Get up, stand up! Music of resistance and revolution

Posted on January 24th, 2017 in Features, Recent posts by .

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Trump’s to blame. Or at least, he’s one of the reasons why we’re devoting the latest issue to the power of music and its ability to unite rather than divide people. The music we cover in Songlines is often far more than pure entertainment. Yes, it can make you smile, want to dance, or reduce you to tears. But there’s also a galvanising force about music that means it can be used as a powerful weapon in political and social activism – precisely why oppressive regimes tend to ban or censor it.

This month on the Songlines website we’ll be championing and celebrating those musicians who have stuck their necks out and sung out about social injustices, crimes and civil rights. We’ve gathered together several classic features from the Songlines archive that shine a light on a few of today’s most compelling voices of resistance. The revolution begins here!

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aziza-brahim-resistance

The Western Sahara has been the subject of  dispute for many decades. One of its most eloquent activists and singers, Aziza Brahim, talks to Violeta Ruano about life in exile and how music and politics are inseparable.

Read: ‘Aziza Brahim – voice of the resistance’

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essential-10-protest-singers

Only the bravest artists take on the biggest enemies. Chris Moss singles out the main role models for today’s young, wannabe revolutionary musicians.

Read: ‘Essential 10: protest singers’

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fela-kuti-beginners-guide

Nigel Williamson introduces Fela Kuti – a true original: ‘Never have life, politics, art and music been so inextricably linked together in one incendiary, insurrectionary and highly danceable package’.

Read: ‘Fela Kuti – a beginner’s guide’

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smockey-rap-revolution

In Burkina Faso music is at the heart of a movement that last year chased an autocrat from power. Bram Posthumus finds out how hip-hop artist and activist Smockey used rap and reggae to change the country’s political course.

Read: ‘Smockey and the rap revolution’

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sweet-liberties-web

Two pivotal anniversaries in democratic history have been marked in a song project called Sweet Liberties. Julian May gets a history lesson from singers Maz O’Connor, Nancy Kerr and Martyn Joseph.

Read: ‘Sweet Liberties – the voices of democracy’

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Tanya-Tagaq-polar-storm

Canada’s most famous Inuit throat singer, Tanya Tagaq, has been stunning audiences since first collaborating with Björk. Marc Fournier witnesses the unforgettable live experience and finds out about her revolutionary ideals.

Read: Tanya Tagaq – Polar Storm’

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dakhabrakha-revolution

The current turmoil in Ukraine is providing a fertile ground for some of the country’s musicians. Peter Culshaw travels to Kiev, the stricken capital, and talks to DakhaBrakha, one of the leading players.

Read: ‘DakhaBrakha – sound of a revolution’

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