Mike Hobart

Obituary: How It Would Feel to be Free

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Mike Hobart pays tribute to the black singer and songwriter Nina Simone who died last month.

Nina Simone, who died recently aged 70, was one of the most compelling of the many innovative musical figures that were thrown up by the US civil rights movement in the 1960s. Like many black musicians of the time she believed music had a clear political purpose. Contrary to many of her obituary notices, it was a belief she carried throughout her adult life, and her deeply soulful voice, theatricality and often playful approach to music was allied to an uncompromisingly public political commitment to human emancipation.

Bankrolling Beethoven

Issue section: 
Author: 

Like many reviewers, Lee Billingham uses a music column (October SR) to write about the lyrics of songs rather than about the music itself.

However, music communicates feelings and experiences at a very profound level. At its best, it can capture the emotional state of a movement, its confidence and its political direction. It is for these reasons that ruling classes suppress musical traditions for their musical content, rather than the explicit political content of the lyrics. It is also one of the reasons why music is coded, and the political purposes of the musicians do not necessarily coincide with the political sentiments expressed in the lyrics.

Subscribe to RSS - Mike Hobart