We got the beat: ‘Double G’ and producer on ‘Hip Hop Maestro,’ DOCUTAH screening tonight

"Hip Hop Maestro" film trailer for DocUtah, Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival 2012, St. George, Utah, Feb. 5, 2012 | Screenshot photo courtesy of Melynda Thorpe Burt, DocUtah, image composite by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The annual DocUtah film festival is now officially underway. It started this afternoon with a Q-and-A meeting with feature film producer Christine Lee and the Hip Hop Maestro himself, Geoff Gallegos, better known as “Double G.”

The film, “Hip Hop Maestro,” which will screen at 8 p.m. today on the Encampment Mall of Dixie State College of Utah, highlights the journey of Gallegos as he melds classical music with hip-hop in a world that has seen such juxtapositions as taboo. However, he has gained a fan base that transcends established demographic stereotypes, and has reached out to fans of both genres, bridging a gap that is literally hundreds of years wide.

“I was immediately blown away.” Lee said. “You meet the guy and you’re like ‘Wow, he’s fun!’”

Gallegos gains his influences and style from composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók, as well as more modern, mid-80’s emcees and rappers like Public Enemy and Gang Starr.

“I think Mozart would have loved hip-hop.” Gallegos said. “I think he might have been a great beat maker if he was alive right now.”

Gallegos and his orchestra daKAH have multiple records and have been all over the United States; performing in Nashville, Cincinnati and Hollywood for a wide range of audiences.

Factors that keep the project going are the passion for music that is inspired in every member of daKAH, the strong foundation in multiple forms of music and theory, and the unique style of leadership that is emanated by Gallegos himself. If there are egos that clash or attitudes that get in the way, he quickly identifies the problem and fixes it, both on and off stage.

“This is what I like about Toscanini, the conductor.” Gallegos said. “He was known to be a tyrant, but he was never a tyrant because of his ego, he was a tyrant about the music.”

This intensity and dedication is portrayed in Hip Hop Maestro, one of 67 films that will be part of the 2012 DocUtah season.

“This is what it has grown into; it is kind of the preamble to what the whole festival should be for us.” DocUtah Artistic Director Phil Tuckett said. “Celebrating these germs of ideas that are worked, and massaged, sweat over, and bled over, and now they are up on the screen for us to enjoy; and to learn a little bit about ourselves.”

The festival will run through Sept. 9, ending with an awards gala at 7 p.m. at the Red Cliffs Cinema.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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