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Steel Pulse

By Matt Scheiner
Published June 26, 2008

Door Of No Return
Wiseman Doctrine/MVD Visual

Hopping on the tour bus back in 1999 with preeminent reggae troupe Steel Pulse, director Michel Moreau had his work cut out for him. The band was criss-crossing the United States, logging energetic shows in Washington D.C., Virginia and New York City, before leaving for Senegal, where a benefit performance for Amnesty International’s Human Rights Awareness campaign was planned in the capital of Dakar. The U.S. shows are juxtaposed with footage of the band’s trip to Africa, which included a visit to Gorée Island, known historically for its House Of Slaves and the infamous Door Of No Return. It is said that more than 26,000 Africans passed through here before being torn away from the motherland forever—a revelation that clearly moves the members of Steel Pulse, who pay tribute in song. Moreau organizes in-depth interviews with frontman David Hinds, guitarist Basil Gabbidon and bassist Ronald McQueen, and trains the camera on Hinds during a visit to his old house in Birmingham, England, where the band was founded. The overall production and sound quality can be a little disappointing, and the material seems dated as well, but the scenery and the band’s journey are still touching subjects.