PBS films tackles Native American links to rock, blues, jazz

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new PBS Independent Lens documentary shows how Native Americans laid the foundations to rock, blues and jazz.

“RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” set to air on most PBS stations Monday, shows how Native Americans played a role in shaping American popular music, even though fans had no idea about their ancestry.

The film illustrates how Link Wray, a Shawnee man who grew up in rural North Carolina, responded to the pain of racism with the landmark song “Rumble” — a tune credited with inventing the power chord.

It also how blues pioneer Charley Patton, an early 20th Century Mississippi Delta guitarist of Choctaw and African-American ancestry, fused Native American rhythms with black music.

Co-director Catherine Bainbridge says the film presents a missing chapter in the history of American popular music.

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