When an African dictator jails her husband, Shandurai goes into exile in Italy, studying medicine and keeping house for Mr. Kinsky, an eccentric English pianist and composer. She lives in one room of his Roman palazzo. He besieges her with flowers, gifts, and music, declaring passionately that he loves her, would go to Africa with her, would do anything for her. "What do you know of Africa?," she asks, then, in anguish, shouts, "Get my husband out of jail!" The rest of the film plays out the implications of this scene and leaves Shandurai with a choice.
Drawing on over 30 years of experience playing the country-blues, complete with tutorials from some of the undisputed masters, it comes as no surprise that Stefan Grossman can so consistently conjure up the authentic spirit of the music with each successive release. His original compositions show Grossman to be the most confident of guitarists in his genre, effortlessly borrowing from the stylings of Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, and Blind Willie McTell among various others. While his playing isn't overly flashy, it need not be. The precision and craftsmanship injected into the fluid, rolling original "Yazoo Strut," the harder blues groove of "Spider Web Blues," and a powerful rendition of Reverend Gary Davis' "Candy Man" are country blues at its very best.
Nicholas McGegan has done more for the early music movement in America than nearly anyone else, and his tireless explorations of the byways of Baroque opera have put many fascinating works into the concert hall and onto recordings. He studied piano at London's Trinity College of Music and learned to play the flute while he was there, but entertained no special desire to study historical performance.