Thursday, October 20, 2016

Music-Supported Activism - These are the artists and albums I'm gad of!


Harmony Hall has been alive with music and amazing visitors. While Suzanne Jarvie was on tour here in Ireland, I took the opportunity to hear as much of the music as possible. She was playing with the wonderful Kate Fenner and Tony Scherr and with Chris Brown who has, himself, been such an inspiration since touring with David Corley in the spring. As Corley said, when they did their house concert here, Chris is the real wizard.

Suzanne Jarvie Gig Superior To Neil Young and The Dixie Chicks

Stepping up from that acclaim again, a review of the aforesaid four, in The George Bernard Shaw Centre in Carlow was: I have seen Neil Young and The Dixie Chicks this year and this has been the best concert by a long way.






Back in the spring, they had left me with a vinyl copy of David Corley’s Available Light album, and CDs of Suzanne Jarvie’s album Spiral Road and Chris Brown and Citizens Band's Oblivion and Burden of Belief  albums, all featuring Kate Fenner and Tony Scherr in vocal and musical capacities. So I was grateful, well before the tour began, for the new and timeless music each one of them has recorded.

I think every activist has felt that 'it’s killing them, to see the point in everything’ and that ‘consciousness is a lonely place, without the hand of grace’. People need some success, to provide contrary evidence to the success of those that don’t care about what they’re doing.



Compare these things for a moment.

There are things that other countries are getting right that we in Ireland are not! 


Ireland
Animal Experimentation Firm get over €101,000 euro grant
Despite 4 of the worst confirmed breaches of animal protection legislation.
It is now being shut down because of the above but are being very cagey about rehoming the dogs.
Ireland
My good self and 100s like me apply for grants of between €5-100,000 until the cows come home and get no actual funding.
People who want to provide ethically produced products and many other supports to transition to a sustainable economy and community have to prove they have charitable status, a 40-page application, an amazing existing business and business plan and the ability to match funding 50/50. Oh yes...and prove that no person will receive a cent of the grant, it can only be spent on stuff! 

Canada
Pros and Cons project awarded 25,000 to expand a mentoring music programme for prisoners, having proved that society is a safer place if you can retrieve hearts and minds from dereliction. http://www.samaritanmag.com/news/pros-and-cons-prisoner-music-program-gets-25k-david-rockefeller-fund-grant

Canada 
Putting gender considerations in to the centre of world economics, at the IMF

Canada
Awarding a Certified Green and vegan fashion designer from Barbados a top award in Toronto.

vs

Ireland 
Where demonstrations are held outside fashion outlets that still use fur and we can't even get the fur farms shut down, skinning 75,000 animals a year in each 'farm'.

Anyway, anyway, anyway...back to what I’m grateful for! I really enjoyed this tour...this might have come across already! And I'm also glad they'll be back next year.
In the meantime, if you want to look just beyond your 5 senses to see your work in a broader context, let these artists come to your assistance. The lyrics will make sense of so many aspects of compassion, love and justice without the attachments of anger or sadness. So, when strong feelings threaten to deactivate you, come back to the music and sing all your cares away...as Damien Dempsey once said. 

 I would want for all these guys, as individuals and musicians and as a band, absolutely massive success and to be a household name!  For the right reasons, of course!

I say ‘for the right reasons’ as Suzanne Jarvie, when she isn’t writing, recording and touring, is a lawyer. People in Ireland dread the legal process like a hell to be entered into without a hope in hell of finding representation that has not long ago disappeared down the road with their money and yours and still maintain a sense that they are doing you a favour and you couldn’t manage without them. Even when it is clear you will not be compensated or justice done in any way at all, you have to accept that decision as ‘considered’ and final.

Not so in Canada, it turns out, as they have a Law Society that provides accountability for lawyers themselves. Suzanne Jarvie is a prosecutor of lawyers who act with a conflict of interests or inappropriate treatment of clients and all the other reams of misconduct. When Suzanne mentioned this at the gig in Cleeres Theatre, Kilkenny, the whole crowd cheered. A few days later she told a great story of a lawyer with three decades of fraud behind him that she had come up against -her sharp and brilliant humour matched only by her Never Gonna Stop attitude and love songs like Love Is Now.


Later, in Kerry, we got on line and found that there is such a system in Ireland too. First you ever heard of it? Me too! And I suspect that we are not encouraged to. There are supposed to be elected lawyers and a free service to investigate claims of legal misconduct. Possibly every lawyer in Ireland gets their main jobs from one firm and every judge gets their decisions handed to them by a government minister. A bit like The Rose of Tralee but more sinister!
Anyway, we must persevere and explore what services we do have here in Ireland to bring transparency and accountability to businesses, the legal profession and institution, councils and government. Try and get ourselves up to speed so that we can’t be just swept along with the defensive tag line ‘they’re providing jobs’ whenever you try and flag something up. Let’s keep pointing out the human cost, the environmental costs, the exploitation in those supply chains and our ideas for a better way. Every thought is a creation, so let’s make it a radical change of direction, decided in awareness and clarity.

I've just today got back from Barbados where there are also a lot of Canadian influences - I think because there is a direct flight!! So as a result of my journey back, I can add to these musical recomendations Laurie Anderson's film (as tribute to her late dog and her late husband, Lou Reed) The Heart of A Dog and Dave Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) album Rattle The Lock. Absolutely classic too. Laurie Anderson notes the police state and the new terror that danger might come from the air. Simultaneously, in the plane the cabin crew walked up and down 3 times spraying pesticide! In a sealed cabin, nice! And when we passed through England 3 photos were taken and one x ray! So there are a lot of calls to action when you see what's going down (I was being slagged on holiday for seeing every single thing as a call to action!) but keep the music going to keep body and soul together! 

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