Music

East Meets West

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Review of 'Tékitoi?' by Rachid Taha

One of the most exhilarating things about the global justice movement is the opening up of different worlds and stepping into them through music.

Taha's world is very different to ours and on first listening to his music we had to sit down and rest! The fusion of rai (north African/French modal music), Middle Eastern music, rock, punk, hip-hop and American funk and soul combined a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar sounds. Rachid's friend in the accompanying DVD describes how because his music comes from elsewhere it disrupts the system.

Everybody Knows

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Review of 'Real Gone' by Tom Waits

Tom Waits has been obscure and surreal in his critique of society, but not any more; this album is a damning indictment of the US at war. Real Gone is a celebration of resistance to the corruption endemic in capitalism - and to the ultimate corruption and barbarity of war.

The Revolution will be Personal

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Review of 'The Beautiful Struggle' by Talib Kweli

When it comes to lineage, Talib Kweli is pretty much hip-hop royalty. As one half of the Black Star movement (with Mos Def) and a predominant part of the Rawkus label, Kweli has been contributing to the definition of hip-hop for years. Respected in more 'conscious' hip-hop circles, Talib Kweli has so far failed/refused to capture the attention of top 40 radio.

The Beat to Beat Bush With

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'As concerned mothers, women and most importantly concerned Americans, we are compelled to do what we can to inspire other voters to get involved in this year's election. We hope our participation in the Vote for Change Tour will be a catalyst for positive change.'

This is The Dixie Chicks explaining why they are gigging with James Taylor in the swing states during October. Headlined by Bruce Springsteen, REM, Pearl Jam and Jackson Browne, and coordinated by MoveOn.org, big name line-ups will play several areas simultaneously where the votes really count.

Republicans mounted a news offensive after this tour was announced on 4 August, claiming that Springsteen had grown very rich from the American way. This only recruited more acts.

Music For The Masses

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Review of 'Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti', Barbican Centre, London

'I oppose the (Nigerian) government passionately because it is evil, man, full of corruption. It stops me living my life.' The above words are taken from an interview I conducted with Fela Kuti backstage at Brixton Academy in 1988.

Calling All Anti-Racists and Anti-Capitalists

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A handful of albums stand out among the popular music industry's early autumn releases.

The first is in fact a 25th anniversary reissue of the seminal Clash album London Calling. This is a must have album for anyone who wishes to get a taste of the raw, angry and unapologetic energy that catapulted punk onto the British music scene at the end of the 1970s.

Drumming Up a Desert Storm

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Charlie Kimber discovers an unlikely festival sensation.

He went into battle with a Kalashnikov in his hand and an electric guitar strapped to his back.' The man in question, Keddou ag Ossad, is one of the central figures in the history of a band called Tinariwen. It has become one of the most popular acts at festivals such as Glastonbury and Womad, and their albums are now reaching a global audience.

This is not some easy listening 'world music'. Their latest album, Amassakoul, still has the power and lyricism that have made them so popular.

The Man in the Street

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Review of 'A Grand Don't Come for Free' by The Streets

As Socialist Review went to press, Mike Skinner, aka The Streets, was a hotly tipped favourite to capture the Mercury Music Prize, one of the British music industry's most prestigious awards. Either way, Skinner has enjoyed a meteoric rise since he first burst onto the scene in 2002. His first album, Original Pirate Material, also received a Mercury nomination, but was somewhat surprisingly pipped by Ms Dynamite. Subsequently he has been compared to Bob Dylan, Samuel Pepys, Dostoyevsky, Philip Larkin and 'Gil Scot Heron relocated to the [Birmingham] Bullring'.

This is for the Poor

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An Interview with Dominic Masters

In the last few months The Others have played a Love Music Hate Racism gig at the London Astoria, been declared 'the most worshipped new band in Britain' by NME, released their first single, 'This is For the Poor', and played a gig in a tube carriage. Alison Philcock talked to singer Dominic Masters.

The single makes a very clear statement. Where do the lyrics come from?

Left Field Glastonbury

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Is popular music turning radical?

Posing this question is not simply an act of wishful thinking here at Socialist Review. Rather it reflects a genuine debate that is finding an echo in sections of the music press. For example, Mojo magazine's lead feature in April was 'One Hundred Great Protest Songs'. It included a blazing red cover with a picture of a militant looking John Lennon and the headline 'Revolution in his Head'. Elsewhere the Scottish Arts magazine Product ran a cover article entitled 'Protest Pop: How radical music rocks the world'.

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