Sweet Old Song

An extraordinary relationship between two African American artists who have been collaborating as musicians and visual artists since 1983.

Sweet old song 01
POV, True Stories
Premiere Date
July 30, 2002
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
Mahan leah filmmaker bio

Leah Mahan

Leah Mahan is an independent documentary filmmaker whose work has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. Mahan's film Sweet Old Song (2002) was featured on the PBS series P.O.V. and was selected by film critic Roger Ebert to be screened at his Overlooked Film Festival (“Ebertfest”). She spent a dozen years making Come Hell or High Water and was invited to work on the rough cut at the Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Story Lab. Her first film was Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street. Aside from ITVS, Mahan’s work has been supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Ford Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

We fund untold stories for public media.

Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

The Film

Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong has been performing for most of his 91 years, ever since his father carved his first fiddle from a wooden crate. At the film's center are the two great loves of Howard's life: his music, and artist Barbara Ward. Their two-decade romance is a creative partnership yielding new work and an outpouring of memories, defying our most basic assumptions about what it means to grow older.