Walk It Home, the feature film that documents a pilgrimage to the Deep South by the most popular blues band in the Middle East, The Wanton Bishops, premieres exclusively on October 29th on Red Bull TV.
Blues music dates back hundreds of years to the plantations along the Mississippi Delta, but people around the world have been feeling the blues for thousands of years — especially in cities like Beirut, home of the hit blues-rock duo, The Wanton Bishops. Nader Mansour and Eddy Ghossein were playing gigs together within a year of their first meeting; throughout their native Lebanon while also touring South Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East.
In 2014, they made a pilgrimage to Mississippi, USA; birthplace of the blues, for education, inspiration and to fully immerse themselves in the music that drove them to perform together. The resulting feature film is Walk it Home.
Beirut, a 5000-year-old city, is still reeling from fresh war wounds, so it’s not surprising that the blues strikes a chord with its citizens. Mansour and Ghossein discovered their mutual love of western music, from modern and classic rock, to the British rock renaissance of recent years, soon after they met. A few shared records, tequila shots and jam sessions later, “The Wanton Bishops” were born.
Wanton by definition means “lacking restraint or inhibition”. Bishops are ordained to lead the flock. Band front man, Nader Mansour embodies both concepts, that are realised through the bands’ music and the film that chronicles their journey. “To be a musician in Beirut is probably the thing that’s the most impossible to achieve, ever,” says Mansour. “The Lebanese have the blues. We’ve been living through a war for the last three decades. We’re anxious, but it gives you determination.”
Walk It Home isn’t so much a fish-out-of-water story as it is the tale of kindred souls swimming upstream, back to the source of the music they love. It just so happens that many of their stops are along the winding rivers of the Mississippi Blues Trail. From jamming on porches with locals, tasting new flavours, hitting townie bars, touring swamps and recording new tracks along the way, The Wanton Bishops live the blues, play the blues and now, have walked a little of the blues trail.
Granted, not everything about the American experience resonated with the band. As he freely crossed state borders in the Deep South, Ghossein observed, “No tags, no checkpoints; this country’s weird!’. “It felt as if the deeper we went into Mississippi, the closer we came home,” said Mansour. “The blues is not a place. It’s a feeling and it’s a universal one. But we’ve brought something home that we’ll never forget.”
Walk It Home serves as a lasting testament to the unique chemistry of Mansour and Ghossein’s musical partnership; it captures the exhilarating energy they brought to the stage. It’s as much a film for blues scholars, rock fans and music aficionados as it is for anyone seeking to better understand the human experience and the cultural connections that unite us, rather than the religious and political differences that tear us apart.
Directed by Ben Holman, Walk it Home was produced by Red Bull Media House in association with Beija Films and Knock Knock Productions. Nader Mansour is currently recording the next Wanton Bishops album, set for release in 2016, and to be supported by tour dates all over the world.
Watch “Walk it Home” exclusively on Red Bull TV on October 29, 2015