'The Sound of Us' looks at how music is the universal language that unites us all - Albuquerque Journal

‘The Sound of Us’ looks at how music is the universal language that unites us all

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is seen in the documentary, “The Sound of Us.” (Courtesy of Chris Gero)

Chris Gero knows that the impact of music is immeasurable.

This is why he decided to helm the documentary, “The Sound of Us.”

“The film has been on the festival circuit for almost a year,” Gero says. “It was made in the middle of the pandemic and seems to resonate with the audiences.”

“The Sound of Us” will screen as part of Albuquerque Film and Music Experience at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Rodey Theatre on the University of New Mexico campus. The event is free and registration is at afmxnm.com. Gero will participate in a Q&A after the screening.

Gero directed the film and is also the founder of Yamaha Entertainment Group.

Gero says the film illustrates that during this critical time in world and U.S. history, music gives sound to hope and courage, allows us to grieve and be honest, and is the great, universal language that unites us all.

The film weaves inspiring stories about the beauty and goodness of music with interviews and performances by artists such as Ben Folds, Sarah McLachlan, Avery*Sunshine, Eric Whitacre, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Hiromi, Antonio Sanchez, Butch Walker, Will Wells, Patti Smith, Sekou Andrews and many more.

Music Heals Us is one of the programs featured in the documentary, “The Sound of Us.” (Courtesy of Chris Gero)

Gero says the powerful vignettes illustrate how music heals us, gives us hope for the future through our children, keeps our heritage and history alive, allows us to have the most difficult of conversations, sheds light on current struggles, and continues to invite us back to the thing that unites us all – music.

“With a deep subject matter, I realize is over the process, I’ve been able to come to terms that I am witness to the ever changing tide of our ability to be good to each other and to be honest with each other,” Gero says. “It is our responsibility to be all of those. We live in a time and era where there ideas are driven by social media. There’s division, unrest, fear and hate. I just believe that we are better than that. We have a responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it. Music is the commonality.”

Gero says the editing process took some time.

“We started with about 800 hours of interviews and about 30 storylines,” he says. “We had to whittle that down to make it a digestible amount of time. It’s very unheard of a documentary to be over 90 minutes long and it runs at almost 120 minutes. It was difficult to shave it down further and to be honest, I’m still working on it.”

Gero will be participating in a talk after the screening and is looking forward to returning to New Mexico.

“We were in Santa Fe for another festival about five months ago,” he says. “It’s quite a beautiful place.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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