Swedish musicians against neo-fascist racism


This video says about itself:

Silvana Imam Discusses Speaking out Against Neo-Nazis, Describes Swedish Rap & ‘Power Pussy’

16 April 2015

A strong women with little fear when it comes to speaking her mind, Silvana Imam is taking Swedish music by storm by making music that takes on right wing Swedish Democrats. We recently had the pleasure to have her on Sway In The Morning to outline her movement and what she thinks needs to change in her country.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Sweden’s Folk Musicians Against Racism join chorus against far right

Stockholm festival sees people of all ages gather to take Swedish folk music and traditional costume back from the anti-immigrant SD party

Emma Hartley in Stockholm

Sunday 9 August 2015 19.03 BST

On the cobbles in front of Hasselby castle – a peach-coloured 17th-century confection run these days as a hotel – around 70 musicians play a stately polka on fiddles, nyckelharpa, clarinet, flute and accordion. The youngest looks about five, the oldest in his 80s, and a handful wear Swedish traditional costume: the women in full skirts, aprons, lace collars and red woollen stockings, the men in waistcoats, shorts and socks with ribbons. Nearby, a Danish klezmer band on a big sound stage is lifting a crowd to its feet.

But music wasn’t the only thing on the agenda at this year’s Stockholm folk festival. The mass play-in on the cobbles was a demonstration organised by a group called Folk Musicians against Racism (FMR) and their outrage was directed squarely at the third-largest party in Sweden’s parliament, the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), who won nearly 13% of the vote in last year’s general election.

Earlier in the week, an advert on Stockholm’s metro paid for by the SD, addressing tourists in English, said: “Sorry about the mess here in Sweden. We have a serious problem with forced begging. International gangs profit from people’s desperation. Our goverment (sic) won’t do what’s needed. But we will!”

“Everyone knows this advert was directed against Romanians,” said Kim Persson, 23, of Tunnelbaneorkestern, a Stockholm band made up of three Romanians and him. “And the SD knew that people would get really angry and tear the ad down. Running the ad in English was a PR trick.

“But the best way to deal with SD is to meet them with good arguments. They have an obscene dream that 100 years ago everyone had blond hair and blue eyes and was very happy. But 100 years ago we had the Sami people, as we have now, and Sweden was really poor. Hunger drove many to emigrate to the United States.”

Sweden led Europe last year in the number of asylum applicants it accepted per capita; in absolute numbers it was second only to Germany, a country with a population eight times larger than that of Sweden. But an electoral backlash to the longstanding policy has resulted in the fracturing of its centre-left political consensus and a public self-examination that many say has barely begun.

The relative youth of many of Folk Music Against Racism’s leading activists is noticeable. Anna Gustavsson, 24, said it started because folk traditions have come in for special attention from the SD. “It began really when Jimmie Åkesson – the leader of the Sweden Democrats – wore a traditional costume when entering parliament in 2010. Many parliamentary people have worn the national costume to the opening but when he did it, it became clear that the aim was political and that the clothing was worn not only as formal wear.

“Also nationalistic papers have visited folk festivals in Sweden and sent journalists to report about the ‘true Swedishness’ of the event and written about how good and white the folk scene is.”

The problem, Persson says, “is that the Sweden Democrats are the only party talking about immigration”.

“The other parties dare not address it, so it seems to ordinary people that there is no other way of thinking about immigration except as a bad thing. When nobody else has a contribution to make, people find it easy to believe the Sweden Democrats’ version of events.”

This nyckelharpa kills fascists: Swedish folk musicians stand up to the racist right: here.

Chilean Pinochet officers charged with murdering singer Victor Jara


This 1973 music video is called Victor Jara: El derecho de vivir en Paz.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Chile: 10 former soldiers charged with Victor Jara murder

Friday 24th July 2015

TEN CHILEAN former military officers have been charged with the 1973 murder of legendary folk singer Victor Jara.

The charges, announced late on Wednesday by Judge Miguel Vazquez, include the murder and kidnapping of Mr Jara and former military police director Littre Quiroga Carvajal.

Communist Party member Mr Jara was one of thousands of people rounded up after General Augusto Pinochet’s US-backed coup against socialist president Salvador Allende on September 11 1973.

Opponents of the coup were herded into a stadium in Santiago de Chile to be tortured and murdered.

Mr Jara played a borrowed guitar and sang songs for the detainees until soldiers broke his hands. He kept singing until his death.

The announcement of the charges against the officers came a day after seven former soldiers — two former officers and five former non-commissioned officers — were arrested for burning a teenage photographer to death during 1986 protests against Pinochet’s regime.

Soldiers doused Rodrigo Rojas, 19, and Carmen Quintana, 18, with petrol and set them on fire during a street demonstration.

Ms Quintana thanked a former soldier, identified as Fernando Guzman, for coming forward with new information on the case.

She said the soldiers involved were also victims of the dictatorship because they had received death threats to intimidate them into keeping silent.

Chilean dictator Pinochet covered up 1986 burning of activists, report shows. Declassified US documents indicate Pinochet suppressed police report that fingered military officers in burning alive of Rodrigo Rojas and Carmen Quintana: here.

English folk singer Ewan MacColl remembered


This music video from England says about itself:

Ewan MacCollDirty Old Town

The original and best with Peggy Seeger (MacColl’s wife)

Photographs of Salford in 1950s and 60s – the original ‘Dirty Old Town’ where MacColl grew up.

By Karl Dallas in England:

Monday 18th May 2015

Ewan MacColl: His Life, His Words, His Music Peel Hall University of Salford 3/5

SALFORD is the “dirty old town” where James Miller — the folksinger better known as Ewan MacColl — was born in January 1915 and it was the scene of this joint celebratory event by the University of Salford and the Working Class Movement Library.

In a packed hall, four readers and a solo singer took the audience through his life and work, in which extracts from his somewhat sanitised autobiography were interspersed with just a few songs.

It was a rather prosaic event, with no drama and precious little of the great man of the theatre’s histrionic impact upon British culture. One could’t help wondering what the Theatre Workshop founder might have made of it.

Of course, MacColl was such a polymath that anyone would be hard put to it to cover his life adequately. “There are quite large bits of his life that we have had to leave out,” the show’s producer Royston Futter said in his introduction. “The first run-through of all the material we wanted to present would have had you struggling to catch the last bus, despite our afternoon start.”

There were the expected songs — Dirty Old Town, Tim Evans, Manchester Rambler, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, — and songs from the radio ballads — Freeborn Man, Hot Asphalt, Shoals of Herring, Come Me Little Son — and his elegiac 1986 farewell The Joy of Living, recorded in only three years before his death. But this was a programme of readings interspersed with the songs, rather than songs with interpretive prose.

What did come across was Ewan’s love of the landscape, echoed in the words of that lovely, final song:
“Take me to some high place of heather, rock and ling,
Scatter my dust and ashes, feed me to the wind,
So that I will be part of all you see, the air you are breathing.
I’ll be part of the curlew‘s cry and the soaring hawk,
The blue milk wort and the sundew hung with diamonds,
I’ll be riding the gentle wind that blows through your hair,
Reminding you how we shared
In the joy of living.”

This great poet of industrial Salford was also at one with the countryside around his dirty old birth town.

This music video says about itself:

Joy Of Living – Ewan MacColl

This is one of MacColl’s last songs and his farewell to the world. In it, a dying hiker says goodbye to all he holds dear: the hills, his wife and his children (Black And White – The Definitive Collection, trk#20, 1993, Green Linnet Records, Nashville, Tennessee); and (Black And White – The Definitive Collection, trk#18, 2000, Cooking Vinyl Records, London, UK).