Beth Gibons of Portishead

Pink Floyd have released a new song 'Hey, Hey, Rise Up!' featuring Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band Boombox. The lineup on the track includes David Gilmour and Nick Mason with bassist Guy Pratt and keyboardist Nitin Sawhney, Guardian reports. 'Hey, Hey, Rise Up!' is the first original music from the band since 1994’s 'The Division Bell'. In similar news, Portishead will regroup next month for their first show in seven years, playing a short set as part of a War Child benefit concert supporting relief efforts in Ukraine, Consequence reports.

Whole lotta love for the planet
February 20, 2022

Watch John Paul Jones and 17 musicians do Playing for Change

John Paul Jones appears in a new Playing for Change music video, performing Led Zeppelin's 'When the Levee Breaks' alongside 17 musicians from around the world, Rock and Roll Garage reports. The video features appearances from guitarists Derek Trucks and Buffalo Nichols, drummer Stephen Perkins, harmonica player Ben Lee, singer Susan Tedeschi, singer Elle Marja Eira, slide guitarist Keith Secola, vocalist Mihirangi and others. Playing For Change is a multimedia music project, featuring musicians and singers from across the globe, with the mission to connect the world through music. The song has so far generated $34,088, all funds will benefit charity partners of Peace Through Music, including Conservation International, American Rivers, WWF, Reverb and the Playing For Change Foundation.

Tom Morello, Mannequin Pussy, Speedy Ortiz, Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, Jeff Rosenstock, Anjimile are among 200 artists who signed off on an open letter against the palm-scanning technology from Amazon for entry to venues. Critics worry implementing palm scanners at shows comes with serious privacy and safety concerns for concertgoers. Rolling Stone reports on the issue.

Peace, love and understanding (of Korean)
October 06, 2021

BTS’ anti-bullying campaign raised $3.6 million

K-pop icons BTS have raised an impressive $3.6 million after teaming up with UNICEF four years ago to create an anti-bullying campaign called Love Myself, NME reports. Launched in November 2017, the Love Myself campaign sends a powerful anti-bullying message, promoting self-love among children and young people across the world. In addition to the $3.6 million raised, the campaign has also generated significant interest online, with almost five million tweets mentioning the initiative, as well as over 50 million engagements.

Support and inform
September 21, 2021

Young Women's Music Project - feminism in action

"We aim to build a sisterhood of young people by providing an inclusive, non-judgemental, safe space for musical and creative expression... We’re much more than a charity, or a music project: we’re a supportive community" - Young Women's Music Project presents itself. It helps young women learn about and perform music and all the issues around it, via gigs, workshops, talks, training and more. Via Music Journalism Insider.

A lovely story in Pollstar about Dan O'Connor who has been jumping into Lake Michigan every day for over a year. Beginning of this year he started inviting musicians to perform live on the water's edge while he jumped, and using his daily ritual as a platform to fundraise for Chicago music venues.

A hero's gotta do, what a hero's gotta do
August 04, 2021

Lil Baby on being a role model: I do what I gotta do now

Last year, Lil Baby wrote 'The Bigger Picture' in response to the police killing of George Floyd. In May, he joined the Floyd family at the White House, alongside attorney Ben Crump, to support passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. In his hometown of Atlanta, he bought out an entire Foot Locker store and gave away sneakers in his old neighborhood, later downplaying his efforts on Instagram. "My life feels like a responsibility” Lil Baby says to Billboard - “I’m not even trying to be no role model, honestly. [But] now that I know that I am, I try to carry myself differently, because I got people watching. I don’t even be doing what I really want to do. I do what I gotta do now”.

Canada established a government-funded, Christian church-administered boarding school system in the late 1800s, with the goal of forcibly removing Indigenous children from their “savage” parents and impose English and Christianity. Some 150,000 Indigenous children attended these schools before the last one closed in 1997. The mortality rate for those children was estimated to be up to five times higher than their white counterparts, due to factors including suicide, neglect and disease - nearly 38,000 sexual and physical abuse claims from former residential school students were reported, along with 3,200 documented deaths. Guardian presents Canadian rappers coming from the indigenous communities who are using their music as a tool of recovery for themselves and their communities.

Bandcamp has pledged to donate 100 percent of its share of sales made on June 18 for a 24-hour period. This year, the event will again coincide with the music platform's Bandcamp Fridays program. All the proceeds will go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in honour of Juneteenth. This will be Bandcamp's second summer in a row to observe Juneteenth in this manner.

Dozens of artists signed a letter asking the US Senate to "take action on background checks" for gun purchases, in a campaign organized by Billboard. The esteemed signees: Christina Aguilera, Tori Amos, Sara Barielles, Aaron Bay-Schuck, Tony Bennett, Selim Bouab, Rob Bourdon, Scooter Braun, Cortez Bryant, Michael Bublé, Vanessa Carlton, Joseph Carozza, Steve Cooper, Tom Corson, Lee Daniels, Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Delson, Diplo, Mike Easterlin, John Esposito, Melissa Etheridge, Fletcher, Luis Fonsi, Becky G, Kevin Gore, Julie Greenwald, Josh Groban, Horacio Gutierrez, Joe Hahn, Halsey, Billy Joel, Craig Kallman, Alicia Keys, Kid Cudi, Carole King, Elle King, Adam Lambert, Cyndi Lauper, Kevin Liles, Dre London, Jennifer Lopez, Macklemore, Zayn Malik, Carianne Marshall, Ricky Martin, Paul McCartney, Julia Michaels, Guy Moot, Jason Mraz, Gregg Nadel, Yoko Ono, Mark Pinkus, Gregory Porter, Prince Royce, Bonnie Raitt, Dawn Richard, RMR, Paul Robinson, Maggie Rogers, Kelly Rowland, Mike Shinoda, Sia, Matt Signore, Britney Spears, Rob Stevenson, Sting, Barbra Streisand, Justin Tranter, Sir Trilli, Sharon Van Etten, Aimie Vaughn-Fruehe, Eddie Vedder, Andrew Watt.

The New York Times shares a story about three brave dancers - Piisciis (25), Nova (25), and Axid (20) who joined anti-government protests in Bogota, Columbia, and fought the power with their - dance. “In that moment we were all connected in the message of the struggle, the resistance, empathy, strength and love” Piisciis said, while Nova added: “We resisted with art and vogue. We were scared, but the people and the love from the public was our gasoline to go up there and confront the police”. For weeks, thousands of people have crowded the streets of Colombia, protesting inequality, rising poverty and police violence. President Iván Duque has deployed the country’s military and police forces, and more than 40 people have died.

How green was my island
June 07, 2021

Morna - the sound of queens of Cabo Verde

Cesaria Evora

Al Jazeera looks into morna, a Cape Verdean musical practice believed to date back to the 18th century, that was initially performed by women who were brought into the archipelago from West Africa and forced into slavery. These improvised songs were used by “Cantadeiras” (women singers) to speak of day-to-day affairs – often taking on a satirical format. Over time, morna, also known as “música rainha” (“queen music”), underwent several changes to its melodic and rhythmic characteristics, becoming the slower, more mournful version heard today.

"Despite all the restrictions and prohibitions, I will complete the album. Maybe that will lead to a return to prison, but it really does not matter to me. I am doomed to produce music" - Iranian artist Mehdi Rajabian (31) says in a Rolling Stone interview from a solitary confinement in a basement. He is about to release his new album 'Coup of Gods', where he mixes classical strings, Middle Eastern instruments, and gorgeous vocalizations, as well as female voices which could bring him back to jail.

Talib Kweli / Tom Morello

Tom Morello, DIIV, Talib Kweli, and 180 other musicians signed an open letter calling on Spotify to make a public commitment never to utilize, license, sell, or monetize a patent for technology that could monitor and record users’ speech and background noise to help curate and recommend music, Pitchfork reports. “Spotify claims that the technology can detect, among other things, ‘emotional state, gender, age, or accent’ to recommend music” the letter reads, outlining the five major concerns that the coalition has regarding the technology: “emotional manipulation,” discrimination, privacy violations, data security, and the exacerbation of inequality in the music industry.

BBC is showing a new documentary 'Black Power: A British Story of Resistance' about the UK's Black Power movement in the late 1960s which aimed to bring a revolution to the status of black people in the UK. It features interviews with past activists, some of which have told about the music that epitomises their journey.

The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers organized protests outside Spotify’s offices in 31 cities in the US and Canada, South America, Australia, Europe, and Asia on Monday, Clash Magazine reports. The peaceful demonstrations were meant to draw attention to the “Justice at Spotify” list of demands, which includes paying artists one cent per stream (Spotify currently pays some artists as little as $0.0038 per stream, which is among the lowest rates of any platform), plus transparent contracts, a more user-centric payment model, an end to payola, a switch to crediting all labor in recordings, and an end to legal battles against artists which serve to “further impoverish artists”.

A beautiful story in BBC about ballerina Ilmira Bagrautinova from the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre who, dressed in full costume, performs scenes from Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' - on the frozen Gulf of Finland. It's her eco-protest against the construction of a port in Batareinaya Bay, a popular beach about 100 km west of St Petersburg. Bagrautinova told the BBC "we are hoping that nature, beauty and harmony will triumph".

The Black Music Action Coalition teamed with the #breathewithme Revolution and several musicians to make a '17 Ways Black People Are Killed in America' urging Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to launch a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) during the first 100 days of administration. It features Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, A$AP Ferg, Offset, Rapsody, Ty Dolla $ign, Vic Mensa, 070 Shake, Khalid, Asian Doll, Summer Walker, and others reading off names of police brutality victims and the unconscionable reasons they were killed, such as "Walking down the street, Elijah McClain", "Jogging, Ahmaud Arbery", "Sleeping in your car, Rayshard Brooks", "Accused of using a fake 20, George Floyd", and "Sleeping in your bed, Breonna Taylor". n similar news, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have shared the official playlist for their upcoming inauguration, which includes artists like Kendrick Lamar, MF DOOM, Tame Impala, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, SAULT, Mac Miller, Bob Marley, and A Tribe Called Quest.

Chineke! Orchestra has created a composition inspired by the encouraging moment from the London Black Lives Matter protests in June when anti-racism protester Patrick Hutchinson carried to safety an injured counter-protester, BBC reports. The piece, composed by James B. Wilson and including powerful poetry by Yomi Sode, is performed by Chineke! Orchestra, the first professional orchestra in Europe to be made up of majority black, Asian and ethnically diverse musicians.

Nomcebo Zikode released 'Jerusalema' at the end of 2019 in South Africa, soon becoming one of the biggest local songs of the summer there. The song has since reached the top five on music charts in Belgium, France, Hungary, Netherlands and Switzerland. It has been streamed almost 55m times on Spotify, the music video has been watched more than 170m times on YouTube and 385m on TikTok. In September 'Jerusalema' became the most Shazammed song in history. Guardian tells the story of the birth of the song.

A slave master, not a stage master
September 23, 2020

Slave trader association dropped - Bristol's Colston Hall renamed

Bristol venue Colston Hall is dropping its name following decades of protests and boycotts over its association with the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston. A statue of Colston was toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters and thrown into the harbour in June. The process of renaming the hall began in 2017, following protests by civil rights campaigners, music lovers and artists, including the Bristol band Massive Attack, who refused to perform in the venue. From now on it will be known as Bristol Beacon.

Fiddle in the middle
September 21, 2020

Country artist Tyler Childers rises against racism

Tyler Childers has dropped a powerful statement with his new album 'Long Violent History' where he stands against racism and violence, and calls for universal values. He introduced the album with a video explaining his concept, best summarized with these words: "What if we were to constantly open up our daily paper and see a headline like ‘East Kentucky Man Shot Seven Times on Fishing Trip?' and read on to find the man was shot while fishing with his son by a game warden who saw him rummaging through his tackle box for his license and thought he was reaching for a knife?... If we wouldn't stand for it. why would we expect another group of Americans to stand for it? Why would we stand silent, or worse, get in the way of it being rectified?". The album consists of 8 songs played on a violin, 7 of which are instrumental covers, and the last one 'Long Violent History' the only with lyrics, and the only one written by Childers. American Songwriter explains the concept; NPR loves the album.

Ordinary people needed for extraordinary goals
September 21, 2020

'White Riot' documentary - punk, ska and reggae against the far right

"An excellent brief documentary about a heroic grassroots political movement whose importance reveals itself more clearly in retrospect with every year that passes" - Peter Bradshaw writes about the new documentary 'White Riot'. Director Rebecca Shah mixes archival images and interviews with key figures of the grassroots organization Rock Against Racism that bonded together punk, ska, reggae and new wave scenes to stand against the far right. The documentary closes with images of the Carnival Against Nazis, which drew in an audience of 100,000 in support of their cause.

The Poland government is arguably one of the most conservative in Europe, recorded acts of homophobia happening on a weekly basis in the country, and there were also recorded incidents of police brutality. How systemic homophobia is can be read from the fact that a third of Polish towns have declared themselves “LGBT-free zones”. Guardian brings a story about Polish DJs and musicians fighting for the rights of the minority.

Level talked to four women from different parts of American culture to discuss how hip-hop should change its attitude and behaviour toward women. "A lot of these C-suites and the music industry needs to be torn down and rebuilt with the younger people and people who are not complicit in decades of rape culture and abuse" - music producer Drew Dixon said. Journalist Clarissa Brooks is hopeful"I do feel like things are getting better, though, because people are making art for themselves and their communities. People aren’t interested in celebrity in the same way". Author Danyel Smith put it simply: "Good people have to do good things and good work".

The Show Must Be Paused initiative made a list of demands for the music companies, Billboard reports, asking for, well, not too much really. Health insurance benefits to artists and road crews; addressing internal pay disparities and converting long-term temp jobs to staff jobs; adding anti-racism and anti-sexism clauses to touring contracts; actively recruiting Black employees and make internships available to people who aren't in college. The Show Must Be Paused initiative made a list of demands for the music companies, Billboard reports, asking for, well, not too much really. Health insurance benefits to artists and road crews; addressing internal pay disparities and converting long-term temp jobs to staff jobs; adding anti-racism and anti-sexism clauses to touring contracts; actively recruiting Black employees and make internships available to people who aren't in college...

"A political activist in the US civil rights movement - before it was even a movement" - biographer Robert Atkinson said about Babatunde Olatunji, Nigeria-born drummer who spent his life in the US playing drums, and staging anti-racism protests. BBC recollects how Olatunji, in 1952, three years before Rosa Parks helped spark the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama, staged his own protests on public buses in the south. His protest was brave and clever - he and a group of students boarded a racially segregated bus in Atlanta wearing traditional African clothes and were allowed to sit anywhere they wanted because they were not identified as African Americans, who had to sit at the back. Day after they boarded the same bus in their Western clothing and refused to sit in the back. Olatunji was, however, better known for his music - he became a pioneering drummer, releasing 17 studio albums, including his 1959 debut 'Drums of Passion', widely credited with helping to introduce the West to "world music".

Entrenched in tradition, the classic music industry has allowed its outdated systems to endure, largely unchallenged; Black musicians still make up less than two percent of the orchestral members in the US - reports about the important issue. One Instagram account, Orchestra Is Racist, lies at the epicenter of the movement to end racism in classics, with musicians of color coming forward to share their stories of racial injustice. The page provides a platform for musicians of color to share their stories of experienced racism in classical music, from education to orchestral hiring processes to dealings with arts' administration.

Fiona Apple has narrated a new short film about how to safely document and record U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests, Vulture reports. Apple said she "felt really lucky to be able to read it aloud and learn it. It’s such valuable information".

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