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Taken from Vue Weekly (Mar 23, 2006)

Franti takes a walk on the wild side



Michael FrantiA couple of years ago, outspoken musician Michael Franti embarked on an Iraqi mission of his own making. To some, it seemed suicidal to head off to the Middle East a year after the US invasion of Iraq, as he and a small crew did.

It was a trip that he spoke widely about when he was in Edmonton for the 2004 Folk Festival, and it was a trip that seemed to inspire awe from every journalist who spoke with him.

It was also a trip that inspired him to direct a documentary, write a book and, of course, record an album, all entitled I Know I’m Not Alone, and all detailing his journey, the people he met and the things he learned.

Although the none of the incarnations of I Know I’m Not Alone will be commercially available until June, Franti will be screening the documentary on Wed, Mar 29 at the U of A, as well as strumming a few songs.

While the story of his trip to Iraq, Palestine and Israel is nothing new to Franti’s fans, the documentary fills in the blanks and shows things that he could never express with words.

As he winds his way through the streets of Baghdad with a guitar slung over his shoulder, he asks all the difficult questions of both Iraqis and US soldiers that we would love to have answered.

And in Israel and Palestine, in an area where occupation mentality has become entrenched after several generations, he searches for the heart of the possibility of peace.

As much as some people point out all of the things that make us different from one another, it’s how similar we people are that is really striking. There’s one scene in the documentary where Franti joins a band of Israeli and Palestinian musicians for a jam session, and with the folky guitar and the beat of a hand drum, you can almost smell the Nag Champa burning—you could be in Nelson, BC.

But the doc is more than a hippy-fest love in. It’s a riveting chance to walk through a world that many of us have never experienced first-hand, from which you inevitably emerge, like Franti, changed. V

Wed, Mar 29 (7PM)
I Know I’m Not Alone
Directed by Michael Franti
Myer Horowitz Theatre, $22.50


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