When in 2018 Egyptian musician Ramy Essam published the music video to his single “Balaha”, Egyptian authorities arrested the poet behind the lyrics, the music video director and Essam’s former social media manager.
Essam is well known for his participation in the protests of 2011 after writing the song “Irhal” which became an anthem for the revolution. During the protests he was arrested and tortured by Egyptian authorities.
Currently his creative collaborators remain in prison and Essam himself in exile in Sweden. Essam launched the Balaha Case campaign in order to raise awareness and fight for the release of his friends and collaborators.
Dogs. They are incredible creatures. All animals are fascinating but personally I have a deep connection with dogs. I have two dogs in my life. One has been my best friend for almost 13 years. His name is Prestur and he used to be a tour guide in an Icelandic lava cave and a welcome host at an artist residency in the highlands of Iceland. He has lived a full life and made tons of friends, from around the world, both human and canine.
The other one is Atlas, a Border Collie and Boxer mix, who came into my life 6 years ago. My partner and I found him in Iceland when a woman with three ‘accident’ puppies was about to give them away or take them to be euthanized.
These two creatures are now nomad dogs. In April 2018 we set off in our jeep with all our most important things and set course for Europe. During our travels we always contact dog shelters and spend a good time of every week volunteering and helping out.
It’s been a year and a half now and we have all seen unbelievable nature, stunning structures and met wonderful people. We have also seen the lack of care and empathy for domestic animals and in many places it is a grave problem. I recommend to anyone who feels love for animals to help out at animal shelters. The connection felt and the unconditional love received is beyond words.
I figured it seemed only right on World Animal Day to share some of the animal rights albums I have found as well as three dog shelters in Europe that I have worked with.
Please consider helping them out in any way possible.
3 ANIMAL RIGHTS ALBUMS
Let’s Talk ABOUT IT by IFEEL
IFEEL could possibly be the most empathetic rapper coming out of Croatia these days. In an interview with Shouts he explained his mission:
“I tell stories about animals’ lives. A lot of songs are from animals’ point of view, because they cannot talk and tell us how they feel. We have all been cleverly and systematically lied to and desensitized to ignore violence around us. My mission is to bring this to light and inspire people to have a better life and help animals have better lives. I do this with music and activism.”
WE.ANIMALS. by ANIIML
This concept album is a rare gem in the animal rights music genre. More commonly one finds punk and hardcore bands protesting through their music. ANIIML’s electro pop is an extremely fresh breath of air. Although not as literal as some other protest music ANIIML makes it clear from the start that this album is all about the earth, its creatures and her plea for a better harmony between us all.
FIGHT/RESIST by Wake of Humanity
The heaviest band on this short list comes out of Seattle, USA. This young band states that they exist “For the animals. For the environment. For human justice.” and from there the blast begins. This is proper, straight edge, vegan hardcore.
3 DOG SHELTERS WE RECOMMEND
The Souda Shelter Project is a very well maintained and organized animal shelter on the Island of Crete. The knowledge and ideas some of the residents of this stunning island have of animal welfare is extremely old school and broken and tossed puppies and poison on the street is a regular thing.
This shelter in Bulgaria exists under tremendously difficult situations. The country is the poorest within the EU, in last place regarding press freedom and absolutely full of stray dogs and misinformed people.
Spain might be more well known for its ignorant torture of bulls but there are quite a few strays on its streets as well. This shelter is one of many shelters working to fight that ignorance and help both dogs and cats.
On a recent single Canadian singer Esthero finds a rather unique way to protest the oppressive and frankly cowardly business model that is Spotify. According to this article Spotify management believes that music “should be universally accessible with a seamless experience based on streaming audio”. I for one have more than once tried to download Spotify on my phone and always given up because of the ridiculous poser-trying-to-hard-sounding ads.
There is the artist. There is the audience. There is sometimes the capitalist born middle man. Esthero is tries to point this out and uses her voice in a risky way to do so.
It is well known how badly Spotify and many other streaming services pay the creators for streamed or bought music. That is excluding though, a handful of services like Bandcamp, for example, who don’t charge a penny for streaming but instead make their money from revenue share on sales.
Check out Esthero’s song below to hear her unique way of protesting this faulted and outdated system: