BORN WITH IT

Directed by: Alexander Koffler

With a pool of 46 talented grandchildren to choose from, legendary bluesman R.L. Burnside chose 13-year-old Cedric as apprentice. Together, they traveled the globe, introducing the world to Mississippi Hill Country Blues and catapulting Cedric to the international stage. Twenty-four years later, he’s acclaimed as one of the best drummers in the world and a much sought-after songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist.

Cedric lives in a pair of doublewide trailers in Holly Springs, fountainhead of Mississippi Hill Country Blues, where he supports his family with earnings from his international tours and almost single-handedly preserves his community.

BORN WITH IT is Cedric’s story:  the story of growing up in a poverty-stricken backcountry hamlet where the unique combination of rhythm, unconventional song structures and something known as “the hypnotic boogie” are as much a part of the environment as the warm, damp air. Here, in Holly Springs, a music tradition rooted in West Africa has its home. “The blues,” Cedric declares, “aren’t a lament. They aren’t a guilt trip about wrongdoing. They’re a way to cope when life is hard, and a way to rise above it and find peace.”

Cedric’s uncommon gift is to open a door to our hearts–a door that we never knew existed.

Mississippi Hill Country has been home to many Blues greats, such as Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside  and Robert Belfour.  Holly Springs, a tiny town of tumbledown homes, rusty pickups, and ghosts of Jim Crow, draws famous musicians from around the world (U2, Dave Stewart, Robert Plant, The Black Keys) to pay homage. Although few of the original Hill Country musicians are alive today, their ancestral energy pulses through Cedric, an artist whose raw mystical joy transcends what we know as “the blues.”

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