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April 10, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Ukraine.
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ROGER’S NOTE: ENJOY!

All Men Become Brothers: Amidst Conflict, Joy At the Fish Market

by Abby Zimet

In the name of peace in Ukraine, a cool flash mob in the middle of the beloved Privoz Fish Market in Odessa, one of the cultural treasure-houses of Europe, by members of the Odessa Philharmonic and Odessa Opera Chorus in the first cooperatuve project in many years. “There was no need to choose a piece of music,” explained conductor Hobart Earle. “Beethoven’s 9th symphony and Schiller’s Ode to Joy are humankind’s hymns for freedom, peace and brotherhood.”

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven: We’re Grateful But Holy Cow September 26, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Canada.
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Intriguing news from Canada’s music scene, where Montreal’s anarchist, anti-war, anti-capitalist collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor has won this year’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize for their album Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, released after a ten-year hiatus when they decided they couldn’t take part in “this horrid music-business mess” while the Iraq War and “greater class injustices” were ongoing. In their music and (rare) interviews, they regularly cite “the terminally disenfranchised” and “the demeaning outcomes of debauched governance: random traffic stops, collapsing infrastructure, corrupt bureaucrats and milk-fed police with their petty intrusions”; they also use radical cover art that, for example, draws the connections between music companies and arms manufacturers.

The band accepted the prize from their “Troubled Motherland” with a singularly charming, grateful, conflicted, outraged “HOLY SHIT AND HOLY COW” statement suggesting that holding a corporate-sponsored gala during a time of “normalized decline…doesn’t serve the cause of righteous music at all,” and that “asking the toyota motor company to help cover the tab during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet is fucking insane,” which is one reason they plan to use the prize money to buy instruments for prisoners in Quebec. Great stuff.

“All music is political, right? You either make music that pleases the king and his court, or you make music for the serfs outside the walls. It’s what music (and culture) is for, right?…We started making this noise together when we were young and broke. Whatever politics we had were born out of living through a time when the dominant narrative was that everything was fine. Clearly this was a lie. But Clinton was president, the Berlin Wall was down, our economies were booming, and the internet was a shiny new thing that was going to liberate us all. The gatekeepers gazed upon their kingdom and declared that it was good. Meanwhile so many of us were locked out, staring at all that gold from the outside in.”

Their statement:

A FEW WORDS REGARDING THIS POLARIS PRIZE THING

hello kanada.
hello kanadian music-writers.

thanks for the nomination thanks for the prize- it feels nice to be acknowledged by the Troubled Motherland when we so often feel orphaned here. and much respect for all y’all who write about local bands, who blow that horn loudly- because that trumpeting is crucial and necessary and important.

and much respect to the freelancers especially, because freelancing is a hard fucking gig, and almost all of us are freelancers now, right? falling and scrambling and hustling through these difficult times?

so yes, we are grateful, and yes we are humble and we are shy to complain when we’ve been acknowledged thusly- BUT HOLY SHIT AND HOLY COW- we’ve been plowing our field on the margins of weird culture for almost 20 years now, and “this scene is pretty cool but what it really fucking needs is an awards show” is not a thought that’s ever crossed our minds.

3 quick bullet-points that almost anybody could agree on maybe=

-holding a gala during a time of austerity and normalized decline is a weird thing to do.

-organizing a gala just so musicians can compete against each other for a novelty-sized cheque doesn’t serve the cause of righteous music at all.

-asking the toyota motor company to help cover the tab for that gala, during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet, IS FUCKING INSANE, and comes across as tone-deaf to the current horrifying malaise.

these are hard times for everybody. and musicians’ blues are pretty low on the list of things in need of urgent correction BUT AND BUT if the point of this prize and party is acknowledging music-labor performed in the name of something other than quick money, well then maybe the next celebration should happen in a cruddier hall, without the corporate banners and culture overlords. and maybe a party thusly is long overdue- it would be truly nice to enjoy that hang, somewhere sometime where the point wasn’t just lazy money patting itself on the back.

give the money to the kids let ‘em put on their own goddamn parties, give the money to the olds and let them try to write opuses in spite of, but let the muchmusic videostars fight it out in the inconsequential middle, without gov’t. culture-money in their pockets.

us we’re gonna use the money to try to set up a program so that prisoners in quebec have musical instruments if they need them…

amen and amen.

apologies for being such bores,
we love you so much / our country is fucked,
xoxoxox
godspeed you! black emperor

Nina Simone – Pirate Jenny Live 1964 January 31, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Race.
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images images ns70

This is a performance everyone should experience.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7awW5nrDHk

Lea Ilmari 2 years ago

I could give my hand that Brecht and Weil anticipated Nina Simone. She sings so revengefull… No one sings like that that song. God bless her soul.

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IDLE NO MORE ~ One Heartbeat Across Turtle Island, Friday 21 December 2012 Everywhere ~ And that’s just the tip of the drum. December 25, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Uncategorized.
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http://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/idle-no-more-one-heartbeat-across-turtle-island-friday-21-december-2012-everywhere-and-thats-just-the-tip-of-the-drum/

December 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm (Uncategorized,

Okay folks, Idle No More’s site has been very busy –and this morning it’s clear why. There’s a lot going on and more on the  docket. You’ve got to be quick.  So instead of my yapping about all the information, C-45, protests, solidarity actions and the huge issues for Canada’s First Nations AND the Earth, I’m providing a link to their very informative blog for all interested parties to visit and share widely. According to recent posting on the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Online Reporter blog thousands are expected for rally protest in Ottawa this Friday! http://www.ienearth.org/blog/2012/12/thousands-expected-at-ottawa-protest-on-friday/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IenOnlineReporter+%28IEN+Online+Reporter%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

For much more Idle No More  information  and a  list of events on Dec. 20, 21 and beyond- visit:

http://idlenomore1.blogspot.com/

Idle No More was formed by Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean to oppose C-45 and other Canadian legislation (in violation of treaties)  that will adversely affect the environment and Indigenous people.

Mission Statement”

Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth. On December 10th,  Indigenous people and allies stood in solidarity across Canada to assert Indigenous  sovereignty and begin the work towards sustainable, renewable development. All  people will be affected by the continued damage to the land and water and we welcome Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join in creating healthy sustainable communities. We encourage youth to become engaged in this movement as you are the leaders of our future. There have always been individuals and groups who have been working towards these goals – Idle No More seeks to create solidarity and further support these goals. We recognize that there may be backlash, and encourage people to stay strong and united in spirit.

O Canada!

Hey Harper!

One thing everyone everywhere can participate in is the Heartbeat Across Turtle Island event at Noon on Friday 21 December 2012.  Any form of “drum” will suffice wherever you are on this beautiful blue and green planet. http://www.idlenomore1.blogspot.com/2012/12/one-heartbeat-across-turtle-island.html

Idle No More is heating up on Facebook fast!

Methinks the tipping point has arrived.

LAND FILLHARMONIC December 14, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Environment, Latin America, Paraguay.
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Roger’s note: this is truly amazing and inspring.

This is the teaser for Landfill Harmonic,  an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where the young musicians play instruments made from trash. Inspiring! (See more info on their ‘Landfill Harmonic’ Facebook page.)

http://vimeo.com/m/52711779

 

 

 

Woody Guthrie at 100 March 7, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture.
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Published on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 by Creators.com

  by  Jim Hightower

Where’s Woody when we need him?

In these times of tinkle-down economics — with the money powers thinking that they’re the top dogs and that the rest of us are just a bunch of fire hydrants — we need for the hard-hitting (yet uplifting) musical stories, social commentaries and inspired lyrical populism of Woody Guthrie.

Woody Guthrie (1912 – 1967)

This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of this legendary grassroots troubadour, who came out of the Oklahoma dust bowl to rally America’s “just plain folks” to fight back against the elites who were knocking them down.

As we know, the elites are back, strutting around cockier than ever with their knocking-down ways — but now comes the good news out of Tulsa, Okla., that Woody, too, is being revived, spiritually speaking. In a national collaboration between the Guthrie family and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, a center is being built in Tulsa to archive, present to the world and celebrate the marvelous songs, books, letters and other materials generated from Guthrie’s deeply fertile mind.

To give the center a proper kick-start, four great universities, the Grammy Museum, the Smithsonian Institution and the Kaiser Foundation are teaming up to host a combination of symposiums and concerts (think of them as Woody-Paloozas) throughout this centennial year. They begin this Saturday, March 10 at the University of Tulsa, then they move on down the road to Brooklyn College and on to the University of Southern California and Penn State University.

If Woody himself were to reappear among us, rambling from town to town, he wouldn’t need to write any new material. He’d see that the Wall Street banksters who crashed our economy are getting fat bonus checks, while the victims of their greed are still getting pink slips and eviction notices, and he could just pull out this verse from his old song, “Pretty Boy Floyd”:

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered, I’ve seen lots of funny men. Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life your travel, Yes, as through your life your roam, You won’t never see an outlaw Drive a family from their home.

Also, witnessing the downsizing of America’s jobs, decimation of the middle class and stark rise in poverty, Guthrie could reprise his classic, “I Ain’t Got No Home”:

I mined in your mines, and I gathered in your corn. I been working, mister, since the day I was born. Now I worry all the time like I never did before, ‘Cause I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.
Now as I look around, it’s mighty plain to see, This world is such a great and a funny place to be. Oh, the gamblin’ man is rich, an’ the workin’ man is poor, And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.

Guthrie unabashedly celebrated America’s working class, seeing in it the commitment to the common good that lifts America up.

He drove The Powers That Be crazy (a pretty short ride for many of them back then, just as it is today). So they branded him a unionist, socialist, communist and all sorts of other “ists” — but he withered them with humor that got people laughing at them: “I ain’t a communist necessarily, but I have been in the red all my life.”

Going down those “ribbons of highway” that he extolled in “This Land Is Your Land,” Guthrie found that the only real hope of fairness and justice was in the people themselves: “When you bum around for a year or two and look at all the folks that’s down and out, busted, disgusted (but can still be trusted), you wish that somehow or other they could … pitch in and build this country back up again.” He concluded, “There is just one way to save yourself, and that’s to get together and work and fight for everybody.”

And, indeed, that’s exactly what grassroots people are doing all across our country today. From Occupy Wall Street to the ongoing Wisconsin uprising, from battles against the Keystone XL Pipeline to the successful local and state campaigns to repeal the Supreme Court’s atrocious Citizens United edict, people are adding their own verses to Woody’s musical refrain: “I ain’t a-gonna be treated this a-way.”

Where’s Woody when we need him? He’s right there, inside each of us.

Find more information on Saturday’s Guthrie Centennial Celebration here.

© 2012 Creators Syndicate

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Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Pete Seeger at 90 May 3, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Peace.
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pete-seeger

by Peter Rothberg

Sunday, May 3, 2009,  The Nation

In January, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Pete Seeger was the oldest person to perform as part of Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities. 

Singing the “greatest song about America ever written” (Bruce Springsteen’s words) before 500,000 people live and tens of millions more on television, the then-89-year old legend crooned two little-known verses of his friend Woody Guthrie’s 1940 patriotic standard, “This Land is Your Land” — both about Depression-era poverty — restoring the song to its former glory over the sanitized version that ruled for too many years.

Over the course of a remarkable lifetime, Seeger has been an ambassador for peace, social justice and the best kind of patriotism. A uniquely American mix of blueblood and bluegrass — a product of Harvard University and the son of a violinist mother and musicologist father — Seeger has lived the story of the American left in the 20th century. The celebrations of his 90th birthday on Sunday offer a good opportunity to showcase and celebrate the causes to which he’s devoted his great life.

Defiantly leftist, pacifist–and for a decade or so, Communist–Seeger has embraced and supported virtually every major progressive advance of the 20th century. He’s sung and spoken out for organized labor, against McCarthyism, in support of racial justice, on behalf of nuclear abolition and against the Vietnam War; his voice put early wind into the sails of the environmental movement.

The right to dissent in a democracy has been a cornerstone of Seeger’s activism. In the fourth episode of the video series This Brave Nation Seeger talked about the infamous 1949 riot in Peekskill, NY, and the impact it made on his political development and commitment to free speech.

 

Seeger’s songs have engaged people, particularly the youth, to question the value of war, to ban nuclear weapons, to work for international solidarity and against racism wherever it is practiced, and to assume ecological responsibility.

A particular hero to the civil rights movement on whose behalf he’s worked so tirelessly, Seeger made his first trip south at the invitation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1956, and returned in ’65, again at King’s personal invitation, to join the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Amid the tension and heat, Seeger went from campfire to campfire when the marchers stopped for the night, raising morale with rollicking sing-alongs of new freedom songs.

Seeger also vigorously joined protests against the Vietnam war, playing countless benefits and protests and recording “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” the lyrics of which have renewed relevance today: “But every time I read the papers/That old feeling comes on/We’re waist deep in the Big Muddy/And the big fool says push on.”

Sometime soon after King’s assassination in 1968, Seeger began to focus his energies locally around the town of Beacon, New York and the notoriously polluted Hudson River. Gathering together friends and colleagues, he picked up a literal hammer, this time to build the sort of sailing ship that hadn’t been seen on the river in decades to raise consciousness of environmental issues. They named it the Clearwater. Seeger also established Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a group which sponsors annual eco-festivals and acts as a bulwark against polluters in the area. Today, people can swim in the Hudson again.

Seeger birthed a folk revival that remains strong and relevant, and the music he championed is still sung on marches and picket lines coast to coast. As he moves into his tenth decade, it’s worth celebrating the music he has made–and the changes he has helped to bring about.

Peter Rothberg writes the ActNow column for the The Nation. ActNow aims to put readers in touch with creative ways to register informed dissent. Whether it’s a grassroots political campaign, a progressive film festival, an antiwar candidate, a street march, a Congressional bill needing popular support or a global petition, ActNow will highlight the outpouring of cultural, political and anti-corporate activism sweeping the planet.

Voices of Resistance Sing On January 1, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Peace.
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odetta1

Dec 31, 2008, www.truthdig.com

By Amy Goodman

  Strong voices for peace have left us this year, people who used their art for social change, often at a high personal price.

  Odetta was a legendary folk singer of the civil rights movement.

  Considered the “Queen of American Folk Music,” Odetta introduced audiences worldwide to African-American folk, blues and gospel music.

  New Year’s Eve was her birthday. She would have been 78. When Rosa Parks was asked which songs meant the most to her, she replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.”

  Odetta sang “Oh, Freedom,” an African-American slave spiritual, at the 1963 March on Washington. Early on, she attracted the interest of Harry Belafonte and Pete Seeger. Her voice, her talent with the guitar and the natural style in which she maintained her hair—later to be dubbed “afro”—set her as an icon of the civil rights movement. She told an interviewer in 2003:

  “When I first started, I would sing these prison songs … it got to a point where doing the music actually healed me … it was music from those who went before. The music gave them strength, and the music gave us strength to carry it on.”

  She inspired Bernice Johnson Reagon, an early member of the SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) Freedom Singers. She had been suspended from college in Albany, Ga., for civil rights protests, then went on to Spelman College, where historian Howard Zinn and his wife, Roz, took her to folk music concerts by Joan Baez and Odetta.

  Reagon recalls the first time she heard Odetta:

  “In Georgia, where I grew up in the country, the roads were built by chain-gang labor. I knew the sound, because as the men worked, they sang. But I never thought I’d hear it coming from a concert stage … when she sang prison songs or work songs. … She was just what I needed to begin my life as a freedom fighter and as a Freedom Singer.”

  Reagon later went on to found the women’s a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock.

  Another great liberation singer we lost this year was Miriam Makeba of South Africa, known as “Mama Afrika.” She sang against apartheid, then went into exile for decades. Belafonte helped her, too, gain recognition.

  In 1968, she married SNCC-leader-turned-Black-Panther Stokely Carmichael, for which she was blacklisted in the U.S. until the 1980s.

  Soon after her death, I asked the Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu about Makeba. The South African archbishop smiled: “Her singing, her voice, helped many people to know a little bit more about the vicious apartheid system. She was just a tremendous human being, a great loss to us and to Africa.”

  Also blacklisted in 1968 was singer and actress Eartha Kitt, who died at age 81 on Christmas Day. In 1968, she was invited to a celebrity luncheon at the White House by Lady Bird Johnson, who asked Kitt about urban poverty. Kitt replied: “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. They rebel in the street. They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam.” The first lady reportedly burst into tears. For years afterward, Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas and was investigated by the FBI and CIA.

  Born out of the Deep South and South Africa, these women’s voices sang out, from concert halls to protest rallies. Another voice we just lost sang out from the written page. Harold Pinter died on Christmas Eve in London. Though too sick to travel to Stockholm to collect his Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, he sent a video address: “The majority of politicians … are interested not in truth but in power. … To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance. … What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies.” Pinter was referring to U.S. policy from Guantanamo to Iraq.

  As these icons are laid to rest, their voices continue to inspire millions. Barack Obama will soon take the reins of the most powerful nation on Earth, promising change. But it will now take the actions of those millions, heeding these echoes of the past and transforming them into their own voices, to effect real change.

  Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
 
  Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America. She was awarded the 2008 Right Livelihood Award, dubbed the “Alternative Nobel” prize, and received the award in the Swedish Parliament in December.

© 2008 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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