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PBS films tackles Native American links to rock, blues, jazz

A new PBS Independent Lens documentary shows how Native Americans laid the foundations to rock, blues and jazz.

"RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World," set to air on most PBS stations Monday, shows how Native Americans played a role in shaping American popular music, even though fans had no idea about their ancestry.

The film illustrates how Link Wray, a Shawnee man who grew up in rural North Carolina, responded to the pain of racism with the landmark song "Rumble" — a tune credited with inventing the power chord.

FILE - In this May 29, 1978 file photo, Robbie Robertson, right, a Canadian guitarist of Mohawk ancestry, stands next to American director Martin Scorsese, left, before they presented the film "Last Waltz," a film about Robertson's band, at the 31st Cannes International Film Festival. "RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World," a new PBS Independent Lens documentary set to air Monday, Jan 21, 2019, shows how Native Americans laid the foundations to rock, blues and jazz. (AP Photo, File)

It also how blues pioneer Charley Patton, an early 20th Century Mississippi Delta guitarist of Choctaw and African-American ancestry, fused Native American rhythms with black music.

Co-director Catherine Bainbridge says the film presents a missing chapter in the history of American popular music.

FILE - In this July 21, 2002 file photo, Link Wray, the 73-year-old Shawnee Indian and acclaimed pioneer of punk and heavy metal, performs at the Shim Sham Club in New Orleans. "RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World," a new PBS Independent Lens documentary set to air Monday, Jan 21, 2019, shows how Native Americans laid the foundations to rock, blues and jazz. (AP PhotoCheryl Gerber, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 1, 1944 file photo, Mildred Bailey, a jazz singer of the Coeur d'Alene American Indian tribe, performs on her musical radio program "Mildred Bailey and Company" in New York City. "RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World," a new PBS Independent Lens documentary set to air Monday, Jan 21, 2019, shows how Native Americans laid the foundations to rock, blues and jazz. (AP Photo, File)