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A Singing Stream
The story of a remarkable African American family from the rural South. With interviews and stories, and scenes from daily life, reunions, gospel concerts, and church services, the film traces the history of the Landis family of Granville County, North Carolina, over the lifetime of its oldest surviving member, 86-year-old Mrs. Bertha M. Landis. Particularly featured are performances by her sons gospel quartet The Golden Echoes of such songs as "Troubles of the World," "Going Up to Meet Him," and "The Old Rugged Cross," and family and church performances of "Mighty Close to Heaven," "Come and Let's Go to that Land," and "There's Union up in Heaven."
Directed by Tom Davenport and produced by Davenport Films and the Curriculum in Folklore at UNC, Chapel Hill with Daniel Patterson and Allen Tullos.
(57 minutes, color)
"There is so much song, laughter, love and genial warmth in "A Singing Stream: A Black Family Chronicle" that your TV set could very easily overheat...Director Tom Davenport has managed to capture the Landises -- at a family reunion, performing gospel concerts, going about the business of their daily lives -- without intruding or making them self-conscious. That allows him to reflect not only on the strength of this particular family, but to use it as a micocosm reflecting the slow process of social and cultural change in this region...
[The Landis's singing]...is always joyful, rich and nourishing, and it's not hard to see how positive values have flowed through four generations and, one suspects, more to come."
"A wonderfully conceived, heart-warming and compelling documentary."
For information on the Landis family, this musical tradition, and the making of the film, see: