This Ain't No Mouse Music!

“A moving portrait of a man who constructed a new de facto family and life for himself from the music and musicians he kept falling in love with.” — Elise Nakhnikian, slantmagazine.com

Year: 2013
Country: USA
Running time: 92 mins

Producers: Chris Simon, Maureen Gosling
Photography: Chris Simon
Editor: Maureen Gosling
Sound: David Silberberg
Blu-ray

With: Chris Strachwitz, Treme Brass Band, Davia Nelson, Richard Thompson, Billy Roy Morales, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Archie Green, Lionel Batiste Sr, Michael Doucet, Jerry Brock, Henry Youngblood, Savoy Family Band, Clifton Chenier

Festivals: SXSW 2013

Since 1960 Chris Strachwitz has been the guiding force behind legendary roots music label Arhoolie Records. Born a German count, Strachwitz fled to America after World War II at 16. His passion for ‘authentic’ American music led him to track down musicians in barrooms, backyards and dance halls – and record them. Blues, Cajun, wild hillbilly country, Tex-Mex and New Orleans R&B: it’s an astounding catalogue and, as this film makes joyously clear, he’s still finding plenty that gets him jumpin’. Filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling were long-time collaborators with the late Les Blank, whose films with Strachwitz feature here. They follow their man from New Orleans to Appalachia, encountering Ry Cooder, Clifton Chenier, Michael Doucet, Flaco Jiménez and a host of other musicians you will want to hear again.

“In This Ain't No Mouse Music!, their vivid portrait of an obsessive sonic sleuth, filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling take a hip-shaking stroll from New Orleans to Appalachia and right into the very DNA of rock’n’roll. In this beautifully shot film, we come face to face with the creators of indigenous music, from the great Clifton Chenier to fiddler Michael Doucet, from Flaco Jimenez to the Pine Leaf Boys, playing songs that are endemic to their place and circumstance, to dialect and class, to climate and landscape.

Their music is now highly endangered by the merciless steamroller of pop culture, assimilation and commercialism, which makes Strachwitz's desperate pursuit to track down every last artist all the more urgent. But these songs aren’t meant to be locked away in a Smithsonian vault to be decoded by folklorists and musical anthropologists.This film is a living cultural history with a soundtrack that bites and kicks and screams. Even 50 years later, Arhoolie’s records remain alive, unruly and still so sharp that some songs can cut you right down to the soul.” — Jeffrey St. Clair