Music Notes – July 2016

Victor Jara trial in Miami The trial of the former Chilean military officer accused of murdering folk singer and activist Victor Jara began in Miami on June 13th. Former lieutenant Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez is charged with torturing and murdering Jara, a communist artist who had campaigned for, and defended, the socialist Popular Unity government […]

Music Notes – June 2016

Valentina Lisitsa interviewed in Donetsk Not long after her triumphant April 10th concert at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Ukrainian-American pianist Valentina Lisitsa was interviewed for the Donetsk-based Russian-language daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. The outspoken critic of the post-Maidan regime in Kiev has taken a lot of flak in some quarters, but in the predominantly Russian-speaking lands of […]

Music Notes – May 2016

Most likely only rock & roll More than 500,000 people attended a free Rolling Stones concert at Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva on March 25th. By all accounts the Stones, who had just concluded a tour of South America, were in good form during their 2-hour 20-minute set. Canadian musicologist Rob Bowman was there, and found the […]

Music Notes – April 2016

Iranian musician Medhi Rajabian (see below) Iranian musicians convicted The International Federation of Musicians and more than a dozen human rights groups are challenging the verdict of an Iranian appeals court that sentenced two musicians and a filmmaker to three years in prison on February 29th. Mehdi Rajabian, a musician and founder of the alternative […]

Music Notes – March 2016

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl spectacle By now everyone must know that hip-hop superstar Beyoncé invoked Black Panther and Black Lives Matter symbols during her February 7th halftime show at the Super Bowl in San Francisco. Beyoncé and her troupe gave the black power raised-fist salute and formed an X in homage to Malcolm X. Later, dancers […]

Music Notes – February 2016

Musicians unite to save Bristol Bay In 2010, activists in Alaska invited American folk musician and grassroots organizer Si Kahn to help them in their struggle to stop the Pebble Mine. The tailings from this gold and copper extraction project would endanger the fisheries of Bristol Bay, source of 50% of all wild fish caught […]

Music Notes – January 2016

What’s up with M.I.A.’s “Borders”? Maya Arulpragasam is an English recording artist and video director who’s better known to her fans as M.I.A. Born in the U.K. in 1975, she spent her childhood in Sri Lanka, where her father, a Tamil activist, was forced into hiding during the country’s civil war. In 1986 she returned […]