From A Whisper to A Scream is a visual representation of the history of Irish music from the Showband era of the 1950's, to the Corrs of today. Broken into three hour-long episodes, this documentary provides the most exhaustive commentary on the Irish music scene to date.
Episode One In the 1950's the face of Irish music was a vaudevillian form of entertainment called the "Showband". Essentially, they were a group of talented musicians that primarily covered the works of successful British and American musical acts in their performances. On the merits, it sounds all right however, the meat of the matter shows that given the sociopolitical religious stressors of the period, this musical form was born out of an appreciation for all things foreign but a lack of appreciation for the richness of the Irish culture. Essentially, the music of this time said that there was greatness to be found everywhere but in Ireland. Initially, the "Showbands" were booming business however, as Irish people began to take a little stock in their intrinsic value, these bands no longer received the applause they had for so long been beneficiaries. Now they were reviled and in many cases hated. The first real band to come out of the angst of Irish poverty and anguish came in the way of "Taste". Fronted by Rory Gallagher, Taste cleaned up in the way of audience appreciation and the respect by other artists of the same caliber. Taste's brand of aggressive semi-political music gave way to other more successful acts like "Skid Row" and the world famous "Van Morrison" and "Thin Lizzy" led by guitarist, Phillip Lyntt. This music exploded from the 50's and landed squarely in the 60's and 70's with a zeal that would continue to evolve and grow even til' today. With Bob Geldof and the Boontown Rats a, heretofore unheard of wave of Irish confidence found it's way into this music and it was essentially, the birth of Irish Rock-N-Roll.
Episode Two The 1970's and 1980's was the introduction of the punk movement in Ireland. No longer entertaining, the feel of the songs took on a dangerous and violent tone that had never been heard before. The artists showcased in this segment were the Pogues and Radiators from Space. The Blades were an Irish band during this time that had an incredibly brilliant message and presentation however; they were not given near enough the chance to make their mark made on the Irish music scene. Geldof and his band the Boontown Rats began to make history in that for the first time, A&R reps. were looking at the Dublin music scene with interest. Single-handedly, The BTR opened up the Dublin music scene to the world and In their steps came, Clanaad and Enya, and ultimately the sound of Irish music today. At the conclusion of the segment, a touching tribute to Thin Lizzy Front man, Phillip Lynot.
Episode Three Episode three deals primarily with the watershed of popularity in Irish groups such as Sinead O'Connor, U2, the Pogues, Cranberries, Corrs and the Afro-Celt Sound System. This latest face of Irish music is even more alive and relative than al those that came before it. A musical revolution took place in Ireland that spanned three decades. While it may have appeared to be solely music, it was music with a message of empowerment and awareness. The musicians at the forefront of the Irish music scene in the 90's and 2000 are carrying high the same banner of integrity and a refusal to be silenced. Irish music has found it's voice and it's only scratched the surface of the awesome musical power it wields.
The audio is presented in a very full DD2.0 channel platform. Split between dialogue and music, the audio was always clean and easily understood and the surround (Front/Back) kept the music and dialogue in the whole of the listening space at all times. For a DD2.0 presentation, it was extremely well done and performed very well. The video is a widescreen presentation that uses pristine newly developed/produced elements interspersed with older marred and error riddled material. The new interview segments were shot on video and did not bear any detectable transfer errors and the older segments had ever error you can think of. The end result is an archival feel that lends just the right amount of historical perspective/relevance to the documentary.
The extras consist of fifteen minutes of interviews from the primary contributors to the documentary (Bono, Bob Geldof, The Edge, Niall Stokes, Van Morrison and others.) The topics covered are, their earliest musical memories and their insights on traditional Irish music. Essentially, the same material that was covered in the body of the documentary.
This is an incredible documentary on the Irish music scene that covers every aspect regarding the history of Irish music. The information is well-presented and kept my interest from start to finish. Great information and tremendously detailed and interesting. Highly Recommended