SXSW Film: “A Tuba to Cuba”
A Tuba Takes a Starring Role at
SXSW Film Festival
by Anne Bruno
Any movie that has you tapping your toes at the beginning, then dancing behind a brass band down the theater aisle and out onto Congress Avenue by the end is something special.
According to SXSW Film Festival Director, Janet Pierson, programming films about music can be tricky. But, she noted at Wednesday’s Paramount Theatre screening of “A Tuba to Cuba,” “This is one we knew right away that everyone would love.”
The documentary tells the story of New Orleans’ legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band and its recent sojourn to Cuba. Narrated by bandleader Ben Jaffe and including archival footage of his father, Preservation Hall founder Allan Jaffe, we experience the trip through the eyes of the band. Along the way and in varying Cuban cities and neighborhoods, we witness each band member’s personal
response to the African roots that connect not only the music, but also the souls of the musicians, separated only by language and miles.
The film is as much about heritage, faith, and building bridges across racial and cultural divides, past and present, as it is the universal language of music. Meeting the Cuban musicians and seeing the role music plays in their lives provides ample inspiration to the audience just as it does to the famed New Orleans band: the sense of mutual respect is palpable and feels like a welcome breath of fresh air.
A joyful road trip with colorful characters and settings, this is a journey you’ll definitely want to take, keeping the music playing the whole way.
Read more from the Music + Film Issue | March 2018