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RCA only

Billy Bang Lucky Man – SoAH Film Night screening followed by Q&A

15 June 2021 | 6pm – 8pm


Join us for a screening of Billy Bang Lucky Man, a film by Markus Hansen and Jean-Marie Boulet (2010), presented by Pamela Golden.

The screening will be followed by Zoom Q&A with director Markus Hansen, composer, bandleader and educator Dr.Kahil El'Zabar and the artist Pamela Golden, who is a senior tutor in Painting at the RCA.

In March 1967 Billy Bang was conscripted to fight one year in the jungles of Vietnam, an experience that left him emotionally desolate and profoundly confused about his American identity. Upon his return he tried to forget his nightmares through alcohol, drugs and music.‍

Forty years later he decides that the only way he will be able to repair his emotions and find some closure to his trauma is to return to Vietnam, this time with his violin.‍'Billy Bang Lucky Man' documents Billy Bang’s brave return to the battlefields of his past, fraught with memories and flashbacks, in contrast to the ebullient youthful Vietnam of today, as he encounters a people and a culture that he had never known and had been taught to hate.

His journey takes him through the rich musical traditions of Vietnam, from Saigon and the Mekong Delta, north across the 17th parallel and climaxing with his collaboration with the Hanoi symphony orchestra.‍

'Billy Bang Lucky Man' is about Billy’s desire to overcome and transcend the trauma of war through music and art.

Please join the film screening at 6pm via KAST:

Q&A to follow via Zoom:

Guest Speakers

Markus Hansen was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1963. When he was nine, his family moved to Liverpool, England. After his art studies at the University of Reading, he assisted Joseph Beuys on the installation Plight. In 1986/87, he lived in Columbia, South America with the Waunana Indians pursuing his anthropological interests in the creative healing role of the Shaman.

Upon his return to England, he started exhibiting with Maureen Paley in London and internationally. He moved to Paris after a residence at the Cartier Foundation in 1992. In 2014 he moved back to London where he now lives and works.
A primary topic for Hansen is his critical thinking about German post war history and the social, political and emotional implications of the unspoken traumas passed on from generation to generation. Through the lens of his upbringing and family background, the work weaves together personal anecdote and reflections on contemporary society. Markus Hansen is interested in how information is communicated and transmitted between individuals and, in a large sense, across generations. In his new videos and photographs, Hansen is concerned with indirect, nonverbal ways in which people are indelibly connected by shared experience.

Dr. Kahil El'Zabar, internationally acclaimed percussionist, composer, and educator is considered one of the most prolific music innovators of his generation. In 2014, Dr. El’Zabar was knighted and awarded the Chevalier Medal of Honor in the Cultural Arts, by the French Government. His contributions in music, education, and community led to his being named "Chicagoan of the year" in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.

Kahil El’Zabar has won the percussionist of the year award twice from Down Beat Jazz Magazine in the late 80’s, and also from the International Jazz Journalists Association in 2002, 2003 and 2005. He won an “Outstanding Career in Music Award” from the African American Arts Alliance 2001, and also Artist of the year from the Chicago Music Awards. Dr. El’Zabar received his Ph.D. (Doctor of Fine Arts) in 2006 from Lake Forest College (Lake Forest, Illinois). In 2010, the U.S. Embassy awarded Dr.Kahil El’Zabar, the “Cultural Diplomacy Award” for his outstanding global contributions in the arts.
He has worked with a myriad of legendary artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly, Pharoah Sanders, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Nina Simone, Eddie Harris, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Archie Shepp, Nona Hendryx, Kurt Elling, Ntozake Shange, Roy Ayers, and Neneh Cherry He is also the leader of several award-winning bands. He founded the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble in 1973, the Ritual Trio in 83, Infinity Orchestra in 85, JUBA Collective in 2002, the Kahil El’Zabar Quartet in 2007, and the Ethnics feat: Nona Hendryx in 2010. He has also recorded more than 50 recordings under his name. He’s scored music for feature films, "Love Jones" (New Line), "Mo' Money" (Columbia Pictures) and "How U Like Me Now" (Universal Pictures). Disney hired El'Zabar in 1996 to do musical arrangements for the theatre version of “The Lion King”.