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Author Topic: Who are our present day troubadours?
sub lite
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8918

posted 24 April 2005 01:30 AM      Profile for sub lite   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Last night I was watching part 2 of a documentary series, "Get Up, Stand Up" (2003) (mini), and got to thinking. Well, thinking some more, about this topic.

The juxtaposition of music and politics (or political activism, for that matter) has always been of interest to me - I thought of writing my honours thesis on the topic, but gave up on that when I wasn't able to find many sources of information. I suppose it might be more a master's or PhD project - if only I had the time... but I digress.

Most of the bands and singers and songwriters profiled so far have been from the past [except for yesterday's, which had a brief moment looking at the protests leading up to the (current) Iraq War]. Familiar names like Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie, &tc. Yes, many of these artists are still with us, many still active in their fields (but not all).

My question is, who are the current voices of our time? The young ones, taking up the torch, as it were. Technology and the distribution of songs and music has changed, so music both reaches a larger audience and at the same time is restricted by niches. The Music Industry has received lots of criticism about lack of innovation. Yet, there are still many talented artists out there. Who are today's equivalent to the folkies? Are they folkies as well? Are they voices within 'popular' music? Are they more obscure, 'outside' the 'system' as it were?

(As a slight aside: Another documentary I quite enjoyed when I saw it a few years ago was Stand and Be Counted (2000) (TV). Anyone know how to find these on DVD or video?)


From: Australia via the Canadian Wet Coast | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
catje
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posted 24 April 2005 02:42 AM      Profile for catje     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's true, music is less monolithic than it was a few decades ago, but I think there are a lot of artists out there saying the same things in different genres. Even Tom Waits threw a few anti-war songs on his latest album ['Hoist that Rag' and 'Day After Tomorrow']

The first 'big name' outspoken musicians with social consciences that come to mind for me are of course Ani Difranco, who has worked directly with some of those older 'troubadours' like Utah Phillips, and Michael Franti [of Spearhead, formerly one of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy] who also co-narrated 'This is What Democracy Looks Like' and the new 'Fourth World War'. Then I get into the local stuff because that's really what I know. Ndidi Cascade, whose day job involves working with disadvantaged youth. 1990s Kinnie Starr, but not as much now. I think there's a lot more good political hip hop out there that I just don't know because I don't pay enough attention to hip hop. It's where the talkers are going now, and a lot of talkers are thinkers.

From the folk side, Chris Chandler is a mad ranting vagabond genius on a mission who should be much more famous than he is. C.R. Avery will preach the revolution from anywhere he can when he's not beatboxing into a harmonica, and Bob Wiseman atonally whines about Leonard Peltier and McDonald's.

Folk festivals are still a great place to find these people, and the big ones aren't just 'folk' anymore . . .

Good luck in your search. There's some great stuff out there.


From: lotusland | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 24 April 2005 01:00 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mixing music and politics can make for some excellent stuff (a la many of the people listed above), or some really awful music. For awhile I avoided political music for that reason, but I'm coming back around more recently.
From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 24 April 2005 01:16 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for providing me another opportunity to plug my favourite troubadour:

David Rovics

Feel free to download his music - he encourages it.

He also provides translations of his lyrics in French.

quote:
Qui Jésus bombarderait-il ?
David Rovics

Je vous ai vus au marché
Je vous ai vus dans la rue
Dans vos congrès politiques
Parler de votre croisade
Parler de votre nation
Et d,autres choses trop terribles pour être mentionnées
Et vous vous proclamez Chrétiens
Proclamez votre foi en Dieu
Vous parlez de tarte aux pommes et de votre mère
Mais j’ai une question pour vous
Et je voudrais une réponse
Dites-mois : qui Jésus bombarderait-il ?

Peut-être que Jésus bombarderait les Syriens
Parce qu’ils ne sont pas Juifs comme lui
Peut-être que Jésus bombarderait les Afghans
Sur une sorte de coup de tête vengeur
Peut-être que Jésus conduirait un M1 tank
Et tirerait sur Saddam
Dites-moi, qui Jésus bombarderait-il ?



From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Reverend Blair
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posted 24 April 2005 05:40 PM      Profile for Reverend Blair   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Steve Earle has always been very political Check out The Revolution Starts Now.

David Rovics has already been mentioned.

Dave Crossland has quite a few songs that are political.

Eric Schwartz uses humour with his politics.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Drinkmore
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posted 24 April 2005 05:45 PM      Profile for Drinkmore     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How about Brian Byrne or Timothy Cameron?
From: the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Drinkmore
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posted 24 April 2005 05:49 PM      Profile for Drinkmore     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And there's always Psychopathos.

[ 24 April 2005: Message edited by: Drinkmore ]


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Papal Bull
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posted 24 April 2005 05:56 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Punk music.

You either get grungy politically charged and angry punk. Punk that has messages in it. You can get it from the fascists to communists. It's absolutely stunning how diversified (and generally terrible) punk music can be. But those bands are the ones that touch most politically ative kids.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
sub lite
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posted 24 April 2005 11:26 PM      Profile for sub lite   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks all for your suggestions. I will be making a list and checking this out.

quote:
Originally posted by Papal Bull:
Punk music.

You either get grungy politically charged and angry punk. Punk that has messages in it. You can get it from the fascists to communists. It's absolutely stunning how diversified (and generally terrible) punk music can be. But those bands are the ones that touch most politically ative kids.


*looks suspiciously at Papal Bull* You sound very much like one of my political science professors from second year...

Further question: is there an anthem for our times? Like, how "We Shall Overcome" was sung (and continues to be sung, for that matter) during the 1960s Civil Rights movement in the USA?

I would argue that it's, well, not impossible, but extremely difficult to pin down a single song when there are so many situations in need of awareness. Perhaps, then, for specific situations? Yikes, I'm not sure what I'm asking anymore. And if anyone else has any other music they would like to recommend, feel free to continue.


From: Australia via the Canadian Wet Coast | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
catje
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posted 29 April 2005 01:22 AM      Profile for catje     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by sub lite:

Further question: is there an anthem for our times? Like, how "We Shall Overcome" was sung (and continues to be sung, for that matter) during the 1960s Civil Rights movement in the USA?


Y'know, that's what always gets me at protests these days. Nobody knows the same songs. People are even a little shaky on 'solidarity forever' et al. Of course, music is so diverse these days that sometimes people around a campfire don't know the same songs either.

demonstrations these days are mostly full of chants like "hey hey, ho ho, [insert problem here] has got to go", or, one of the better ones rythmically: "there ain't no power like the power of the people 'cause the power of the people don't stop". I don't know enough about musical notation to do that one justice, but you can hear it, and many others, [including Anne Feeney's "Been to Jail for Justice" in This is What Democracy Looks Like which I mentioned above, a film of and about the WTO protests in Seattle. Nice interviews with Vandana Shiva, too.


From: lotusland | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged

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