ginger's visit to Africa,if you're looking for Cream stuff,look elsewhere!!! If you're a Peter "Ginger" Baker fan,it's awesome,drummers are also sure to like it!!!
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