Rage Against The Machine: remember their bombastic debut, a groundbreaking Musical Molotov Cocktail…

01 Bombtrack

02 Killing in the Name

03 Take the Power Back

04 Settle for Nothing

05 Bullet in the Head

06 Know Your Enemy

07 Wake Up

08 Fistful of Steel

09 Township Rebellion

10 Freedom

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Rage_Against_The_Machine___Aage_Against_The_Machine

Review by Eduardo Rivadavia @ AMG ALL MUSIC GUIDE

“Probably the first album to successfully merge the seemingly disparate sounds of rap and heavy metal, Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut was groundbreaking enough when released in 1992, but many would argue that it has yet to be surpassed in terms of influence and sheer brilliance — though countless bands have certainly tried. This is probably because the uniquely combustible creative relationship between guitar wizard Tom Morello and literate rebel vocalist Zack de la Rocha could only burn this bright, this once. While the former’s roots in ’80s heavy metal shredding gave rise to an inimitable array of six-string acrobatics and rhythmic special effects (few of which anyone else has managed to replicate), the latter delivered meaningful rhymes with an emotionally charged conviction that suburban white boys of the ensuing nu-metal generation could never hope to touch. As a result, syncopated slabs of hard rock insurrection like “Bombtrack,” “Take the Power Back,” and “Know Your Enemy” were as instantly unforgettable as they were astonishing. Yet even they paled in comparison to veritable clinics in the art of slowly mounting tension such as “Settle for Nothing,” “Bullet in the Head,” and the particularly venomous “Wake Up” (where Morello revises Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” riff for his own needs) — all of which finally exploded with awesome power and fury. And even listeners who were unable (or unwilling) to fully process the band’s unique clash of muscle and intellect were catered to, as RATM were able to convey their messages through stubborn repetition via the fundamental challenge of “Freedom” and their signature track, “Killing in the Name,” which would become a rallying cry of disenfranchisement, thanks to its relentlessly rebellious mantra of “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” Ultimately, if there’s any disappointment to be had with this near-perfect album, it’s that it still towers above subsequent efforts as the unequivocal climax of Rage Against the Machine’s vision. As such, it remains absolutely essential.”

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Dancing on the Tightrope

Groovy!

“Whether you’re high or low
You gotta tip on the tightrope…”

Montréal International Jazz Festival 2014: 2 million hearts can’t be wrong! [EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE]

CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION - Signature Experiences Collection®

PULSATING TO THE SAME BEAT
by Eduardo Carli de Moraes

“Music is the universal language of human emotion.”
THEODOR REIK (1888-1969),
The Haunting Melody – Psychoanalytic Experiences in Life and Music

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“Saxophoenix”, by Yves Archambault. FIJM’s official 2014 poster.

Between June 26 and July 6, Montréal hosted the 35th edition of its world-famous International Jazz Festival. Every year, in the heart of the francophone metropolis of North America, this event attracts a huge audience of music-lovers. No less than 2 million visits are registered to its splendid outdoor site.

The 2014 Jazz Fest offered more than 300 free concerts, which took place in several different open-air stages at the magnificent Quartier Des Spectacles, beautifully adorned to receive this massive gathering of Music Worship. In addition to the wide range of free events, dozens of paid gigs happened in pubs, theaters and concert halls across the city, some of which had sold-out tickets months before the first musical note was played.

It was the dawn of the Canadian summer and the heatwave made sure there would be no shortage of sunlight and sweat during the 11 days of musical feast. During his spicy and enthusiastic concert, the Haitian singer Jean-Jean Roosevelt said jokingly that Montréal – a city where winters are quite harsh – had been promoted to the status of  Tropical Island. People all around seem to be filling quite at ease: it was possible to chill out in the grass in front of certain stages, if your legs needed some repose; or else to join the jumpin’-and-cheerin’ crowds who were in partying-mood.

Alain Simard, who founded the F.I.J.M. (Festival International de Jazz de Montréal) 35 years ago, and acts nowadays as its president, considers:

“If it has become the largest cultural and tourism event in Québec, it is especially because it represents social interaction at its best, the very essence of the now-iconic sense of joy and celebration identified with Montréal and Montrealers, and the welcome they offer to visitors from everywhere. Everyone is invited and participates with an unparalleled openness. All distinctions – ethnic, linguistic, political, economic and generational – cease to exist. Music and human warmth are the common denominator! The Festival is an inclusive, cool little urban oasis, where we can gather by the thousands and relax peacefully in a joyous musical environment, where the reigning impulses are to discover, share and celebrate together.”

Downbeat magazine ranks Montréal's Jazz Fest among the 80 coolest thing in Jazz today.

Downbeat magazine ranks Montréal’s Jazz Fest among the 80 coolest thing in Jazz today.

Québec’s Prime Minister, Philippe Couillard, also celebrates the festival’s scope: “For 35 years, the F.I.J.M. has attracted the greatest artists on the international scene. It brings together jazz legends and rising stars. Over the years, this rendez-vous has become the world’s largest jazz festival. Its success is a testamente to our values. We are an open, ambitious, passionate, and festive society, much to the delight of music lovers around the world.” (Mots des Dignitaires, p. 13) What may sound to some ears like an overstatement was actually endorsed in 2004 by the Guinness Book of Records, which considered the Montréal Jazz Festival the largest of its kind worldwide. The Downbeat magazine, in its 80th anniversary edition, in which it explores The 80 Coolest Things in Jazz Todayalso ranks F.I.J.M. as one of Earth’s greatest jazz festivals.

Montréal, the most populous city of the Canadian province of Québec, with more than 1 million and 600 thousand inhabitants, experiences during the Jazz Fest an extraordinary human effervescence, driven by the impressive amount of temporary visitors who attend the event – including musicians, sound engineers , roadies, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, dancers, artists of various strains etc. Besides, of course, the crowd of music lovers, which constitutes a multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic audience that highlights the intense cosmopolitism that’s one of the main trends of Montréal.

c2a9festival-international-de-jazz-de-montrecc81al-victor-diaz-lamich-panorama-2

fijm_logo_2011_coul_custom-9e3d41135815c9fa4f82f07610583c7661399813-s6-c30Ever since its 1st edition in 1980, the festival has been harbouring concerts by major figures in world music: F.I.J.M’s history registers performances of “myths” such as Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Astor Piazzolla, Dizzy Gillespie, Tom Jobim, James Brown, Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Cab Callaway, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, among many others. In 2014, amongst the greatest attractions of the festival were the bluesman B. B. King, the soul diva Aretha Franklin, the pianist and singer Diana Krall, plus some artists linked to the world of rock’n’roll, but very much respected in the universe jazz – Elvis Costello, Beck Hansen and Ben Harper. This 35th edition also paid homage to the flamenco guitarist, recently deceased, Paco de Lucía (1947-2014), to whom the festival was dedicated.

The achievement of this mega-event is only possible because of public and private powers who join forces in order to make it happen with clockwork precision: Québec’s Ministries of Tourism, Transport, Culture & Communications, among others, work-in-sync with private partners like Rio Tinto Alcan, Bell, TD and Heineken. The Montréal Jazz Fest is a non-profit organization and the official publication states that “the activities are carried out with no intention of financial gain and all profits are re-injected in the operations of the festival and its free activities.” This latest edition was accomplished ​​with a budget of 25.2 million Canadian dollars and was responsible for the creation of 1,500 jobs.

A study published in 2011 by SECOR gives us an idea of the broader economic impacts of the Festival on the sectors of housing, food and transportation – all of them go through one of their biggest annual booms during Jazz celebrations in Montréal: it is estimated that the expenditure of tourists and production teams, whose presence Montréal is wholly or partly justified by the festival’s occurrence, adds up to 96 million Canadian dollars. As for the origins of visitors, the statistics show that 30% come from the U.S., 25% from the province of Québec, 18% from other regions of Canada, 18% from Europe and 9% from other countries.

"Drifter's Escape", uma obra de Jimi Hendrix. Saiba mais.

“Drifter’s Escape”, a painting by Jimi Hendrix

Despite being a festival devoted mainly to music, F.I.J.M. also makes room for other forms of artistic expression, including street-dance performances (have a taste of it on a video at the end of this post). The public also had access to a fine arts gallery, where rare paintings by Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis were on display, side by side with numerous works of artists from Québec – for example the highly talented Yves Archambault, who has been, for the last 20 years, responsible for the illustrations of the Jazz Fest posters and flyers. Below, you can see some of the most impressive works by Archambault in recent years – check it out:

2003
2008
2009
2011
2012
2013

Montréal’s Jazz Fest has also an educational mission: it aims at enabling children and youngsters to discover and cherish the world of music at an early age. The idea is to provide the newcomers-to-life with some sparks that hopefully will start in them a passionate fire of musical devotion.  Families with kids can be seen circulating quite at ease through F.I.J.M.’s welcoming spaces, and a key initiative in this regard is the Musical Playground For Children (Parc Musical Pour Les Enfants). It  seeks to provide entertainment to children while at the same time planting in their soil the seeds of love for art. In one of the attractions of the park, the kids could jump, dance and roll over the keys of a giant piano. In another, they could slide down through a huge saxophone, whose “mouth” expelled not musical notes destined to sail in the wind but rather laughing kids with veins filled with adrenaline.

Despite its various delight for the ears, the Festival was also filled with eye-candy: giant and colourful flags representing pianos were gracefully swingin’ in the breeze; the  building of the University of Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) served as a screen-of-stone for astonishing projections of photographs portraying great musicians in action; and all around the eyes could enjoy the gorgeous architecture of the Place Des Arts and its surroundings.

Another very interesting practise of the festival is its Carboneutrality, which means that Montréal Jazz Festival pledges to accomplish an event that has no deleterious effects on the environment because of increased emissions of carbon dioxide. Both F.I.J.M. and the Festival d’Été de Québec are committed to being “carboneutre”: all the pollution and dirt, resulting from the increased pace of transport, rising consumption of electricity and the largest waste production are counteracted by “green projects” supported by the festivals. I found this eco-friendliness to be truly laudable. In addition to the wide range of free cultural events provided to the general public – an excellent example that it’s possible to achieve both artistic quality and broad popular access – Québec’s summer music festivals  play an important role of ecological awareness and sustainable practices. It teaches us that, when the music is over, the job’s far from done: time to start recycling and planting trees.

JAzz

All things considered, this was by far one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in a music festival. It was profoundly rewarding to go through these several days of musical feast in Québec’s metropolis – which has already become one of my favorite places on Planet Earth. I have a heart full of “bravo!”s for Montréal’s excellent event – and I strongly wish I can come back in the future to enjoy a brand new banquet of melodies, rhythm and people in cheerful interactions.

I especially liked how, apart from being a Jazz festival, there’s not a drop of orthodoxy or narrow-mindedness in defining what artists fit the canons of what “jazz” means. Instead, Montréal delightfully wishes diversity to reign. No purism erects borders, prohibits styles or condemns trends: Montréal’s attitude, it seems to me, is one of receiving with wide-opened arms Music in all of its diverse manifestations. There was no musical apartheid going on, but rather musical expression was taking place in a very broad ethno-cultural spectrum: I could experience the spicy African rhythms of Mokoomba, from Zimbabwe; the Australian big-band Melbourne Ska Orchestra; the Cuban group Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas, experts in salsa, mambo and rumba; the futuristic and orchestrated hip-hop ensemble Deltron 3030; the heavy blues of high-voltage of Miss Layla Zoe; the soulful rock’n’roll from L.A.’s Vintage Trouble; among many other examples.

Theodor Reik wrote in his fascinating book The Haunting Melody that “music is the universal language of human emotion.” This idea never made as much sense to me as it does now. In Montréal, during this unforgetable week in which I was a Latin American flannêur in one of the cities I loved the most to meet, I felt like some sort of human-fish swimming in a sea of people of extraordinary diversity. Humans from differents creeds, colors, roots, backgrounds, affiliations, languages, clothes, tattoos, idiosyncrasies, were coming together in a joyous celebration. It dawned on me with unprecedented force how much music has a potential of transcending apartheids and making people pulsate in the same beat. It filled me with hope that another world is possible, in which differences are not a reason to sever relations but much more an invitation to join together and co-evolve; in which all apartheids fall down and individuals salute each other with “namastê”; in which art is respected, cherished and collectively celebrated as a practical force that enables la joie de vivre; in which music’s power of transgressing borders and languages proves that it is quite possible to build precious spaces in which John Lennon’s dream – “The Brotherhood of Man” – is already alive and kicking. I still can hear its heartbeat.

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Exclusive footage:


MUSIC WITHOUT BORDERS
A film by Eduardo Carli de Moraes / Awestruck Wanderer

You might also enjoy taking at look at my
Album of photographs.

Cheers, fellow earthlings!
“Without music life would be a mistake.” (Nietzsche)

Angela Davis in “The Meaning of Freedom” (With art by Shepard Fairey and music by Fugees, M. Fanti and Arrested Development)

Power

Art by Shepard Fairey

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Angela Davis

ANGELA DAVIS in The Meaning of Freedom.


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“Beware of those leaders and theorists who eloquently rage against white supremacy but identify black gay men and lesbians as evil incarnate. Beware of those leaders who call upon us to protect our young black men but will beat their wives and abuse their children and will not support a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy. Beware of those leaders! And beware of those who call for the salvation of black males but will not support the rights of Caribbean, Central American, and Asian immigrants, or who think that struggles in Chiapas or in Northern Ireland are unrelated to black freedom! Beware of those leaders!

Regardless of how effectively (or inneffectively) veteran activists are able to engage with the issues of our times, there is clearly a paucity of young voices associated with black political leadership. The relative invisibility of youth leadership is a crucial example of this crisis in contemporary black social movements. On the other hand, within black popular culture, youth are, for better or for worse, helping to shape the political vision of their contemporaries. Many young black performers are absolutely brilliant. Not only are they musically dazzing, they are also trying to put forth anti-racist and anti-capitalist critiques. I’m thinking, for example, about Nefertiti, Arrested Development, The Fugees, and Michael Franti…”

Listen to Fugee’s The Score (Full Album)

Download Arrested Development’s album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…  

Michael Fanti’s albums for download in one single torrent

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“There are already one million in prison in the United States. This does not include the 500.000 in city and county jails, the 600.000 on parole, and the 3 million people on probation. It also does not include the 60.000 young people in juvenile facilities, which is to say, there are presently more than FIVE MILLION people either incarcerated, on parole, or on probation… Not only is the duration of imprisonment drastically extended, it is rendered more repressive than ever. Within some state prison systems, weights have even been banned. Having spent time in several jails myself, I know how important it is to exercise the body as well as the mind. The barring of higher education and weight sets implies the creation of an incarcerated society of people who are worth little  more than trash to the dominant culture.

Who is benefiting from these ominous new developments? There is already something of a boom in the prison construction industry. New architectural trends that recapitulate old ideas about incarceration such as Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon have produced the need to build new jails and prisons – both public and private prisons. And there is the dimension of the profit drive, with its own exploitative, racist component. It’s also important to recognize that the steadily growing trend of privatization of U.S. jails and prisons is equally menacing… We therefore ask: How many more black bodies will be sacrified on the altar of law and order?

The prison system as a whole serves as an apparatus of racist and political repression… the fact that virtually everyone behind bars was (and is) poor and that a disproportionate number of them were black and Latino led us [the activists] to think about the more comprehensive impact of punishment on communities of color and poor communities in general. How many rich people are in prison? Perhaps a few here and there, many of whom reside in what we call country club prisons. But the vast majority of prisoners are poor people. A disproportionate number of those poor people were and continue to be people of color, people of African descent, Latinos, and Native Americans.

Some of you may know that the most likely people to go to prison in this country today are young African American men. In 1991, the Sentencing Project released a report indicating that 1 in 4 of all young black men between the ages of 18 and 24 were incarcerated in the United States. 25% is an astonishing figure. That was in 1991. A few years later, the Sentencing Project released a follow-up report revealing that within 3 or 4 years, the percentage had soared to over 32%. In other words, approximately one-third of all young black men in this country are either in prison or directly under the supervision and control of the criminal justice system. Something is clearly wrong.”

 (pg. 25, 27 and 38)

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“When a child’s life is forever  arrested by one of the gunshots that are heard so frequently in poor black and Latino communities, parents, teachers, and friends parede in demonstrations bearing signs with the slogan ‘STOP THE VIOLENCE.’ Those who live with the daily violence associated with drug trafficking and increasing use of dangerous weapons by youth are certainly in need of immediate solutions to these problems. But the decades-old law-and-order solutions will hardly bring peace to poor black and Latino communities. Why is there such a paucity of alternatives? Why the readiness to take on a discourse and entertain policies and ideological strategies that are so laden with racism?

Ideological racism has begun to lead a secluded existence. It sequesters itself, for example, within the concept of crime. (…) I, for one, am of the opinion that we will have to renounce jails and prisons as the normal and unquestioned approaches to such social problems as drug abuse, unemployment, homelessness, and illiteracy. (…) When abolitionists raise the possibility of living without prisons, a common reaction is fear – fear provoked by the prospect of criminals pouring out of prisons and returning to communities where they may violently assault people and their property. It is true that abolitionists want to dismantle structures of imprisonment, but not without a process that calls for building alternative institutions. It is not necessary to address the drug problem, for example, within the criminal justice system. It needs to be separated from the criminal justice system. Rehabilitation is not possible within the jail and prison system.

We have to learn how to analyze and resist racism even in contexts where people who are targets and victims of racism commit acts of harm against others. Law-and-order discourse is racist, the existing system of punishment has been deeply defined by historical racism. Police, courts, and prisons are dramatic examples of institutional racism. Yet this is not to suggest that people of color who commits acts of violence against other human beings are therefore innocent. This is true of brothers and sisters out in the streets as well as those in the high-end suites… A victim of racism can also be a perpetrator of sexism. And indeed, a victim of racism can be a perpetrator of racism as well. Victimization can no longer be permitted to function as a halo of innocence.”

(pg. 29 – 31)

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A Shepard Fairey exhibition

“Black people have been on the forefront of radical and revolutionary movements in this country for several centuries. (…) Not all of us have given up hope for revolutionary change. Not all of us accept the notion of capitalist inevitability based on the collapse of socialism. Socialism of a certain type did not work because of irreconcilable internal contradictions. Its structures have fallen. But to assume that capitalism is triumphant is to use a simplistic boxing-match paradigm. Despite its failure to build lasting democratic sctructures, socialism nevertheless demonstrated its superiority over capitalism on several accounts: the ability to provide free education, low-cost housing, jobs, free child care, free health care, etc. This is precisely what is needed in U.S. black communities… and among poor people in general. Harlem furnishes us with a dramatic example of the future of late capitalism and compelling evidence of the need to reinvigorate socialist democratic theory and practise – for the sake of our sisters and brothers who otherwise will be thrown into the dungeons of the future, and indeed, for the sake of us all.

During the McCarthy era, communism was established as the enemy of the nation and came to be represented as the enemy of the “free world”. During the 1950s, when membership in the Communist Party of U.S.A. was legally criminalized, many members were forced underground and/or were sentenced to many years in prison. In 1969, when I was personally targeted by anti-communist furor, black activists in such organizations as the Black Panther Party were also singled out. As a person who represented both the communist threat and the black revolutionary threat, I became a magnet for many forms of violence… If we can understand how people could be led to fear communism in such a visceral way, it might help us to apprehend the ideological character of the fear of the black criminal today.

The U.S. war in Vietnam lasted as long as it did because it was fueled by a public fear of communism. The government and the media led the public to believe that the Vietnamese were their enemy, as if it were the case that the defeat of the racialized communist enemy in Vietnam would ameliorate U.S. people’s lives and make them feel better about themselves…”

(To know more about the Vietnam war, please watch Peter Davis’ Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds)

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angela-davis-poster

“The connection between the criminalization of young black people and the criminalization of immigrants are not random. In order to understand the structural connections that tie these two forms of criminalization together, we will have to consider the ways in which global capitalism has transformed the world. What we witnessed at the close of the 20th century is the growing power of a circuit of transnational corporations that belong to no particular nation-state, that are not expected to respect the laws of any given nation-state, and that move across borders at will in perpetual search of maximizing profits.

Let me tell you a story about my personal relationship  with one of these transnational corporations – Nike. My first pair of serious running shoes were Nikes. Over the years I became so attached to Nikes that I convinced myself that I could not run without wearing them. But once I learned about the conditions under which these shoes are produced, I could not in good conscience buy another pair of their running shoes. It may be true that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods had multimillion-dollar contracts with Nike, but in Indonesia and Vietnam Nike has been creating working conditions that, in many respects, resemble slavery.

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Not long ago there was an investigation of the Nike factory in Ho Chi Minh City, and it was discovered that the young women who work in Nike’s sweatshops there were paid less than the minimum wage in Vietnam, which is only U$2.50 a day… Consider what you pay for Nikes and the vast differential between the price and the workers’ wages. This differential is the basis for Nike’s rising profits. (…) If you read the entire report, you will be outraged to learn of the abominable treatment endured by the young women and girls who produce the shoes and the apparel we wear. The details of the report include the fact that during an 8-hour shift, workers are able to use the toilet just once, and they are prohibited from drinking water more than twice. There is sexual harrasment, inadequate health care, and excessive overtime… Perhaps we need to discuss the possibility of an organized boycott… but given the global reach of corporations like Nike, we need to think about a global boycott.

Corporations move to developing countries because it is extremely profitable to pay workers U$2.50 a day or less in wages. That’s U$2.50  a day, not U$2.50 a hour, which would still be a pittance. (…) The corporations that have migrated to Mexico, Vietnam, and other Third World countries also often end up wreaking havoc on local economies. They create cash economies that displace subsistence economies and produce artificial unemployment. Overall, the effect of capitalist corporations colonizing Third World countries is one of pauperization. These corporations create poverty as surely as they reap rapacious profits.”

(pg. 44-46)

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meaning

All quotes in this post from…

Angela Y. Davis (1944 – ) 

The Meaning of Freedom
And Other Difficult Dialogues

City Lights Books / Open Media Series
www.citylights.com

San Francisco, California. 2012.