Tag Archives: protest song

Song Of The Day: La Cigarra By Afro Yaqui Music Collective

From our friends in the Afro Yaquí Music Collective comes a brand new single in support of political prisoners from around the world. The song is part of their new album titled Maroon Futures and in this song, the band highlights the struggles of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Russell Maroon Shoatz, Fidencio Aldama Pérez, and Abdullah Öcalan.

See also: A Protest Music Interview: Afro Yaqui Music Collective

‘La Cigarra’ communicates the message of freedom of speech and the freedom of action through a fantastic jazzy union of saxophones and the voice of Gizelxanath Rodríguez.

Check out below a recent interview with Ben and Gizelxanath from Afro Yaquí Music Collective where they discuss (in Spanish) their latest album, the struggles of indigenous people, and much more.

Furthermore, the band recommends people to become involved in the following campaigns to help free the above-mentioned activists:

http://www.congresonacionalindigena.o…https://www.freeocalan.org/mainhttps://russellmaroonshoats.wordpress…https://www.freemumia.com/https://www.thejerichomovement.com/http://afroyaquimusiccollective.com/f…

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100% Three Fingers In The Air Punk Rock: 25 Bands Raise Funds For Myanmar’s Food Not Bombs

This article was originally published by DIY Conspiracy.

Mass protests have been taking place across Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) since the country’s military seized power in a coup d’état on February 1st, 2021.

The military junta took the reins of power following a general election which Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) won by a landslide. The elected leader is under “house arrest” in an unknown location ever since.

Sen. General Min Aung Hlaing, under whom the military intensified the crackdown on the (Muslim) Rohingya ethnic minority in Rakhine State in recent years, declared a one-year-long state of emergency and assumed all state power for this period.

It’s worth noting that Myanmar was a military dictatorship from 1962 until 2011.

The Ongoing Protest Movement

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A strong movement of civil disobedience emerged in the first days of February in a vocal opposition to the new regime. The protests over the coup have been the largest since the so-called Saffron Revolution in 2007, when thousands of monks rose up against the previous military rule.

At first, spearheaded by medical workers, nurses and doctors, the movement started to grow with people from all walks of life joining in.

On February 6th, people finally took their protests onto the streets of Yangon and other cities across the South East Asian country. It’s estimated that around 100,000 people participated on this day alone in the protests in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city.

The protests were supported by several organizations, including student unions, labour unions, and a wide range of social justice activist groups. Among the social justice groups supporting the protests is the Yangon chapter of the international Food Not Bombs movement.

Food Not Bombs in Myanmar

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Food Not Bombs Yangon was formed in 2013 by a group of local street and anarcho-punks around The Rebel Riot band. Their efforts concentrated on supporting people in poor living conditons, especially children living in poverty in downtown Yangon.

In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Myanmar, the punks organized a huge support network for the people in need. Food Not Bombs also organized protests and mutual-aid campaigns in support of garment factory workers and labour unions as the factories shut down without any compensation to the workers.

Now, the Food Not Bombs activists are on the frontlines of the anti-coup movement, supporting protestors with medical masks, water, food and protection gear. As the protests intensify, the military is tightening their grip even more. Armoured vehicles rolled out onto the streets and the army cut off the state media TV & radios, local phone lines and access to internet.

Water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds were used against the protestors. Reports have shown civilians being dragged out of their houses at night and arrested by the police. More than 500 people, including many children, have been killed by the police & military, according to various reports.

100% Three Fingers in the Air Punk Rock: A Benefit Compilation

myanmar-compilation

A benefit hardcore punk / crust compilation was organized by Bristol, UK’s F.O.T.K. band and Death Pint Records in coordination with Organize and Arise. The aim of the fundraiser is to set up a support network of solidarity with the work of Food Not Bombs Yangon during the now ongoing protests.

The money will be used to further support the protestors and people in need. Food Not Bombs Yangon is also teaming up with other activist organizations like labour and student unions.

The compilation was named after a play on words between Chaos UK’s iconic One Hundred Per Cent Two Fingers In The Air Punk Rock record (as two fingers hand gesture stands for ‘fuck off’ in the UK) and the popular three-fingers salute adopted by protestors in Thailand and Myanmar.

This new compilation features tracks by Myanmar’s own The Rebel Riot and 24 other bands across the globe, including unreleased tracks by F.O.T.K (UK)., Nightfeeder (US), and Japanese ‘Burning Spirits’ originators Death Side, alongside tracks by the likes of Doom (UK), Exit-Stance (UK), Forward (Japan), War//Plague (US), Visions of War (Belgium), Cliterati (US), Phane (Canada), Orphanage Named Earth (Poland), Carburetor Dung (Malaysia), Detractors (US), Bratakus (Scotland), Genöme (Sweden), Crutches (Sweden), Zero Again (UK), and many more.

To support the cause, follow the Bandcamp link and donate $10 or more.

Professor Studies Sounds Of Justice

This article was originally published by UVAToday and Anne E. Bromley and republished here with the author’s permission.

What is the power of one human voice, in speech or song?

The sound of a human voice can bring us together or can be ignored.

When Nomi Dave got her dream job with the United Nations, little did she know it would lead to a path very different than she had imagined, one that would range from studying music in authoritarian Guinea, to documenting women speaking out for gender justice, to teaching at the University of Virginia.

Dave, an associate professor of music who just gained tenure, recently won a book prize for best first monograph, “The Revolution’s Echoes: Music, Politics, and Pleasure in Guinea” from the Society for Ethnomusicology.

With ancestral roots in Africa, Dave had known since she was a teenager that she wanted to spend time somewhere on the continent. Her route was circuitous, however.

She and her brother were born in London, where their parents had studied. The family also spent time in Kenya when she was little and moved to the U.S. when she was 11. (Although her family originated in India, they were part of a long-standing Indian diasporic community in East Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.)

“Those experiences lit a fire in my imagination,” she said.

Dave earned her B.A. at the University of Florida, majoring in French and politics with a minor in African studies. She knew she was interested in international policy, and law school would give her the tools to work in international human rights. She then moved to New York City and worked at the United Nations headquarters – at the time, a dream come true, she said – for two years before applying for a post with the U.N. Refugee Agency.

She spent three years in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, from 2002 to ’05, working with refugees, including those in detention and in prison, and then focusing on women and children caught in armed conflicts. Hundreds of thousands of people had fled to Guinea from civil wars in nearby Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast. Dave worked on family reunification cases involving unaccompanied minors, trying to trace and connect them to their families. Cases of sexual violence were not uncommon.

“I felt like I was putting out fires without time to understand what was happening below the surface,” she said.

“It was extraordinary, but I became disillusioned about the huge bureaucracy.” Dave said working in Guinea itself was tangential.

“I felt frustrated I didn’t know about this place where I was living,” she said. She was still interested in law and politics, but also felt drawn to music – an interest that tugged at the edges of her life. She loved Guinean music. She found that people were often hesitant to talk with a foreigner about politics, but opened up talking about music, and she realized they were linked.

After taking a break and thinking about what to do next, she decided to go back to school.

From Lawyer to Sound Researcher

Dave went to Oxford University, completing her Ph.D. in 2012 in anthropology and music, returning to Guinea for field work. She now conducts research and teaches about the role music and sound play in culture and politics, as well as uses of the human voice, literally and figuratively.

Since Guinea gained its independence from France in 1958, several authoritarian rulers led the government and have used music to reflect pride and look back on the country’s history with nostalgia.

Back in Guinea as a doctoral student, she dug into the authoritarian undercurrents and the dynamics of music and politics, looking at what it all might mean for ordinary people.

Alya Camara, a bolon player, shown in 2019 in Conakry, Guinea, in front of a mural of the former president. (Photo by Nomi Dave)

The tradition of praise-singing – paying musical homage to nobles and rulers – evolved to promoting the postcolonial state, with musicians and audiences actively participating.

Political theory, Dave pointed out, has long acknowledged that emotion plays a role in politics – leaders can use their charisma to invoke fear as well as pleasure.

“In fact, authoritarianism works not just through fear or false consciousness, but also through creating a sense of belonging and collectivity for people,” she said.

In her own experiences while doing research, she could feel the palpable sense of public pleasure at concerts, she said, even when the musicians were singing about an authoritarian leader that people disliked. 2010 brought democratic elections, but the shift to a post-authoritarian state has been destabilizing and slow, she said.

“My main argument,” Dave wrote in email about the prize-winning book that resulted from her research, “is that people always love the idea of protest music – especially in Africa, foreigners are always looking for stories of protest musicians – but in fact the vast majority of musicians intentionally don’t engage in protest or politics. That’s true in Guinea, in the U.S., in most places around the world.”

Dave, with her former vocal teacher, Diaryatou Kouyaté, in Guinea in 2009. (Photo by Cheick Kouyaté)

Today as Guinea makes an uneasy transition to democratic rule, such spectacles of public pleasure are becoming increasingly unstable, as new forms of protest and political voice complicate older aesthetic practices, she said.

“There’s been an increasing amount of open, vocal dissent and protest in the country, in which people – journalists, students, street protesters – call out politicians directly,” Dave said. “Musicians are trying to navigate this change – from the old pleasures of musical and poetic shout-outs to a new political culture of calling out. What’s important to note here is that for the most part, musicians aren’t leading the vanguard to protest; instead, they’re really torn between old and new ways.”

Sounds of New Research and Teaching With Community Engagement

Dave’s scholarship has also shifted. She has returned to her earlier work as a lawyer to see how people try to seek justice – with their voices, in the streets and on the radio.

With her background, Dave is bringing together law, anthropology and sound studies, a subdiscipline that looks at what sound means to us.

Beyond metaphor, the way we hear different sounds is filtered through ideas we already have, Dave said. It is still all too common that women’s voices are criticized in stereotypical ways – for being whiny or shrill, for example, but they continue to speak out anyway.

Women activists in Guinea have been protesting against gender-based violence on the radio and in the streets. Before COVID, Dave had planned a radio series with women in Conakry to familiarize listeners with the women’s voices, but that was cut short by the pandemic and not being able to return and interview women there.

With Bremen Donovan, a UVA doctoral student in anthropology, Dave is making a short documentary film about a defamation lawsuit against a Guinean journalist and activist, Moussa Yéro Bah, who covered sexual violence cases – a legal tactic that has been used to silence journalists, she said.

Dave and Donovan presented an early rough cut of the film at the RAI Film Festival, held virtually March 19 to 28. Sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, the biennial conference is “the leading forum for exploring the multiple relationships between documentary filmmaking, anthropology, visual culture and the advocacy of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue through film,” according to its website.

Dave said they’re also organizing a roundtable at UVA, to be held in early May, with “some amazing participants here”: media studies professor Meredith Clark, law professor Anne Coughlin and filmmaker Kevin Everson. 

Donovan, who lived in Sierra Leone, has known Dave for several years and said in email, “This film project has been a wonderful experience of collaboration around our mutual interests in law, justice and creative approaches to research, that live beyond the university. Working with collaborators [in Guinea] for this project has been a highlight of this year.”

In this still from the film Dave is making, Guinean activists hold a press conference after a guilty verdict in a defamation lawsuit. (Photo by Nomi Dave)

Dave has woven some of this research into her teaching as part of the College of Arts & Sciences’ Civic & Community Engagement program. She described her course, “Musical Ethnography,” as “a yearlong course that’s half classroom-based learning on methods and ethics in ethnographic research, and half creative projects and collaborations with local musicians and artists in Charlottesville.”

She said the students have been amazing, reimagining and turning their projects into virtual concerts for an open mic series; a video-recording of a song by a local group of eco-activists, The Green Grannies, produced for Earth Day; and a virtual benefit concert for the Shelter for Help in Emergency, featuring many of their artist-partners. 

This year, Dave’s third and last year of teaching this course for a while, one of the students, Noelle Buice, came up with the idea of making an arts-based time capsule focusing on the COVID pandemic.

“Students are making a short film, a podcast, a photo essay, and a text collage about artists’ thoughts and memories for this past year,” Dave said, adding that the class is partnering with the local organization, the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, and WTJU, to host the virtual time capsule on the Bridge’s website. “We’re also creating a physical time capsule with objects collected from artists and community members that represent something from this past year.

Activists at a protest in Guinea, September 2018. (Courtesy of Nomi Dave)

“Despite Zoom life and everything else, the students have been so impressive with all their ideas and engagement,” she said.

Next year, Dave will teach a new civic engagement course, “Amplified Justice,” connected to a collaborative project she’s working on with Coughlin and music professor Bonnie Gordon. The project and the course will explore sound, voice, protest and gender. Students will have an opportunity to work on the collaborative project, she said.

Both “Amplified Justice” and the film on the Guinean journalist are part of an initiative Dave has dubbed the “Sound Justice Lab,” which received initial funding from the UVA Equity Center and aims “to bring together students and faculty bridging law and the humanities at UVA, with a focus on questions of justice in everyday life.”

Sounds like we’ll be hearing more about these projects in the future.

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