Talking Sticks (2016)

Not just a film bio of Arthur Lipner but a trip around the earth viewing many aspects of mallet instruments worldwide.

Talking Sticks (2016)

Cast: Arthur Lipner, Gary Burton, Mike Mainieri, Vida Chenoweth, Bernard Woma and other top percussionists
Studio: Living Arts Productions
Video: for 16:9 screens, color
Audio: English DD stereo
Length: 63 min.
Rating: ****1/2

A fascinating global percussion journey, as Lipner goes everywhere there are seemingly some sort of mallet instruments and players and builders of them.  I had no idea that the marimba/xylophone was so widespread over the earth. He visits Mexico, Ghana, Iceland, Brazil, and perhaps the most amazing are the ice mallet instruments created in Norway which melt when the sun finally comes out.

Lipner is searching for  deeper personal connections with various cultures and creativity thru his music, and is obviously nuts for mallet instruments – and I wasn’t aware there were so many of them. This is a wonderful documentary which probably would not have been possible before cheap and portable video equipment which meets film standards. It should appeal to more than just the aficionados of music. The several talks with Burton and Mainieri are especially interesting. This film should inculcate a greater appreciation of all mallet instruments in all genres of music.

—John Sunier

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