Music

A soundtrack for the movement against Trump

Author: 

Bas Hardy

Found dead people in the forest Tallahatchie River and lakes
The whole wide world is wonderin’
What’s wrong with the United States

What’s wrong indeed! Lyrics from the Staples Singer’s Freedom Highway recorded twenty five years ago still resonate. It’s now the closing track on the second solo album of Rhiannon Giddens.

A review of Freedom Highway by Rhiannon Giddens.

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Real soldiers do feel sad

Author: 

Carrie Evans

Last week saw the drop of Stormzy’s debut album Gang Signs and Prayer . Whilst the whole album is beautiful, brave and ambitious, it’s a bit of a grower and maybe not what most grime fans were expecting. It deals with themes of black identity, love and spirituality in a way mostly unheard in grime before.

Stormzy’s debut album Gang Signs and Prayer is beautiful, brave and ambitious, although maybe not what most grime fans were expecting.

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100 years of jazz on record

Author: 

Jim Denham

It was fortunate for both jazz and the phonograph industry that their emergence co-incided: the improvisational music that is jazz was caught in its early days by the phonograph, and jazz repaid the industry a million times over in sales of music that owed its existence to early jazz.

Is the fact that the first jazz records were made by five white guys a practical demonstration of racism, even in the foremost art-form developed by African-Americans?

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Belligerent but beautiful songs

Author: 

Janine Booth

When I grew into adulthood in the 1980s, the Tory government's onslaught saw us staring into a bleak future unless we fought back. So we did, and our fightback had a soundtrack.

The better-known voices of that soundtrack — the Paul Wellers and Billy Braggs — are still playing to this day. But one of the less known, and to me one of the best, died last month at the too-young age of 60.

Billy Franks led the Faith Brothers, writing belligerent but beautiful songs of working-class lives and battles, and playing them to an ardent congregation who lived those lives and fought those battles.

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Bread and Roses - an evening of Socialist Feminism in Newcastle 2 May 2016

Socialist Feminism gig at the Cumberland Arms in Newcastle

Author: 

Anthony English

With a spiraling list of performers and an unconfirmed set-list, our evening celebrating all things socialist and feminist was beginning to make Live Aid look like a lot of fuss about nothing.
However, as history has so often taught us, triumph can be found lurking in the jaws of disaster.
So it was that on a bank holiday Monday at The Cumberland Arms in Ouseburn, a veritable feast of music, poetry and drama unfolded before us.

An excellent evening of music, performance and poetry celebrating the often overlooked role of women in class struggle

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Singing for the underdog

Author: 

Gerry Bates

The country and western singer Merle Haggard, who has died, is best known for The Fighting Side of Me, a song in which he expressed the feelings of American patriots against the Americans who opposed US involvement in Vietnam:

I hear people talkin’ bad
About the way we have to live here in this
country
An’ gripin’ ‘bout the way things oughta be...
An’ I don’t mind ‘em switchin’ sides
An’ standin’ up for things they believe in...
When you’re runnin’ down my country, man
You’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

Country music is too often despised even by socialists who like folk music and blues. Yet it is the music of the American white working class.

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Yes to free speech, no to anti-semitism

Author: 

Bruce Robinson

A concert by the controversial Israeli-born jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon has been cancelled by the Royal Northern College of Music on the spurious grounds of threats to “safety” of the audience. This followed a petition from the North West Friends of Israel calling for cancellation on the basis of Atzmon’s anti-Semitism.

A concert by the controversial Israeli-born jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon has been cancelled by the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, on the spurious grounds of threats to “safety” of the audience. This followed a petition from the North West Friends of Israel calling for cancellation on the basis of Atzmon’s anti-Semitism.

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