Brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal

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I normally take a recorder to capture dj sets, however there is always something falling foul of the correct alignment of the planets: forgetting the press the record button, running out of juice aka batteries when the power cable is too short to reach the socket….there is always a crap reason.  The run of DJ session’s this year has been memorable for more than a minute, from the Las Terasitas beach in Santa Cruz, Mojo Club in Las Palmas, GCMN at Druga Godba Festival in Llubljana, Clandestino Festival, Micromusic TEA, the Keroxen do’s in Tenerife and in Los Jameos del Agua, Womad Fuerteventura and all points inbetween.

Inspired by and for those that turned up throughout the year, and also the people behind the voices or stories and artists contained within.

Ingredients: Guantanamo Stories from Shaker Aamer, recently released from the Yankee enclave in Cuba; political discourse and opinions from Yanis Varoufakis, whose book The Global Minotour has got me wrapped up.  Also some news from Palestine / Occupied Territories via Electronic Intifada. The Arabic discussion before that piece, is taken from a documentary about divorce in Iran.

Regarding the music and sound, contributions from the likes of Batida, Maga Bo, El Mahdy Jr. Kink Gong, The Bug, Kode9, Stereotyp, Tupperwear, Morgan Craft, KingLMan, Kiki Hitomi, Mohammed Al Madloul, Waipoo Petchsuphan, Public Enemy, Stock Hausen & Walkman; MF Doom, SK Simeon, Machinedrum, Oh No, DJ Vadim, Sol Monk, Fun’da’mental, DJ Spinn, Danny Brown, Muslimguaze, Rootsman, 16 Bit vs. Dj Leo, Manolo Viera, Job Ledesma, Mizz Beats, Jeru The Damaja, Nochexxx, Sensational, Walter Gross, theUnderachievers, The Beastie Boys, Audio Two, Gil Scott Heron, Namebrandsound, Source Direct, CDM, and RP Boo. There could be several names missing, hope it doesn’t hurt.

Click here or on the image above to get to it.

First DJ set of 2016 to be announced soon in Madrid come early Feb., with an appearance on RNE.  More as it happens. Hasta pronto.  All the beats, and thanks for tuning in.

PEace.

 

 

 

Les Negresses Vertes in Beirut

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Ladies and Gentlmen, welcome to Beirut, December 1991

We were not prepared for anything like this at all.  I bear witness.

French band Les Negresses Vertes were about to release, or had just released their Famille Nombreuse album. The management, comprised of Assad & Jacques organized a concert at venue within the American University of Beirut. How do you say, ‘hostilities between factions had ceased’?  The eighteen year long uncivil war had come to pass, and this was to be the first performance by a ‘Western’ band in the country since the first bullet took a life.  I was the band’s UK Press Representative at the time, and the NME’s Stuart Bailie, photographer Steve Pyke and the Observer’s Philip Sweeney agreed to cover the venture.  At some point I ignored a directive from the Virgin boss Ken Berry: As the company’s insurance would not cover me or any of the personnel in a ‘conflict zone’, I was not to go.  “Sorry, didn’t get the message Ken.”  This was a unique opportunity not to be missed.

For most of us on the trip, it was our first proper real time facing a bullet and rocket scared city and it’s population.  The sheer destruction encompasses you full 360°.  It is painful to see what some will do to others.  People sacrificed regardless of postcode. People, families, and those strangers no longer, lived among the rumble, dust, bomb-induced craters in the streets, passing through militia checkpoints.

“This is the place where Terry Waite was taken hostage.” said our guide, pointing to a nondescript pavement by the road along the coast as the bus took us to Martyr’s Square.  Several of the windows on our bus were penetrated by bullets. What happened the previous occupants of these seats?  On my return to the city several years later, I was informed that the owner of the hotel we we stayed at first time around, was “taken outside and shot, boom, dead.”  Silence for a moment.

My colleague at Virgin France, top AnR person, Maya Masseboeuf is Lebanese, she was on the trip as well, and I recall, as we entered the airport there was a portrait of Syrian’s President Assad, not the current one, his dad, hanging proudly.  “Hey Maya, what is his portrait doing there?” I said a bit too loud for her liking. “Not now.”  I was learning.

During a day trip we came upon a block of flats across the road, the fourth and top floor was totally destroyed, concrete and steel hanging precariously, no surprises would it tumble right there and then.  Maya had family living in that building.  It was Maya that sent the link to the TV report, thank you.

The concert itself hit a cruising altitude of several thousand feet, those in attendance onstage, the audience, everybody unified to celebrate the a richness that had been kidnapped, separated, tortured, abused, murdered, sent into exile and so on.

The relevance of this period in time and what is unfolding right now could not be underestimated.

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Négresses vertes á Beyrouth – French TV Report

The Special AKA ‘War Crimes’

Total Destruction: DJ Scud & Nomex

 

 

Sarah Maple: You Could Have Done This

 

I wish I had a penis
I wish I had a penis

Since we last spoke…ah, won’t bother getting into it, check this out, Sarah Maple, you may have heard of her before, good on you, I am just catching up.  If you heard of her before, why didn’t you tell me?

Her father is white British, her mother is an Iranian Muslim, and she went to a Catholic school in Eastbourne. “I always found it difficult culturally knowing where I fit in,” says the 30-year-old artist, who lives in Crawley. “I wanted to be a ‘good’ Muslim, but I was an immediate outcast for being mixed. And I felt guilty about that.”

She has found her way, and aren’t we glad?  Well, no, not everybody is, to the point of throwing bricks through her window.

The opposite of a feminist
The opposite of a feminist

“I was at university and we’d go round doing crits, talking about each others’ work. Every time a man got up to speak, we’d be really supportive. But every time a woman spoke, we’d berate her. I realised I was complicit – subconsciously, we’d all taken on that conditioning. It was the first time I realised I might be held back by being a woman. The phrase ‘I wish I had a penis’ just came into my head. So I did that work based on it. When I took it into uni, although all the tutors liked it, everyone else berated me. Then I put it on MySpace and got all these amazing responses. People started sending me their own. That’s the moment I realised that, through humour, I could really communicate something.”

She has a book coming out, titled You Could Have Done This, which for me is the point of art, especially when people say “Oh, I coulda done that!”  But you didn’t, that person did, regardless if you like it or not.  Be inspired to move, even with something that rubs you the wrong way.  More power to you.

More on Sarah Maple here via the Guardian.Her webpage is here

 

Eduardo Galeano – Novels about Pirates

eduardo_galeano_efeEduardo Galeano:  03.09 1940-13.04.2015

Should you have some connection with Latin America, the Spanish speaking world, history, Uruguay, literature, oppression, exploitation, IMF, then you are aware of the humble giant who possessed a prose that was profound yet on the surface, easily accessible.  His history of the milking of Latin America by the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, the US, Canada etc. were first contained in ¨Las venas abiertas de América Latina¨  (The Open Veins of Latin America),  was written in a six week period when he was twenty-seven years old.  He would later say he was too inexperienced to have written such a book, however it reading it now, as I have recently done again, it still holds as an insight into manuals of operations that have been played out by corporations, dictators, governments, business etc. aka well-organized crime.  This was the book Hugo Chavez presented to Obama, on the latter’s first conference down south. “Read this, then you will understand, what we are saying.”

Upside Down is another personal favourite, his style now infused with a humour that was not present in his opening salvo.  He was raging then, quite rightly so.  However with Upside Down, I found myself breaking out in a laugh as I followed the lines with my eyes.  Shit like this ain’t supposed to be funny, It eases the pain momentarily though, and we are in need of relief, and he was a medicine for a continent and beyond.

Below, his long-time translator and friend, Mark Fried talks with Sharmini Periest of The Real News Network about Galeano’s life.

The Drone Operator who said no, dreams in infra-red

bryant-drone-opertor-bryantDeath by Metadata.

Terror Tuesday.  Every Tuesday, the White House occupant, Oh-Bummer Man has a meeting where he and military chiefs go through a list of people they have decided gets an early retirement, based, many times on evidence which is as solid as a toothpick.

“Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.

“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.

“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.

They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?”

Brandon Bryant, was in the US Army and worked within the secret drone programme bombing targets in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

He was told that he helped to kill more than 1,600 people, but as time went by he felt uneasy with what he was doing. He found it hard to sleep and started dreaming in infra-red.

Brandon Bryant told the BBC/World Service ‘Witness’ program about his doubts and the mission that convinced him it was time to stop.

Link to video

If your still awake, Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald discuss the assassination program with Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, (from Feb. 2014) and the piece also includes an interview with Brandon Bryant. Link

 

Gordon Parks

 

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Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated African American artists of his time, is the subject of this exhibition of groundbreaking photographs of Fort Scott, Kansas—focusing on the realities of life under segregation during the 1940s, but also relating to Parks’s own fascinating life story.

In 1948, Gordon Parks (1912–2006) became the first African American photographer to be hired full time by LIFE magazine. One of the rare African American photojournalists in the field, Parks was frequently given magazine assignments involving social issues that his white colleagues were not asked to cover. In 1950, Parks returned to his hometown in Kansas to make a series of photographs meant to accompany an article that he planned to call “Back to Fort Scott.”

Fort Scott was the town that he had left more than 20 years earlier, when after his mother died, he found himself—a teenager and the youngest of 15 children—suddenly having to make his own way in the world. He used this assignment to revisit early memories of his birthplace, many involving serious racial discrimination, and to reconnect with childhood friends, all of whom had attended the same all-black grade school as Parks. One of the most visually rich and captivating of all his projects, Parks’s photographs, now owned by The Gordon Parks Foundation, were slated to appear in April 1951, but the photo essay was never published. The exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, represents a rarely seen view of everyday lives of African American citizens, years before the Civil Rights movement began in earnest.

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More photographs from the exhibition can be seen here