On October 18th, 2011, the New York Times published an article entitled: "At the Protests, the Message Lacks a Melody". The article discusses the apparent lack of an anthem for the Occupy Movement. I'm not a big fan of the article. When the author James C. Mckinley Jr. opines: "Where have all the protest songs gone?" I want vomit in my mouth. I mean really they pay this guy? Luckily he asked Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary, what he thought about the issue. Yarrow's response sums up my thoughts: “The bottom line is music has been destroyed by the all-mighty dollar.” The music industry has never been a nurturing cocoon of love to protest music however, in the late Sixties and Seventies you were more likely to hear radical songs being distributed by major record labels. Today the corporate music industry blatantly ignores radical musicians and leaves them to earn a living in underground venues, basements, and friendly cafe's. Kind of like the way protest music of the sixties and seventies started.
As most of you know. I'm in a band, we've traveled the country singing protest songs at colleges, community centers, activist spaces, and demonstrations. The thing is, we aren't the only ones. (The we I'm referring to is Broadcast Live, the radical Hip Hop band that I'm a member of.) We've toured the country with numerous radical acts including Cihuatle Ce, Ryan Harvey, Evan Greer, Son of Nun, Spiritchild, Climbing Poetree and many more. All of these acts have made their mark on the protest movement and in fact have helped to shape it.
I can't think of a greater example of protest music than the six piece ensemble: Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde (LBR). Listening to them is like hearing a mashup of Nina Simone, Fela, Janis Joplin, Erykah Badu, and Hector Lavoe. The unbridled passion of LBR echoes just as powerfully as the giant anthems of the sixties. The only reason that Mr. Mckinley Jr., doesn't know about them is because the corporate music industry doesn't support protest music finding it safer to promote generic boilerplate musical acts. While the music of LBR may not be included on the Itunes Playlists in the ivory towers of the New York Times, it is no less relevant than the music of Dylan, Marley, or Sweet Honey and the Rock. I would argue that the protest music of today is even more necessary. Radical music like the songs of LBR, are nurtured and supported by the committed members of activist communities and therefore continue to be "for the people".
Let all of this serve as an impassioned plea to you, members of our progressive future, to support Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde in their effort to raise $15,000 to offer free concerts to schools and community centers across the United States and Europe. This radical music is not promoted by a major record label, not shown on MTV, or played in your latest Nike Commercial. The heart and soul of the anthems of LBR are rooted in a deep and profound love of the people that fight to make change in this society. Such beautiful art requires our love and encouragement. Below you will find a link to their Kickstarter Campaign. Now more than ever we need our community to support our artists, we can't expect the New York Times to do it for us.
We only have a handful of days left so help if you can!