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There is great local work that is done all around the country in UK and probably everywhere that needs more support to get through the local bureaucracies to get out into schools, libraries and inform cultural events. Here’s  a sample from my area led by Sean Creighton.

“Musical Heritage. The recognition of the importance of Croydon’s heritage is recognised (Plan. p.15). However, this section is flawed and superficial. I urged the Cabinet of 20 June 2016 to ensure that the report Towards a Cultural Programme for Croydonshould recognise ‘heritage as a major component of culture and as a stimulus to cultural activities and tourism’.  The Plan report is particularly weak on the history of the musical heritage. The fact that famous performers like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones performed at venues like Fairfield Halls, is important and interesting, but they were just passing through. It ignores the rich classical and folk scenes. There is no mention of the classical composers Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and William Hurlestone who grew up in Croydon and ran musical events involving local musical talents like the Petherick sisters. Nor does it mention other residents such as Ralph Reader (Gang Shows),  Kathy Stobbart (jazz saxophonist), and Ewan McCall and Peggy Seeger (folk singers nor the musical importance of the National College of the Blind. Nor does it mention the rich music hall history or the way in which music was central to the social and public activities of the wide range of faith, charitable, labour movement, friendly society, and faith organisations, and of campaigners such as the suffragists and suffragettes. There is no excuse for this, given that some of the detail has been written about in Croydon Citizen, given the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor year long Festival in 2012 organised by Jonathan Butcher with the help of Surrey Opera and the Borough based Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network, and the Petherick family exhibition at the Museum.

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/talented-pethericks-family-album

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/rich-stories-fairfield-halls

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/samuel-coleridge-taylor-croydon-music-scene

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/discovering-selhursts-history-part-2

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/samuel-coleridge-taylor-remembered

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/politics-culture-remembering-paul-robeson

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/keep-singing-along-pete-seeger

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/samuel-coleridge-taylor-civil-rights-movement

Of course there is also much recent EDM  and Grime history relating to the area, especially Thornton Heath, where I live that is not yet recorded…

 

Sentenced to a year in prison for insulting the police in this video. This is the fate of the Moroccan rapper Gnawi. I’m looking for an English translation for the Lyrics.

“Young people make up a third of Morocco’s 35 million inhabitants. A quarter of those aged between 15 and 24 are unemployed and out of school, according to official figures.”

I have to admire the guts of this guy – Mr.Guti . Apparently Basra is run by gangs and it is somewhere you can be in danger if you espouse western modernist forms in public. I saw a programme on Youtube influencers in Iraq the other night. One has been killed and another, in Bagdad, was running a legal  battle against people threatening her (which she was winning!) and had to live almost in isolation with her daughter. These people are fighting for basic freedom of expression which we take for granted. This was in Baghdad which is reckoned to be generally much safer to live an and more stable than Basra.

The video above start in Arabic and then about half way there is an version in English. The lyrics area protest a bout the desperate poverty of the mass of people…

For more see:

http://www.studentnewspaper.org/iraqi-influencers-are-risking-their-lives-to-fight-for-womens-rights/

The algorithms that select material for me to see on my social media have somehow not come up with the name of Raja Meziane. In spite of my having just spend a week in ESAD Valence in France with some immigrants from Algeria making an Agit Disco Dispersal. It took the state controlled BBC to tell me that Raja has become the ‘sound of the youth revolution’ in Algeria with 35 million views on YouTube this year…

Despite failing to secure a record deal in Algeria, she has continued to post her anti-government songs online.

She was forced to emigrate a few years ago and lives in Prague where she is studying International Law as well as continuing to record. She is one the BBC’s 100 Influential Women of 2019.

Last night I heard this singer on Radio 6 on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone programme.

Lingua Ignota is a classically trained singer who, after as that in life as a Catholic chorister, got into noise music. But now is bringing all her experience together in an album about her experience of domestic abuse. She’s really thought about the issue, and speaks articulately about its many facets, but the tracks of her latest album are all about communicating the pure pain, and lasting trauma that it leaves in the victim. Somehow noise music plus her complex overtone singing seem perfect for representing trauma, Still, its not easy to listen to!

https://linguaignota.bandcamp.com

“CALIGULA, the new album by LINGUA IGNOTA plunges into the ocean with the visionary force of the 12th century mystic who inspired it”

“The unsayable, the unspeakable, the traumatic repressed has become, over the last two years, and perhaps more than any other contemporary artist, the theme and keynote of Kristin Hayter’s music.”

from Robert Barry’s review in the Quietus

I’m wary of the way people like Diamanda Galás appeal to the political right, with the allure of unhinged violence that has parted company with any restrain or moral compass.  But hearing Kristin talk about how this was based on her own experience of being abused at the hands of a widely admired member of the left community she lived in, you have to consider that this is an art version of the screams that must accompany any expression of the experience of extremes of abuse suffered by anyone. I do believe that far-right people have actually experienced harsh cruelty, usually when they are young, that disconnects them from human empathy in a way that exceeds that of everyday oppressors.

Her intense pain is like that that must drive other people to commit suicide, and or plotting to harm others. Lily-livered people like myself really find it scary but that’s the point I suppose.

“Northampton-based rapper Slowthai caused the biggest stir by performing with a dummy of Boris Johnson’s severed head, which he held aloft as he performed Doorman, a track about wealth disparity in modern Britain. … he explained the song, like the rest of his album, aimed to give a voice to “the people from small communities that have been forgotten about”.

“It’s time to let people in,” he said.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49754224

Paper cutting from 20th May – Manic Street Preachers. Song from 1999…

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I’ve never been a Manics listener, but this caught my eye as of obv Agit Disco classic. And as it plays my 14 year old daughter calls out ‘One of my favourite bands’. They do really they have place in importance in British/ Welsh working class musical history.

Considering the fight against fascism we are again faced with…

I’ll start by saying that I am an ideal reader for this book – its like it was written for me. Whether it’s down to my teenage empathy with country blues, record collecting, the hi-fi enthusiasm, the field recording fetish, or the suburban childhood. I’ve read some William Burroughs, idolised Brion Gysin and heard Bob Cobbings perform concrete poetry in a small room in London. Then there was the work of Pierre Schaeffer and R. Murray Schafer that I was in awe of at a distance.

The obsession with the ‘authentic’ black solo blues musicians from the first half of the C20th was a huge part of my UK early Sixties Mod culture and through people like John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers, it led to the volcanic rise of British R&B that proceeded to world dominance. The old blues singers got almost nothing – perhaps a European tour if they were the later generation and in good health. I saw Sonny Boy Williams 2nd close up in a pub in Chertsey c 1965. 

This book provides a critical analysis of what was going on with that. Simplistic conclusions there are not. Relief! My own rationalisation of our blues obsession is based on my British history, which is not Seth’s in this book. Mine was that British working class culture was wiped out in certain aspirational sections of the population, to the point at which many of our families stopped singing, and into that terrible void, blues expressed something deeply felt but un-articulated by bodies such as the Labour Party, about cultural oppression. I’m not saying there was an equivalence or anything. And it does beg the questions of the crass exploitation of the labour of those bluesman. (even if they got to cut a disc of their song, they might have been the lucky few as Kunzru points out… young American Negros were being regularly forced into labour and arbitrarily killed during the period in question.)

And of course folk and blues songs were passed around and changed before the rise of printed music copyright laws. So it seems fine for Kunzru to mix lyrics from the rebel versions of songs such as the classic John Henry;

“John Henry told his captain,

A man ain’t nothing but a man.

Before I’d let you beat me down,

I’d die with the hammer in my hand.”

Or Jim Jacksons recording of:

‘I’m Gonna Start Me A Graveyard Of My Own’ 1927

“This song is at least as old as 1900; Billy Cheatham, who is not known to have recorded, was performing it live in that year. If the 1930 census was right, Jim was 24 years old in 1900.” Brazilian Atlantis from comments. 

The background is heartless profiteering – capitalism. Transmorgrified from brazen slavery and forced labour into industrial scale incarceration.  The children of those slave/bourgeois prison owners choose between a heartless existence as family firm executives or to ‘rebel’ as whimsical artists on a parental leash – here shown as without much talent.

Kunzru’s insight into the  discordance of inter-class dialogue is unnerving. The picture of how powerful are the forces that appear out of the social ether if you take a path of non-compliance dramatises something that is usually only inchoately felt. The class analysis is incisive in instances such as the way the captains of industry use the legal system to produce seamless class separation, And to deadly effect!.

I gave up writing this review at this stage, after going on Goodreads I realised there is no chance of anyone reading it at this stage with over 1000 other reviews! But in case your wondering I’m recommending this book its serious literature mind, its gets tough, the language goes through some choppy waters, but that is all in the cause of wringing a deeper truth from the subject matter. This book is about my experience.

Abdurehim Heyit

May his music not be forgotten!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdurehim_Heyit

depthsofhell

1979 album cover

Podcast here

 Late but great Agit Disco ‘playlist’?!

Alan Dein writes: “Aleksander Kulisiewicz spent six years in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, imprisoned soon after the Nazi invasion and their attempted destruction of Poland. In the camp he found a unique role both as a composer and living tape recorder of the world of the unfree and the damned. Blessed with a photographic memory, prisoners, many of whom knew they were to be killed, would ask him to remember their songs. Songs of resistance and defiance, songs of love and home, songs that captured the brutality of life and death in the camps. He would also write 50 of his own songs. Performances would take place in secret, at night, away from the eyes of the SS. Kulisiewicz survived a death march at the war’s end and recovered to become the foremost chronicler, in song, of the world of the Concentration Camps. He would obsessively document memories and songs until the end of his life in 1982. In the 1960s he became an unlikely attraction in festivals of folk song for youth rebelling against the silence of their parents generation. Strumming his guitar liberated from Sachsenhausen, performing in his camp uniform, Kulisiewicz would sing his songs from the depths of hell.”