1 Giant Leap, A Fascinating Musical Journey

Imagine traveling to 20 different countries, recording musicians, actors, celebrities and musical styles from around the world, then combining their rhythms, images and tracks into a tantalizing, delicious, international musical fruit salad. That would be no small feat, but that’s exactly what UK musicians/producers Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman did when they created 1 Giant Leap, a 12-part DVD, film, and television series with an accompanying music CD. Initially, it likely seemed a ridiculous idea to pitch, but with the vision of Chris Blackwell–head of Palm Pictures–the project was green-lit and eventually completed.

On 1 Giant Leap, one can hear musical tapestries created through synergies and contributions from musicians like Linton Kwezi Johnson, Brian Eno, Michael Stipe, Speech from Arrested Development, Maxi Jazz from Faithless, Neneh Cherry, Baaba Maal, and The Mahotella Queens, rubbing shoulders with non-musical contributors like Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut, Gabrielle Roth and Dennis Hopper, to name but a few of the many talented individuals featured on this absorbing project.

Catto and Bridgeman began the project by recording the basic tracks before heading off around the world armed only with their (battery-powered) laptops and digital cameras. With the aid of this “mobile studio,” the pair had the flexibility and power to both record the various contributing artists while simultaneously filming the process on video.

It took the duo nearly six months to accumulate the 300 hours of music, interviews and footage, eventually edited down to comprise the final 1 Giant Leap production. Viewers get whisked away as they travel from New York to countries like Nepal, Senegal, Uganda, India, Australia,Thailand, South Africa and Ghana, while witnessing a brilliantly accurate overview of world music at the beginning of the 21st Century.

Although 1 Giant Leap reflects the vast musical diversity from around the world, it successfully depicts how it can all be combined into a workable and unified entity. 1 Giant Leap visibly illustrates the duo’s successful mission statement “to explore the unity in the diversity.” The result is an astounding and riveting musical film that will entrance and impress all that take the “giant leap.” Essential!

Stephen Segerman