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River City Drumbeat

Now available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport

“River City Drumbeat” is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies, told ...

Credit: By Juan Castañeda. Credit: Juan Castañeda/Owsley Brown Presents

Above: “River City Drumbeat” is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies, told by the members of a Black youth drum corps in Louisville, Ky. During the year-long changing of the guard, young drummers Imani Keith (center), Jailen Leavell, and Emily Carey navigate the cadences of adolescence even as systemic forces threaten to undermine their dreams.

The critically-acclaimed, audience favorite “River City Drumbeat” is an immersive story of music, love, and legacies set in the American South.

For three decades, the dynamic Ed “Nardie” White offered a path to empowerment to Black youth in Louisville, Kentucky through his Pan-African community drum corps.

Photo credit: By Juan Castañeda. Credit: Juan Castañeda/Owsley Brown Presents

Ed “Nardie” White

When he decides to step down, Albert Shumake, an alum whose life was saved by the drumline, returns home to carry “the spirit of the drum” forward for the next generation.

Photo credit: By Juan Castañeda. Credit: Juan Castañeda/Owsley Brown Presents

Albert Shumake, an alum whose life was saved by the drumline, returns home to carry “the spirit of the drum” forward for the next generation.

During the year-long changing of the guard, young drummers Imani, Jailen, and Emily navigate the cadences of adolescence even as systemic forces threaten to undermine their dreams.

Photo credit: By Juan Castañeda. Credit: Juan Castañeda/Owsley Brown Presents

“River City Drumbeat” is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies, told by the members of a Black youth drum corps in Louisville, Ky. During the year-long changing of the guard, young drummers Imani Keith, Jailen Leavell (pictured), and Emily Carey navigate the cadences of adolescence even as systemic forces threaten to undermine their dreams.

Directors Marlon Johnson and Anne Flatté deliver a vital and insightful tale that shows how art, love and mentors can transform a child’s life.

Photo credit: By Juan Castañeda. Credit: Juan Castañeda/Owsley Brown Presents

“River City Drumbeat” is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies, told by the members of a Black youth drum corps in Louisville, Ky. During the year-long changing of the guard, young drummers Imani Keith, Jailen Leavell, and Emily Carey (pictured) navigate the cadences of adolescence even as systemic forces threaten to undermine their dreams.

With compelling characters, evocative visuals, and kinetic drumline performances, “River City Drumbeat” is a testament to the impact of this creative community on the lives of three generations.

River City Drumbeat: Trailer

The critically-acclaimed "River City Drumbeat" is a powerful, immersive story of music, love, and legacies, as told by the members of a Black youth drum corps in Louisville, Kentucky. When the founder steps down, a young alum whose life was saved by the drumline rises to mentor the next generation in the face of systemic injustices.

Witness the immense power of love and music in what Film Threat called “an edifying story of rhythm, passion, and rites of passage.”

The film made its world premiere at DOC NYC and went on to a successful festival and virtual theatrical run in 2020. The feature documentary was named a 2020 New York Times Critic’s Pick and one of Common Sense Media’s Top 20 Best Family Films of the Year!

Photo credit: By Juan Castañeda. Credit: Juan Castañeda/Owsley Brown Presents

A parade. “River City Drumbeat” is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies, told by the members of a Black youth drum corps in Louisville, Ky.

Join The Conversation:

“River City Drumbeat” is on Facebook and Instagram. Follow @DrumbeatMovie on Twitter.

Watch On Your Schedule:

The film is available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

With the PBS Video App, you can stream your favorite and local station shows. Download it for free on your favorite device. The app allows you to catch up on recent episodes and discover award-winning shows.

Credits:

Director: Marlon Johnson, Anne Flatté. Executive Producer: Owsley Brown. Producer: Owsley Brown, Anne Flatté, Marlon Johnson. Cinematographer: Juan Carlos Castañeda, John Anderson Beavers. Editor: Jeff Boyette. Music: B. Quincy Griffin.

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