With the presence of the director
Like a God When He Plays features the unique and breath-taking music of the oldest island on the planet. In its isolation, plants and animals have evolved on Madagascar that are found nowhere else on earth. Complementing this biodiversity is a complex cultural web of people who have settled on the island through the centuries from Indonesia, India, Persia, Wales as well as Africa. The island’s music reflects these unique fusions of influence and no more so than what is known as the national instrument of Madagascar, the valiha, a zither-type stringed instrument with many variations found throughout the island, including the marovany, made famous by legendary musician Rakotozafy (1933-74), who died in mysterious circumstances.
Like a God When He Plays follows Paddy Bush, an Irish musician and instrument maker (brother of famous singer Kate Bush), and his spiritual brother Justin Vali, considered the greatest living player of the valiha, as they cross the island across dramatic landscape to attend the reburial ceremony (famadihana) of their musical hero, Rakotozafy, in his home village near Lake Alaotra. On this emotional journey, they treat astonished local audiences to enchanting valiha duets.
CELIA LOWENSTEIN Is a director/producer/writer whose films are a hybrid of styles which include narrative fiction, musicals, documentary and films in verse. With a personal interest in music, science, art, poetry and the discourse of ideas, her films have been screened in cinemas, film festivals and shown on the BBC, Channel 4 (UK), Channel 5 (UK), ARTE/ZDF (Germany and France), PBS, Animal Planet, NOVA, National Geographic, HBO, Discovery and Biography channels. In 2019 she was awarded the Best Documentary at the International Women’s Film Festival for her film on the story of the Jewish people through the architecture of the synagogue. Whilst currently working on several film projects she lives between Paris and Santa Fe, New Mexico.