Film Review: Bud Sugar’s Documentary – Gambia: Take Me To Learn My Roots

Available to watch for FREE, Bud Sugar’s awesome documentary Gambia: Take Me To Learn My Roots takes us on a journey to Gambia and the culture and life that these people live and the connections they have with Bud Sugar themselves. The film was released on 16 May 2019 and can be viewed on YouTube.

For those of you who don’t know, Bud Sugar are a four-piece band from Hull, England. They consist of Stan Hill, Lans Lister, Rob Mills, and Bacary Bax. They’ve released three EPs to date, titled Vibe, Viral, and Vampire, with various singles and music videos being released from each EP. Their most-streamed track on Spotify is “Viral” which isn’t a surprise as it was supported by BBC Introducing, however, it’s their track on their latest EP, titled “Gambia”, that inspired this trip and film. This marks Bud Sugar’s first feature film and we hope that they plan to make more as this certainly was brilliant to watch.

The film has been directed by Bacary Bax and tells mainly his story with the help from his mother, Susan Lister, and his brother, Lans Lister (who is also known as Live Lans and who has released music as a solo artist). They were born and raised in Hull by their single mother, but she wanted them to learn about their West African roots; and so, as children, she took them to Gambia, three times a year for several years. Their father was from Senegal, but Gambia worked out best for her to fly her kids to, only their father wasn’t around much, if at all, yet they still got to experience the West African life.

Thanks to the kind-heartedness of the ‘Jatta’ family, they stayed at their compound, ‘Jatta Kunda’, in Brikama and never once stayed in a hotel – truly living the life of a Gambian during their stays, three times a year. Susan Lister took them to Gambia a total of 27 times, and in the year of the millennium took them for the very last time. Years upon years went by with no contact with the friends they had made over there.

This whole experience inspired the awesomely addicted song, “Gambia”. In our review of their latest EP Vampire, we stated that: “It certainly has an African sound to it and really shows that Bud Sugar really take inspiration from their roots. This song incorporates various world music to create an undeniable catchy track that certainly deserves a music video and some remixes.”

The release of the song, with Bacary Bax and Lans Lister showcasing old photos on social media as well as talking about their memories, led to a Gambian musician – Wess Eluda getting in touch with them. He offered the band a place to stay for their trip to Gambia, and it wasn’t long until an old friend also got in touch after recognising himself in one of the photos.

This film dives into what has happened during the lost years, why they stopped going, and the band’s trip to Gambia 18 years on from Bacary Bax and Lans Lister’s last trip there. They spend a whole week in Gambia visiting various places, meeting up with long lost friends, performing their incredible songs – including “Gambia”; and, introducing the rest of the band, their crew, and the viewers at home to the Gambian life and culture.

Gambia: Take Me To Learn My Roots is a heart-warming look into Bud Sugar’s trip to Gambia, and the Gambian life. There’s so much to learn from this documentary, that the band aren’t afraid to let you in. There’s old stories, new stories, plenty of shocking moments, and each day brought something new and different to their trip.

As viewers, we are engaged from the start. We wanted to know why Susan Lister had decided to stop going, we wanted to find out what had changed in those 18 years, and what the rest of the group made of Gambia. There was not a dry eye at the end of the trip and we’re not surprised as we can only imagine the feelings they were feeling in the moment.

The one thing we do have to say is that, even though this film is a full 1 hour 43 minutes long, it just wasn’t long enough. We wanted to learn more about Gambia, we wanted the guys to stay there for another week just so we had more insight into Gambia. Having said that, they are planning on making another trip back, this time with Susan Lister herself… Now, will we be getting another film? Oh, we can only hope.

Watch Bud Sugar’s Film Gambia: Take Me To Learn My Roots Here:

The band has since decided to set up a GoFundMe page where they are fundraising for The Vibe Tribe Scholarship. Ever since they went to Gambia, they found out how difficult it was for children to get an education, not only that, but children were sneaking into school so that they could learn.

Bud Sugar state on their GoFundMe page that, “The Vibe Tribe Scholarship is a funding campaign committed to raising money and awareness for less fortunate children in Gambia to give them an education. As individuals, this stuck a chord with us when we visited the SOS Hermann Gmeiner High School and spoke to the principal, giving us an insight into just how many children end up without an education due to funding. It has since become our aim to engage with the school and bring awareness to just how little it costs to send a child to school.”

Their aim is to raise £112,500 which will be used to send 100 children to school for a total of five years. It currently costs £225 per child for a year’s worth of education. This is clearly very important to Bud Sugar, and just a little bit of money would go a long way towards their goal. Donate for this brilliant cause here. The video below is actually a clip from the film, which they’ve used to promote their fundraising campaign.

Watch The Bud Sugar Vibe Tribe Scholarship Video Here:

Gambia: Take Me To Learn My Roots is available to watch, for free, on YouTube, right now. So, what are you waiting for? It’s definitely worth a watch and you get to know more about Bud Sugar, the band, as well as Gambian life.

Have you watched Gambia: Take Me To Learn My Roots, yet? Let us know your thoughts about the film on Twitter @CelebMix.

Written by Jonathan Currinn

26-year-old writer, blogger, author, and journalist. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015. I write under the name Critic Jonni, on my blog. I also write for Channillo, Outlet Magazine, SPECTRUMM, Fuzzable, Modern Magazine, and Electric Mode. In the past, I have written for Fox & Squirrel Photography and the Daily Star. Follow me on Twitter @CriticJonni