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 […]

Music Notes – December 2015

The ‘audiopolitics’ of Noise Uprising Verso books has published an important new book on music by the American cultural historian Michael Denning. Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Music Revolution is a study of the sound revolution that took place between 1925 and the onset of the Great Depression, a time when record companies […]

Music Notes – November 2015

Buffy Sainte Marie wins Polaris Buffy Sainte-Marie is the winner of the 2015 Polaris Prize, given annually to the best full-length Canadian music album. The $50,000 award is based upon artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label. Sainte-Marie’s recording, “Power in the Blood”, was released last spring to wide acclaim for its brilliant synthesis […]

Music Notes – October 2015

David Rovics: The Other Side The release of a new album by David Rovics is always an event, offering an opportunity to reflect upon the tumultuous times in which we live. Rovics is a radical singer-songwriter with a rare ability to respond with eloquence to the daily news cycle of imperialist wars, financial meltdowns, ecological […]