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the arts 2006

the arts 2006

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Published by Kathy Emery

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Published by: Kathy Emery on Apr 30, 2011
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02/08/2013

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Supplemental ReadingSF Freedom SchoolAugust 12, 2006
About New York; The Boss Lets Freedom Ring, With Banjo
By DAN BARRY New York TimesJune 28, 2006
The Dramatic Form of the 'Living Newspaper'
Hip-hop doesn’t care about George Bush?
http://xxlmag.com/online/?p=1726Wednesday, May 17th, 2006Posted In: Columnists, Northern Touch by Tara Henley
Hip-hop and Reggae: The Common Links of Politics and Music
(excerpts) http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/carlis02.htmScott Carlis4-25-02
 
Then Mrs. Hamer would lead us in a song, so we could lighten ourselves and give ourselves that extra boost of energy. We would sing about anything we felt.We would sing about why we sing. We would sing about the abuses we suffered,like not being allowed to vote. We would sing of sorrow and hope.
Dorothy Cotton, describing the purpose of singing in Freedom Schools
About New York; The Boss Lets Freedom Ring, With Banjo
By DAN BARRY New York TimesJune 28, 2006THIS is what you would do. Close the bedroom door to the quiet indignities of childhood.Unclasp a small but hefty box to reveal a now forgotten device called a portable recordplayer. Plug it in.Make a selection from the albums your parents bought when they used to listen to music. No,not Mitch Miller and his Gang. No, not Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Where's theskinny guy with the reedy voice, always singing about freedom? Here
. Pete Seeger.
Place the needle down on a disc now spinning in promise, catch the groove, and allow oldwords and ancient melodies to seep in until they could never be removed. The skips andhisses on the scratched records are as ingrained as the choruses in memory.You did not listen to be cool; in this age of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, you wereunlikely to impress a girl by singing the opening lines to ''Erie Canal'' (''I've got a mule andher name is Sal ''). Not that you ever summoned the nerve to speak to girls, much less sing tothem.No, you listened because you found something affirming in songs that honored hard work,struggle and standing up for what you believe. You felt connected to your immigrant roots, toyour African-American neighbors and to your country, of which you sang with innocentpride. You felt connected to your father, to your mother.In the era of King and Kennedys shot, you would sit beside the record player and sing, ''OhMary don't you weep don't you moan, oh Mary don't you weep don't you moan. Pharaoh'sarmy got drowneded, oh Mary don't you weep.'' And feel the consolation.In the era of Vietnam and civil rights battles, you would sing, ''We shall overcome, we shallovercome, we shall overcome someday.'' And believe it.Then you grew up. Vietnam ended like an unfinished sentence, and King and the Kennedyssettled into the abstraction of history. Your mother died and your father stopped singing. Thealbums went to storage.2
 
Nearly 2,800 people died a couple of miles from where you worked; for weeks the smell of the pyre wafted through your Midtown office window. Your country went to war. HurricaneKatrina crushed one part of the South, and Hurricane Rita crushed another.You sensed the unimpeded march of Pharaoh's army.The other night you went to a
Bruce Springsteen
concert at Madison Square Garden. Somecelebrities sat a few rows behind you, and a group of older women, including the singer'smother, sat beside you. You feared your own presence constituted a security breach, but thelights dimmed, no one tapped you on the shoulder, and so you stayed.In the stage shadows you could see the silhouette of Mr. Springsteen shaking hands andslapping the backs of musicians, 17 or so, as they stepped up and took their places in what isbeing called the Seeger Sessions. One held a banjo, another an accordion, another a tuba. Thiswas not the E Street Band.Then music exploded from the stage: rock and bluegrass, jig and reel, spiritual and swing,honky-tonk and acoustic blues, working separately and in concert to coax from dormancy allthose old songs that once meant something to you.Think of it. In this era of post-post-post irony, there sounded in Midtown Manhattan the lyricsto ''Erie Canal,'' with that mule named Sal. In this era of Operation What-Was-It-Again, thererang out a song nearly 200 years old, ''Mrs. McGrath,'' whose soldier son's legs were sweptaway by a cannonball on the fifth of May.In this era of Paris Hilton idealization, of pleasure found in a tycoon snarling ''You're fired,''tens of thousands of people sang of climbing Jacob's ladder; of keeping your eyes on theprize; of overcoming.Mr. Springsteen occasionally slowed the celebration to a contemplative pace. His ''My City of Ruins,'' written for Asbury Park, then applied to post-9/11 New York, now ached for NewOrleans. His version of ''When the Saints Go Marching In'' became a prayer.More often, though, he raised his audience up with old songs and spirituals that he hadinfused with rocking urgency, then toyed with so that brass and guitar could harmonize, anaccordionist could jam with the Boss, and a tuba player could know rock-concert adulation.People danced, those celebrities swayed, the mother beside you raised her hands in joy. Andyou sang again:Brothers and sisters don't you cryThere'll be good times by and byPharaoh's army got drownededOh Mary don't you weep.3

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