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Poetry and Music

aburukuwa

Losing My Religion (by André Moncourt)

Recently one of those issues that arises constantly to tangle up leftists and liberals reared its head in my little world.  Some folks (all of European decent) in a band I know were in the studio and someone proposed using an aburukuwa, a Ghanian drum, I am told, to get just the right sound.  One of the young men in the band objected that that was “cultural appropriation.”

Although people who use this term rarely take time to define it, I presume that the issue with cultural appropriation is the apparent commodification of an oppressed culture’s artefacts to the advantage ...........READ MORE

Are Beethoven’s African Origins Revealed By His Music?

There are two reasons he was careful to organize his image for posterity. First, he must have thought that the rumours and social pressures existing during his lifetime would continue immediately after his death. What would have happened if in the 19th Century, historiography had discovered this deception? The risk was that his music would no longer be played. He had spent his life convincing the public to believe that he had only European origins. After composing one of the most important monuments of the history of art and the human spirit, he wished above all that his work would ...........READ MORE

Poison Girls

Poison Girls preforming at the squatted Zig Zag Club
in London, December 1982 (photo: G. Burnett)

The Poison Girls were a British anarcho-punk band, at one point a part of that scene around Crass. The female singer, Vi Subversa, wrote songs that kicked patriarchy in the teeth, bringing the kind of punk energy associated with “anarcho-punk” to bear on women’s experiences and struggles. From what i understand, Vi got turned on to punk when two of her kids formed their own band (The Fatal Microbes – they went on to be half of Rubella Ballet) – she figured this was ...........READ MORE

Windi Earthworm, Ragged Clown

Windi Earthworm was an institution of the radical anglo left in 1980s Montreal. A crossdressing openly gay street musician who took it upon himself to educate the public about the Vancouver 5, the genocide of Indigenous peoples, the destruction of nature, and the miseries of life under capitalism, Windi was a frequent performer at benefits put on by the scene. Indeed, generally he was by far the most popular act.

Windi was diagnosed HIV+ in the mid-eighties, and had moved to the countryside by 1986 – and when his health started to noticeably deteriorate, he left Quebec for the West ...........READ MORE

Newport 63: With God on Our Side

I can’t sing “John Johanna” cause it’s his story and his people’s story – I gotta sing “With God On My Side” because it’s my story and my people’s story – – Bob Dylan

The “social patriotism” that had inspired activists in the first half of the sixties came to seem naive or worse, and the radical analysis and uncompromising contempt of songs like “With God on Our Side” more truthful, politically and emotionally. – Mike Marqusee, Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan’s Art ...........READ MORE

playingguitar

There’s a Fire Truck on My Ceiling: Windi Earthworm Remembered

Windi Earthworm was an institution of the radical anglo left in 1980s Montreal. A crossdressing openly gay street musician who took it upon himself to educate the public about the Vancouver 5, the genocide of Indigenous peoples, the destruction of nature, and the miseries of life under capitalism, Windi was a frequent performer at benefits put on by the scene. Indeed, generally he was by far the most popular act.

Windi Earthworm, photo by François COUTURE, circa 1979

 

 

Michael Ryan has written the following about Windi, who died of AIDS in 1993:

There’s a Fire Truck on My ...........READ MORE

[Movie Review] Songbirds, a Musical Documentary about Women in Prison

Songbirds, a film by Brian Hill
lyrics by Simon Armitage, music by Simon Boswell
UK / 2005 / Betacam / 62 min / english
Contact: Sue Collins, Century Films, Studio 32, Clink Street Studios, 1 Clink Street, Londres SE19DG Angleterre. T: +44-207-378-6106 F: +44-207-407-6711 | sue.collins@centuryfilmsltd.com | www.centuryfilmsltd.com

i saw Songbirds somewhat by accident. It was on a double-bill with Cottonland, a film about drug addiction in Cape Breton Island. Cottonland was so good that i would have left the theatre right away to gather my thoughts and write a review, but i had bumped into friends and so ...........READ MORE