Music Notes – May 2018

Soviet Yiddish songs of WW2 The active, fighting role of Soviet Jews in World War II is celebrated in “Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II”, a new recording of 17 songs composed by Jewish Red Army soldiers, refugees, survivors, and victims of the Nazi invasion of the USSR. “Yiddish Glory” is a […]

Music Notes – April 2018

Joan Baez: passing the torch? Joan Baez announced last month that her latest album, Whistle Down the Wind, would be her final recording, and that her current eight-month tour of Europe and North America would mark her farewell to the road. The renowned folksinger is now 77. In a New York Times interview last month, […]

Music Notes – March 2018

Grammys 1: Getting political? No doubt about it, the 60th annual Grammy Awards celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden on January 28 was way more political than usual. Of course, it’s not surprising, given the escalation of racism, misogyny, militarism and climate denial in the age of Donald Trump, and the generally liberal nature […]

Charley Stimac, 1949-2018

Labour artist and communist Charley Stimac died in Montreal on New Year’s Day. He was 68, and had struggled with multiple sclerosis (MS) for half of his life. Charley’s death was an occasion for family, friends, and comrades to reflect on the capacity of human beings to overcome disabling adversity. His forebears were working-class people […]

Music Notes – February 2018

Aakuluk: Nunavut’s first record label Iqaliut, capital of Nunavut, “is a place rich in musical culture and talent, but bereft of music business infrastructure. But now there is a music label, and that’s a start”. So says the website of Aakuluk, the northern territory’s first ever recording company, founded in 2016, and headquartered in this […]

Music Notes – January 2018

Spanish Civil War songs for today Eighty years ago, a bitter civil war was raging in Spain, pitting the forces defending the democratic republic – including 35,000 volunteers of the International Brigade – against the fascist rebel army of General Franco, with military support from Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. Last month, an album of […]

Music Notes – December 2017

Adios Daniel Viglietti (1939-2017) One of the outstanding musicians of Latin America, Uruguayan singer, guitarist, and composer, Daniel Vigiletti, died on October 30 while undergoing surgery in Montevideo. He was 78. Just days before, he’d performed in Bolivia at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara. The Uruguayan Communist Party […]