(The following was kindly provided to us by Sony Music Canada)
The 25th anniversary of Graceland, Paul Simon’s groundbreaking album that continues to influence and inspire generations, will be commemorated with musical and film celebrations stretching into the summer of 2012.
Following its Sundance Film Festival premiere, the Joe Berlinger-directed documentary “Under African Skies,” chronicling the creation and lasting influence of Graceland, will have its Canadian theatrical premiere Wednesday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Also screening at and 9:15 p.m, “Under African Skies” will close the 2011-12 season of the monthly screening series Doc Soup. The film will also have its television debut this spring on A & E.
The documentary has been garnering critical acclaim on the film festival circuit with screenings at SXSW 2012, where it received an Audience Award, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival. The film is slated for variety of screenings this spring and summer including showings at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Florida Film Festival and the RiverRun Film Festival. In May, “Under African Skies” will screen at the Seattle International Film Festival and Sundance UK as well as other festivals worldwide. The film will enjoy a limited theatrical engagement in New York and Los Angeles, beginning May 11th (check local listings for screening times).
To help commemorate the anniversary and celebrate the indelible musical legacy of Graceland, Legacy Recordings will be offering several 25th Anniversary versions of Paul Simon’s Graceland on June 5th:
Special Graceland 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Box Set – a 2 CD/2 DVD set which including the remastered original album, the “Under African Skies” documentary film extended interviews, the original 1987 “African Concert” from Zimbabwe, three original music videos and the iconic “Saturday Night Live” performance of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” The box set also features the audio narrative “The Story of ‘Graceland'” as told by Paul Simon, replicas of an original Graceland poster and a handwritten lyrics pad, plus a deluxe 80-page book featuring new and archival photos and interviews with Paul Simon.
The official Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition CD/DVD set – a two disc music and film set featuring the remastered original album with five bonus tracks and audio narrative “The Story of ‘Graceland'” as told by Paul Simon. The DVD features the “Under African Skies” film with extended interviews, three original music videos and “Saturday Night Live” performance of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.”
“Under African Skies” Blu-ray Disc – the feature documentary in state-of-the-art 5.1 sound with bonus extended interviews.
Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition Vinyl – This audiophile edition is remastered on 180-gram 12″ vinyl and includes an art-quality collectible Graceland poster and a download card with the full album plus three bonus tracks. It will be available beginning Saturday, April 21 at independent retailers worldwide participating in Record Store Day.
An ultra-deluxe Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition Box Set package – The ultimate Graceland set includes the boxed set, the 180-gram 12″ vinyl and a signed and numbered autographed commemorative poster–will be available direct-to-consumers during a limited time exclusive offer on the official Paul Simon website (www.paulsimon.com).
About Under African Skies
The story of the making of Graceland, and the controversy created when Paul Simon went to South Africa to record with local artists, is told in “Under African Skies,” the new full-length documentary from two-time Emmy, Peabody Award winner and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger (“Brother’s Keeper,” “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” the West Memphis Three/”Paradise Lost” trilogy) and firstname.lastname@example.org and A&E IndieFilms.
Featuring interviews with key anti-apartheid activists of the time and such musical legends as Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney, David Byrne and Peter Gabriel, “Under African Skies” travels with Paul Simon back to South Africa, 25 years after his first visit, and recounts the making of the record, surveying from the vantage of history the turbulence and controversy surrounding the album’s genesis. His artistic decision to collaborate with African musicians created a new world musical fusion, combining American and African musical idioms while igniting an intense political crossfire, with Paul Simon accused of breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime.
The universal appeal of the music of Graceland proved more powerful and enduring than the political hotbed attending its creation. In 1986, the album sold 14 million copies worldwide, received universal praise from critics around the globe. Simon and the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed on “Saturday Night Live” in what turned out to be a landmark moment in the show’s history.
Graceland won “Album of the Year” at the Grammy Awards in 1987. Then, in an unprecedented carryover, the album garnered the Grammy for “Song of the Year” with its title track in 1988. The album generated three hit singles–including “You Can Call Me Al” with its iconic video featuring Chevy Chase–and kept Paul Simon and the Graceland tour on the road for five years. It continues to be a major force and a source of inspiration and joy for musicians and fans alike.