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Start 2014 with some conscious dance! Mixing passionate, compassionate dance releases from 2013 together with the hearts and voices of indigenous resistance in South America, and some truly powerful spoken word. From champeta to cumbia to funk to hip hop - featuring two new spoken word albums in English, from Denice Frohman and upcoming from Anthony Joseph, classics from the Rebelsounds / Latino Resiste EZLN 20 Years compilation and from the chicano poets of the 1990s, Ruta Panamericana del Sonido’s excursion into Bolivia, the Inside Job from Barcelona’s Professor Angel Sound, nu cumbia from the States and Argentina, a rap collaboration between Colombia and Guinea/France, Amerindian and African roots out of Madrid. Music and story as uniting and empowering force - the word, the silence, the global dance poetic.
Ovni Guarajé - Interludio
Subcomandante Marcos - The Word and the Silence
Ovni Guarajé - Caminito de Belen
Dj Quien - Sin Pasaporte
Sandra C. Muñoz - Free Metal Woman
Indigenous Resistance & Asian Dub Foundation - Esta Tierra No se Vende (No le tenemos miedo a los gases) Jamaican Mix
Christian Ramírez - El Mar Y El Muro
Dj Subversivo - La Marcha de la Dignidad
DubConscious - Inna Different Light (El Guero Unico Remix)
Denice Frohman - Underdogs
Los Cojolites - Luna Negra (Uproot Andy Remix)
Pimentón - La gata bajo la lluvia
Ovni Guarajé - Mi Primavera
Taco Shop Poets - Silencio Pregunto
Oye!Simpson - Voodun Snuffbox
Anthony Joseph - Archeology
Subverso & Portavoz - Lo que no voy a decir
Alguacil & Lyricson - Refugiados
Professor Angel Sound - Inside Job (Sabo & Melo Remix)
Denice Frohman - Accents
K I T (Kuenta I Tambú) - Zunta Zunta (feat. Elia Isenia)
Ovni Guarajé - (Wake Up)
Notes on the show
Twenty years on from the emergence out of the Mexican jungle of a small group of campesinos to inspire the rest of the world to resist the corruption of governments and corporations, the resistance continues. In fact, this same kind of resistance to the corruption of basic quality of life for peoples, for farmers, for anyone who lives by choice or situation outside the system, is spreading. Through the power of social media the voices of resistance can be heard around the world.
The voice of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation Subcomandante Marcos or Delegate Zero, we have featured before, in the 14th dance, but here he is back to voice the fundamental message of resistance - speaking and listening, the word and the silence.
Also in this podcast, poetically, Chicano poet Sandra C. Muñoz’ poem Free Metal Woman (resisting the inherent violence in objectifying women in male-dominated culture) and Christian Ramírez El Mar Y El Muro (the sea and the wall - for those literally and figuratively struggling with borders). Both Chicano poets from the Raza Spoken Here collective. Plus, The Taco Shop Poets question the silences in love, from their Chorizo Tonguefire release. If you're familiar with this blog and my mixes you'll know these poets.
Two new spoken word albums I want to note here straight up:
American poet Denice Frohman is an award-winning poet, lyricist, and educator, whose multicultural upbringing inspires her to explore the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and the “in-betweeness” that exists in us all. She is the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, making her the #1 female ranked spoken word poet in the world. Last year Denice got together with Dominique Christina for a tour as Sister Outsider, the first time two Women of the World Poetry Slam Champions have paired up. Denice writes and speaks about the borders that divide us, whether real or actual, giving voice to those on the fringes of society who are silenced. Her debut CD Feels Like Home was released late in 2013. It's a solid collection of passionate spoken word poetry, song and particularly a gorgeous piece Abuela's Dance which I've featured in some chill sets for radio here in Melbourne over the new year. In LDP 16, we hear Accents and Underdogs - her voice up, passionate and loud.
Anthony Joseph is a great poet, and I really mean he touches greatness, as a lyricist, educator and philosopher. Born in Port of Spain, Anthony has lived in London since the late 80s. He's published four volumes of poetry and a novel, and recently a biography of Lord Kitchener, icon of Trinidadian calypso. I've featured his work with Mop Mop in previous podcasts and posts. He has a new album coming out, his fifth. Time (you can pre-order it right now in iTunes, click on the picture for the link) is a collaboration with the brilliant New York-based bassist and singer Meshell Ndegeocello (remember If That's Your Boyfriend He Wasn't Last Night..? still so good!). Meshell's arrangements cover many spectrums, from jazz through funk psychedelia, to rapso on the track Kezi (a mix of calypso and rap). Time is a very accomplished album, both musically and poetically. Anthony's poetry covers many deep concerns from revolutionary stories to the quiet (and no-so-quiet) revolutionary lives of women - including the moving track Girl With A Grenade inspired by Malala Yousafzai. In this podcast we take Archeology - digging into the human journey from Africa to the Americas, following the flow of oceans and us, teaching unity through connection, with utterly profound insights.
"They knew that if you threw a stone from Sierra Leone, it would bloom into islands."
Rebelsounds and Latino Resiste gave us a wonderful new years' gift with the free download release EZLN: 20 Years. This is collection goes deep, all tracks best exemplifying the political power of music and the dance. I'm going to quote direct now from Latino Resiste, perfectly expressing the background of all of this:
For many of you, the Zapatista is just a part of the iconography that has been going around from actually mid 90’s and slowly got into a more fashionist way of being rebellious.
For many of those who were in the actual jungle, 20 years ago, it was their time to face the biggest enemy any indigenous group can handle: Their own government. It is amazing how just few hundred of campesinos (farmers) who are direct descendants of the Indigenous tribes that once populated the whole American continent achieved to get a highlight in their struggles in a pre-social media era, putting in evidence the corruption and mischievous way of governments to treat their aboriginal communities. The Zapatista represented not only the Mexicans; they represented the whole continent’s struggles.
20 years ago, the whole planet moved even for a slip of a second to that jungle, and the gov, didn’t have any other choice that listen to their demands, because they knew everyone was paying attention. Back in those days ; many artists decided to paint a musical landscape in support of that community. Jungle, Mestizo, Cumbia, and Rock-grunge were killing it. So the first musical compilations that supported EZLN, came from that direction, bands like Rage against the Machine, Manu Chao, Asian Dub Foundation, Fermin Muguruza, Sergent Garcia, and many more decided to add their music and got inspired by their fight.
Fast forward to 2014.
The campesinos struggles are exactly in the same spot. Although many things changed, and let’s be fair; In many ways, there had been a slight improvement; In reality; 20 years after, the power pyramid remains intact. New struggles came in these 2 decades, from cultural appropriation to Land given to the corporations for mining purposes, to the actual selective killing of Indigenous political members; these communities keep facing five centuries of oppression. We also now have learned we are not going to win, or change anything drastically in the political landscape of these countries. But we bet all of our efforts to let the system know, that we will do anything in our power to reverse these situations. There have been many small changes all separated, that when you add them up, they create a whole context for the Indigenous communities and empower them. From the Bolivian refusal of using genetic modified seeds, and kicking out McDonalds, to the name drop of a local sport team in Canada in where a disrespectful name and mascot made very uncomfortable aboriginals and their families; to the actual legal fights in Brazil for the Amazon territories passing thru Colombian or Chilean strikes, this Zapatista fight represent everyone! Not just the Mexican, but the whole continent. And we needed to be consequent with today’s musical landscape, but we still need to keep a tight relation with the initial movement and their supporters since day one. That is why we are extremely happy to announce for the first time ever, we can get together pioneers and current legends, as well as a whole bunch of big names, and obviously in Latino Resiste style unveiling unknown producers, but equally talented. Because this is not about names, this is about the fight, the struggles; it is about connecting young people, of this moment of history, with this particular issue.
It is something, to think about 20 years. But of course, it's not just 20 years - it's hundreds of years. Hundreds of years of indigenous struggle agains opportunistic intruders. And we look at our world today, and the opportunists have got connected with the governments and governments have got connected with the money, and the police force's hand is heavier than ever. The opportunists are bigger, stronger, and the destruction is wider. But the indigenous communities have got connected too, and there is definitely cause for hope with the new tools of communication, combined with the innovation of thinking people. I believe strongly that music and poetry - and all art - is a huge factor in the range and potential success of community resistance. There is immense strength in creative communication. Hearing it all put together in this compilation has been an energising way to start this year. So power to the EZLN, to the struggle!
Now to more of the great music in this podcast, featuring many voices of many united struggles, and the poetry of the rallying cry - and not forgetting the love song of course, our fuel.
The Ruta Panamericana del Sonido collections are excellent conscious collections of bass music from across South America. In May, Caballo and Chong X gave us Bass en las Alturas - an alliance between Latino Resiste and the Bolivian Bass scene. The trip, as Caballo says, "started a-la Che Guevara, is not political oriented, but it does have a very political intention: trying to unveil the Urban Culture and Music from each country 'La Panamericana' crosses by." A fully collaborative project with the collective Oi Mas Bass (in this podcast we have DJ Quien, the director) not any kind of 'overview' or 'flyby', these are bass collaborations with great intention and purpose. Caballo and Chong X have already taken us to Argentina, Chile and Peru - all collections are available as free downloads - more from Latino Resiste.
Ovni Guarajé's Don De Maya was released February 2013 and it's one of my favourite releases of the year. Cumbia, Amerindian and African roots out of Madrid, featuring cuban born lyricist Laura Lima and the great El Meditador, DJ Caution, El Chojin, and Afro Colombian percussion from William Carreazo. Ovni Guarajé, a "spaceship which makes the feet move fusing rhythms and cultures, savouring Cumbia, connecting with the Sun and the stars. Ovni Guarajé is the ritual of definitive reconciliation in which poetry, music, tradition and modernity dance together with the same steps towards happiness." I feature a few tracks in this show, mainly because I just can't deny the joy in this music, and the great uniting energy of it!
Que Bajo label’s first release in 2013 was Uproot Andy's Worldwide Ting Vol.1 (their second, Worldwide Ting Vol.2!) An EP of five different musical styles from five different countries, from Colombia's Grupo Socavon to highlife from Nigeria, and Mahendra Kapoor from India. In the show, his very very cool remix of Luna Negra from Mexico's Los Cojolites flows right through the middle of the hour.
From the nu-cumbia side of things, some sweetness from El Güero Único, his remix of Dub Concious’ Inna Different Light adds some tumbleweed guitar taking the dub into cinematic territory … from the Remix EP released by Boom One in November. Dubconscious have been making funky, psychedelic Dub Reggae for more than a decade. Based in the Southeast U.S., primarily Georgia, they're known for their layered, massive dub sound, socio/politico/eco awareness, and collaborations across the musical board. This EP features remixes also from Damo Naimad, Alejandro Cassis and Righteous Dub.
Some love from Buenos Aires, via the band Pimentón, La gata bajo la lluvia (the cat in the rain) Taken from their May album Electrocachengue. Pimentón is passionate vocalist Ivanna Colonna Olse, with Juan Marnich, Patricio Smink and Bret Alexander Schvarztman. Latin rhythms, a vibrant mix of rock, cumbia, dub, hip hop and electronics, with romantic canción.. love drives our revolution, so it is important to give over the dance to love as well!!
Released through The Global Bass Experience, a late-2013 release taking nu-cumbia into some funky territory, as well as some heavier punk and drum n bass territory - organically! Oye!Simpson is from the States, not only a producer and DJ but a multi-instrumentalist - on his EP Corbeau he is playing all instruments, creating all melodies. Thanks to TGBE for this release! You can get it there.
To Chile, with a formidable, conscious rap and moving video. Lo que no voy a decor’ (what I will not say) This collaboration between SubVerso and Portavoz reminds us of the power of words and beats, and the commitment of artists to their beliefs in social justice. The song is an expression of the social problems experienced in Chile, with the privatisation of education and the commodification of society, everyday police abuse, growing inequality, discrimination, repression and criminalization of the Mapuche people, and the destruction of the ecosystems of the country for the profit of multinational companies. The rap recounts the historical struggle of the Mapuche people, their respect for land and culture, language and community.
They say: "The rap has emerged as an alternative means of expression of this reality that appears manipulated and censored by the mega media. 'En silencio sabemos lo que somos: si águila, cisne, venado o puma ... 'In silence we know what we are : if eagle, swan, deer or cougar'"
Released as video early in 2013. Watch it here:
Another video I'd like to share, if you haven't seen it yet - I wanted to include this song in the podcast but somehow I managed to leave it out. Many artists got together to form a peaceful protest against the treatment of farmers, crops and land in Colombia, and made this video. It's brilliant, it's beautiful, it's full of joy and truth, and just think about it for a moment - this struggle is about the right to peacefully and authentically grow your own fresh, healthy, organic food without interference. Can it get more simple? Can it get more important? This affects all of us, everywhere. Watching this video fills me with both hope and fear. Mostly hope. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/yoquieropapaconyuca The video:
And another video, bringing some garage dub hip hop ... just arrived early 2014 is a collaboration between Colombia's Aguacil and Guinea/France's Lyricson. Dedicated to all refugees in Colombia and the world, and everyone who has suffered forced displacement. I write about this a lot, and I think about this a lot, because displacement is something that affects many of my friends and it is something that we as a planet will be facing more and more in years to come. And it is all related - globalised commodification of resources, mining and monoculture displaces communities, creates refugees. We are all connected, we all create consequence. Artists like Lyricson speak the struggle far more eloquently than I can, so watch:
Barcelona, via a Panamanian prison cell ... Inside Job - the Sabo and Melo Remix comes from Professor Angel Sound’s EP released by Sol*Selectas in 2013. Angel Francisco López, aka Professor Angel Sound, was a prominent DJ and promoter in Barcelona when he was forced to act as a drug mule on his return home from a gig in Panama and was subsequently busted and incarcerated in a Panamanian prison. He got involved in the prison's Rehabilitation Through Music program and began making moombahton beats from his cell. The Inside Job track was produced from a prison sell, but it also deeply references the releasing and liberating power of music. The whole thing was created with Angel's fellow inmates, including the chaotic recreation of a Panamanian robbery scene. Angel Sound was released in 2013 and is back in Barcelona, reunited with his family.
We close the show, before Ovni Guarajé's topical Wake Up outro, with the formidable voice of Elia Isenia, Dutch Caribbean singer, composer, storyteller. Zunta Zunta has been remixed by Amsterdam's Kuenta i Tambu (K I T) a group mixing up the chant and rhythm, drum and electronics from the Afro Caribbean, Curaçao heritage, with European dance music, creating what they call Tambutronic (the rhythm of the Tambú is "the voice of the oppressed, the sound of freedom and the rhythm of joyous celebration"). Kuenta i Tambu translates to “Stories and Drums” from Papiamentu, which is the native language of the Dutch Caribbean islands Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire. Their album Tambutronic released in October. Full of great percussive pieces - with the voice as percussion also, something I want to explore more in future mixes.
Closing the dance on an energised note, and that's how I want to go this year, with the resolution to speak, to listen, to dance, to love, and with the hope that we can all join together in the word and the silence, and build our energies, and build the resistance!