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Guitar mightier than the sword -

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(generated from captions) Hamish Fitzsimmons reporting there. than the sword, If the pen is meant to be mightier then what about the guitar? Michael Franti embarked on a journey When American musician conflict-riddled through some of the Middle East's and most dangerous neighbourhoods, and a video camera he was armed with just a folk guitar for posterity. to record the experience ?I Know I'm Not Alone' The result is his first documentary across Australia. and it recently opened with Michael Franti in Melbourne. Mick Bunworth caught up

SONG: # Every time I read the news

I'm more confused* I didn't really SONG: # Every time I read the news *

set out to make a film. I was just,

like a lot of people, curious about

the effects of the war. SONG: # How

many died today, how many lost

homes* Every night on the news we many died today, how many lost their

hear about the political cost of

war, but we never see or hear the hear about the political cost of the

voices of the people affected by it

the most. Michael Franti has always

been an artist with lots to say.

But his latest project sees him

handing the microphone to others.

Michael Franti's film, 'I Know I'm

Not Alone', charts his journey in

2004 through Baghdad, Israel, the

West Bank and the Gaza Strip,

carrying little more than a guitar

and a desire to meet people and

document their experience. He

overcomes the language barrier by

writing a song with a single ar

rabic lyric which translates to dear friend" rabic lyric which translates to "

The second I started singing the

song it was like magic. People

would start opening their doors to

me. People started inviting me

places that I had no access to go me. People started inviting me into

before. During his visit to Baghdad, places that I had no access to go to

Michael Franti - an outspoken

opponent of the war in Iraq -

a gig for some US soldiers, an opponent of the war in Iraq - played

experience he spoke about after his

film's Australian premiere. And I

talk into this room and there's

barful of guys holding an M 16 in talk into this room and there's this

one hand and they've got a beer on

the counter in front of them. I'm

like, "Hey, I'm here with my wooden

guitar to sing about peace and love.

" Thanks for having me here

tonight. And I just wanted to come

over here and see what you all are

going through and I hope that you

all make it home safe. (Sings) *

Please tell me the reason behind

colours that you fly * The love of Please tell me the reason behind the

just one nation in the whole world

we divide* I got up the courage to

sing the song Behind the World.

What then happened is the whole

went silent and I was waiting for a What then happened is the whole room

bar stool, but what happened is I

spoke to each of the guys in the

room and all of them said to me

than anything else, I just want to room and all of them said to me more

go home. Because we were trained

fight a war against a military and go home. Because we were trained to

we did that, and we were successful.

But we're not trained to fight a

war for the hearts and minds of

Iraqi people. And while the

Michael Franti meets oppose the Iraqi people. And while the Iraqises

continued presence of US troops,

they're embracing the freedom of

post-Saddam era. Nowhere is this they're embracing the freedom of the

more apparent than the in the

rehearsal room of the heavy metal

band The Black Scorpions.

We have just put the word out that

we wanted to meet musicians of all

types. When I was thinking I was

going to meet musicians I was

thinking traditional Arabic

instruments and singing. When I

heard from one of the women who was

on the trip with us that she knew

somebody who had a heavy metal band on the trip with us that she knew of

and we could get an introduction.

was like, "This is too bizarre to and we could get an introduction. I

true, I've got to see this. was like, "This is too bizarre to be

Michael Franti's anti-war stance

some label him unpatriotic during Michael Franti's anti-war stance saw

his last tour of the United States.

Something he learnt to deal with in

his own inemploymentable

good-humoured way. Some people

places where I went to people were

very receptive to what I thood say

and there were other places where

people booed me on the stage. So

this is a song which is about

to grips with that. (Sings) * I this is a song which is about coming

don't get to play in Texas very

often * I don't get to play in

very often * But the times I did, I often * I don't get to play in Texas

kind of liked it down there* For

this true but all turned peacemaker,

peace is possible and that's a song

he intends to singing for some time

yet. I'm not a person so naive to

think that a person with a guitar

can solve the Middle East crisis.

But I do know there's a willingness

on both sides for that to happen.

(Sings) * The stars shine

in the darkest hour * So you know (Sings) * The stars shine brightest

you're not alone. The least

favourite balladier in Texas. Mick Bunworth with that report. And that's the program for tonight.