"The music you will see in this film is extraordinary, and its message of healing is extraordinary. There is no film that is screening in this film festival this year that means more to me, and I think that means more to the possible future of us living in this city, and on this planet."
Peter Scarlet, Director: Tribeca Film Festival
“The intersection between spirituality and world-music is pinpointed in "Sound of the Soul," a handsome documentary about the Fez Festival in Morocco. The event, which takes place annually in the North African city renowned for its history of tolerance, offers attendees a platform where they can tie together music and faith as a universal bond. The main attraction is the lineup of frequently astonishing acts glimpsed and (more importantly) heard. They range from ethereal Irish vocal group Anuna and mournful Portuguese singer Katia Guerriro to choirs devoted to early Euro-Russo sacred music. Groups from outside the West are often intensely rhythmic and ecstatic, though most raucous is New York City brass band Sons of Thunder. There's great sonic variety among the Moroccan acts alone. Wide-format DV lensing and sound recording are first-rate.”
"There's a moment in "Sound of the Soul" when you stop looking at the subtitles. You don't need them when the Frasa Group from Morocco works itself into a frenzy of spiritual chanting, shifting forcibly from one note to the next in near unison. No matter your religion or lack thereof, it's no longer about the words or deities or beliefs, but rather the transcendent power of music. Mauritanian singer Dimi Mint Abba says, "What I think about really depends on the song I am singing. I have conversations with God." Or Mohammed. Or Allah. Or Buddha. It's practically all the same to these musicians, and that's why their songs never get lost in translation."
The Boston Globe
“Sound of the Soul offers an insider's look at this annual celebration of spirituality and art. Performers range from a Christian brass band from New York and Fado singers from Portugal to a chorus of female Berber singers from Africa and medieval ensembles from France, all of whom embrace the philosophy of an Afghan performer who says, "music is the sound of the soul."
The New York Times
“The movie bathes the viewer in a sumptuous symphony of color and texture, from the performers’ gorgeous outfits to the images of the markets, shrines, and surrounding landscape. The musical excerpts are the icing on the cake.”
The New Mexican
"In SOUND OF THE SOUL Olsson has captured a piece of all that’s good in the world."
“The extensive concert footage is so infectious that viewers will find it difficult to stay seated.”
"How about some Islamic songs about love and friendship - would that come in handy just now? Against the sensational headlines and unceasing barrage of associating terrorists with millions of innocent people, Stephen Olsson went to Fez, and...fashioned a remarkable documentary, "Sound of the Soul." A concert film, a travelogue, a history lesson, a mild-mannered homily, Olsson's work is a grand upper...pulling together Berber women, a fabulous Portuguese Fado singer, a French early-music ensemble, players and vocalists from Afghanistan, England, Russia, Ireland, Mauritania, Turkey and finally, a gospel band from New York City.
Ecstatic Sufi performers dominate the concert, but the sound, the music, the "message" are all suffused with sincere expressions of love and longing, against a great heritage of tolerance, an ancient sanctuary for people of different faiths. Yes, it's about time again for a dose of this artless art, these legions of Candides, whistling in the dark about the best of all possible worlds."
Janos Gereben, San Francisco Examiner
"From soothing the savage breast to giving peace a chance, music has often been offered as a means to cross cultural divides and spur humanity's nobler instincts. Stephen Olsson's great-looking wide-screen documentary is a feast for fans of world music...You will no doubt emerge wondering how to get yourself to next year's Fez Fest...Sound of the Soul offers a very flavorful experience that's a lot less expensiveJanos Gereben than a plane ticket to North Africa."
Dennis Harvey, San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Stephen Olsson's film aspires to be much more than a record of Morocco's Festival of World Sacred Music...All of it is lovely and all of it is acoustic...everything we hear is truly a people's music rooted in daily lives of struggle. Even if you don't agree that "we are victims of earthly existence" and believe rather that our earthly existence is justified only by the creation and enjoyment of art such as this, Sound of the Soul reaches and holds a high note."