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Let’s Get the Rhythm
A film by Irene Chagall
US, 2014, 53 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W151166

LET'S GET THE RHYTHM invites the viewer to explore the history of hand-clapping games around the world. Through wars and migrations, across language barriers and oceans, young girls connect with each other through thousands of variants—ancient as they are global—the film chronicles these rhythmic and recreational practices. Guided by three eight-year-olds from diverse cultural backgrounds on inner-city playgrounds in New York City, the film is a charming and beautiful survey with universal insight into the budding social mind and of the empowering impact of the practice on the lives of women. The charm of their personal insight is complemented by archival footage collected by Alan Lomax and observations by folklorists, academics, musicians, ethnomusicologists and cognitive neuroscientists. LET'S GET THE RHYTHM is a delightful homage to the beauty of the beat and to storytelling among young girls and is a necessary film for Anthropology and Sociology courses.


  • Margaret Mead Film Festival
  • Dance on Camera Festival

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    "...its incandescent musicality brings this hand-clapping universe to life."
    The New York Times

    “Let's Get the Rhythm is an incisive, fascinating documentary that demonstrates the significance of girls' hand-clapping games. Perfect for in-classroom use, the film contributes vitally to conversations about global girlhood, cultures of the African diaspora, and performance.”
    Robin Bernstein
    Professor, Harvard University

    "Let’s Get the Rhythm” chronicles the songs, rhythmic chants, and associated movements that comprise children’s most meaningful musical expressions. Irene Chagall focuses her lens on the completely oral and thoroughly embodied musical expressions that children own and value music, text, and all of the necessary percussive effects they desire. Chagall’s film is masterful, and a tribute to an important piece in understanding children’s expressive practices."
    Patricia Shehan Campbell
    Professor and Chair, Ethnomusicology, University of Washington

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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