Protests R’ Us
Now is the time of our discontent, or so it seems. People are uprising all over the world against police brutality, corruption and unfair elections. Things that have been stewing for way too long have been let loose by months of stay at home orders. That’s part of my theory anyway.
And like other decades when things like this reach a boiling point and people take to the streets, musicians take to their microphones. Artists, just as so many of us, have a deep seeded need and desire to express anger, fear, frustration that are the internal workings that make them who they are.
On this week’s World Music Show (9/5), I’ve pulled some protest music happening in the country of Belarus. Thousands of people have been hitting the streets to protest the recent, reported fraudulent elections that saw the long time President win an election that many deemed unjust. The country is in turmoil.
Here’s who I’m featuring. I’ve pulled this information from a blog/website called Beehype, who first pulled together these songs.
Naviband – “Inshymi” (Different)
A pop band that was always loved by state media as well as the indie/pro-Belarusian crowd. They represented Belarus at “Eurovision 2017” and played alternative Belarusian festival “Basowiszcza” in Poland. But one month before the elections they released this song and they clearly said they are against police brutality, and later expressed their support for transparent elections. The chorus says: “Smoke in our eyes, we don’t see any dreams / We will wake up different somewhere in the deep.”
Vladimir Pugach & Lavon Volski – “Дыхем зноў” (Dykhaem znou/Breathing again)
Vladimir Pugach is a leader of a pop/rock band J:МОРС (J:MORS), one of the most popular here since the beginning of the 2000s. He has always stayed away from supporting either opposition or president, and the band twice had problems for not performing in support of Lukashenko (2005 and 2010). But this time their singer declared his open position for transparent elections and against police brutality well before the elections. The song says that everything will be good in the end.
Naka & Friends – “Вам” (Vam/To You)
This song by a batch of prominent alternative artists was composed to a poem by a prominent poet Vladimir Neklyaev (who was running for presidency in 2010), after the brutal detentions in late June. It appeals to the policemen with questions like: “Where did you learn to be scoundrels? Where did you learn to be villains? How did you become thieves? How did you manage to become asslickers?”
Now, with this band--their song is a little more hardcore, rock n’ roll that I usually play on the show. But the video was really intense and poignant--so watch it with that understanding.
Дай дарогу (Daj darogu, Give way) – “Баю-бай” (Baju-baj /Hushaby)
This one is good, because it brilliantly shows the realities we live in – police beating up all who stand against the president – both on the level of the song and the video. It’s sung from the point of view of a police guy, who’s not so clever, but completely into his brutal work. Last night the leader of the band Yuri Stylski was detained, supposedly for headlining a peaceful march in his native Brest.
As for protest music from America, I threw in two from two amazing musicians who’ve been fighting to right many wrongs--women’s rights, Puerto Rican rights, and gun violence. And both Taina Asili and Eljuri do it with style, grace and power.
Other music on the show tonight include new music from Afel Bocuoum, the UK band Brophy’s Law, and the Latin family band Sol y Canto.
Plus, don’t miss out on songs from Ondratropica, Midival Punditz and a great Rock n’ Roll Punk song from the long running female trio Shonen Knife, who love candy.
The World Music Show airs Saturday nights from 6-8pm on VPM Music 93.1 and 107.3FM and can be streamed right here! If you’re interested, follow me on Twitter @VPM_IanStewart or on Facebook.