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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

** No Signal Sound Mix #8: 10,000 Women - In Celebration of Women's Marches Worldwide **






In the autumn of 2002, in a hotel suite in Southampton, over five hundred Conservative party members gathered to hear a speech by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Eighteen months had passed since Tony Blair’s Labour Party had secured a second term in office but Thatcher was in high spirits as she marked Blair's fully-realized political blossoming as the greatest achievement of her own party, not Labour's...

Fourteen years on, it is difficult to argue with Maggie's incisive conclusion. Seven years into a Conservative return to power, a generally agreed sentiment amongst the British public is that the politicians are all the same. After Tony Blair's re-branded "new" Labour crushed a generation's belief in self-realization through protest with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, subsequent calls to protest have increasingly been met with that grey mantra of disillusionment: "...but a march isn't going to change anything...". But it's crucial here to remember Maggie’s words at Botleigh Grange Hotel. For while we may trace this malaise of social consciousness to Blair's legacy, it ultimately falls on the shoulders of Thatcher and the political ideologues who served up the intellectual basis for her potent form of pro-individual (free market), anti-society politics of which each successive government has inherited and re-branded since...

Logically, it follows that to "opt out" of political protest in the current climate is not a neutral gesture; it is a symbolic bow of subservience to Thatcher first, and then Blair. Such a gesture is painful to perform, for in its arc it implicitly shrugs at the memory of the miners crushed by Thatcher in 1985, turns its back on the 27 year-long struggle for justice still being fought by the families of The Hillsborough disaster victims, closes its eyes to the servicemen lost in Blair's Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost on occupied soil... and the list goes on...

So in 2017 we've been asked to march again. After the election of Donald Trump in November last year, groups of women around the world began to mobilize to organize protests around the date of his inauguration on the 21st January. In the UK, this movement manifested itself first as The Women's March on London. Their website homepage statement explains...

"The US election proved a catalyst for a grassroots movement of women to assert the positive values that the politics of fear denies. On January 21 2017, the first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency, women-led marches, welcoming all participants, will take place across the world, with the largest expected in Washington D.C.. We, the organisers of the London march, call on people of all genders to march in London as part of an international day of action in solidarity. We will march, wherever we march, for the protection of our fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events. We unite and stand together for the dignity and equality of all peoples, for the safety and health of our planet and for the strength of our vibrant and diverse communities. We will come together in the spirit of democracy, honouring the champions of human rights who have gone before us. Please spread the word, so that our numbers are too great to ignore and the message to the world is clear. "

This mix is in honour of all the women's groups who have served as catalysts for communities around the world to come together and resist the politics of fear and division a Donald Trump Presidency represents. If you are organizing or attending a march this weekend I hope this mix gets you in the mood over the next couple of days and if you're not sure whether you'll attend I hope the music makes you think again :) I'm looking forward to meeting my friends known and unknown down on the street...

Women's March on London

Midday, Saturday 21st January
The US Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 2LQ

More information:
https://www.womensmarchlondon.com/

If you're not in London, a list of other marches worldwide can be found here:
https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters-1/

The 10,000 Women Mix opens with Patti Smith reading her epic poem Notes To The Future, ("a love-push to get us out" to paraphrase Cornel West) and her poem and beautiful voice guide us through the course of the mix. A Tribe Called Quest follow Patti, pledging solidarity with gays, Mexicans, Muslims, women, and anyone "still here in the rear" in We The People. Next, Yoko shares a guttural howl from the morning of the election results and Jamaica's greatest living-lion of righteousness follows, looking-back-to-go-forward in The World Was One. After releasing FDT (and racking up over 10 million views on Youtube), the US Secret Service reportedly requested a copy of Y.G's upcoming album before it's release. Don't believe music isn't dangerous any more... The original version of Leh Jani spans 30 minutes and even in this shortened form goes some way to conveying the mesmeric power of Souleyman's street-level form of Syrian Dabke. In time, one album of his music will overshadow four years of a Trump Presidency and it's believed that Souleyman has released over 300 albums in his native country... PJ Harvey's prophesy of "10,000 women" in Kamikaze will surely come true on the streets on London and around the world this weekend and The Next Movement serves to set our feet marching. Abbey Lincoln makes the link between self-realization and rhythm explicit in the very first couplet of her masterful Afro-Blue. The lyrics of Somos Mas Americanos speak for themselves and this one goes out to my dad and family living in the mountains above Mexico City:

We Are More American

They have shouted at me a thousand times I should go back to my country
Because there’s no room for me here
I want to remind the gringos: I didn’t cross the border, the border crossed to me
America was born free, but men divided it
They marked a line so that I jump it
And they can call me “invader”
And that’s a very frequent mistake
They took from us eight states
Who’s then the invader?
I’m a foreigner in my own land
And I didn’t come here to cause you trouble
I’m a hard-working man

And if history isn’t lying
The powerful nation settled here, in the glory
Among brave warriors,
Indians of two continents mixed with Spaniards
And if we take centuries into account
We are more American
We are more American than the children of the Anglo-Saxons

They got from us without money the waters of the Río Grande
And they took from us Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado
Also California and Nevada were taken away
Utah was not enough, so they took Wyoming as well
I’m the blood of the Indian
I’m Latin American, I’m mestizo
We are made of all colours
And of all trades
And if we take into account centuries
 even if it hurts our neighbours
We are more American
Than all of the gringos!

Bruce Cockburn is the forgotten troubadour of Canadian song. Always razor-sharp, always conscious, Stolen Land achieves the feat of being both historically hyper-specific and beyond time and context. Dingsaller and its final refrain: "Exclusiv für die, für die nichts steht" ("Exclusively for those, for those for whom nothing stands") is for Merkel and her staunch humanity. Aretha delivers a 20th century prayer in People Get Ready, Terre Thaemlitz's refix of Oh Yoko's Seashore calms the waves and Patti sees us out as she welcomed us with her reading of Tomorrow which she dedicates to her mum...

Put this on your headphones and i'll see you down at the Embassy ;)

Tracklist:

1. A Tribe Called Quest - We The People (2016)
2. Yoko Ono - Donald Trump Scream (2016)
3. The Twinkle Brothers - The World Was One  (1982)
4. Y.G. - FDT (2016)
5. Omar Souleyman - Leh Jani (2007)
6. PJ Harvey - Kamikaze (2000)
7. The Roots - The Next Movement (1999)
8. Abbey Lincoln - Afro-Blue (1959)
9. Los Tigres del Norte Featuring Zack de la Rocha - Somos Mas Americanos (2011)
10. Bruce Cockburn - Stolen Land (1990)
11. Einsturzende Neubauten - Dingsaller (2000)
12. Aretha Franklin - People Get Ready (1968)
13. Oh Yoko - Seashore (DJ Sprinkles' Ambient Ballroom) (2012)
14. Patti Smith - Tomorrow (Live at St. Mark's Church, New York) (2002)

Entire mix intercut with Patti Smith's Notes To The Future (Live at St. Mark's Church, New York) (2002)