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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Movement music: a recording session



7/21

Singing songs of liberation


                                                       Samuel L. Jackson



A long and beautiful day. Jeremy is producing an album for the Peace Poets, urban young adults from the Bronx who have been the soundtrack of the Black Lives Matter movement. Their most well known song, I Can’t Breathe….became the song for the Samuel L. Jackson challenge,  and no, he didn’t create it, Luke Nephew did.

We’ve got an eclectic group for the recording session, Poets, special friends, the entire Siegelbaum family (parents with a history of Nicaraguan solidarity), Jeremy’s father and his partner, special guest Stephanie Johnstone of Love Songs for the Rest of Us (http://lovesongsfortherestofus.com/). Oh. And me. 
Luke and Jeremy get ready


We gather in the top floor gym, where ETHEL once recorded. It’s got that kind of studio acoustic. Jeremy sets up the mics and we begin to learn the songs, one by one. 
Luke teaches a song

We start with The Voice of My Great Grand Daughter, a song that started with the Climate March last fall.; 


(KEY: F#, TEMPO: 79)



THE PEOPLE GONNA RISE LIKE

THE WATER

WE GONNA FACE THIS CRISIS NOW

I HEAR THE VOICE OF MY GREAT GRAND DAUGHTER

SINGING SHUT THIS SYSTEM DOWN!



I’m fascinated by Jeremy’s process, the way he’ll record different arrangements of people at different times. A core group in front, secondary singers in back. Over and over multiple times. The real work will be in his editing.
Jeremy conducts


Then the song we all know, ) I CAN’T BREATHE.

HOOK:

I STILL HEAR MY BROTHER CRYING: I CAN’T BREATHE

SO NOW I’M IN THIS STRUGGLE SINGING: I CAN’T LEAVE

WE CALLING OUT THE VIOLENCE OF THESE RACIST POLICE

AND WE AIN’T GONNA STOP – TIL OUR PEOPLE ARE FREE (2x)

The Liberation – of All

Black Women Leading– the Call

The change we making is about to be born

HOOK

BRIDGE:

Ain’t Nobody Free, Til Everybody Free!

-Sing that!-

Ain’t Nobody Free, Till Everybody Free!

So if you know that Black Lives Matter

People Sing it with me… HOOK



The songs we sing include :

OUR LIBERATION (F, 85), RIGHT ON TIME / BLM (F, 85), HOW CAN WE NOT REBEL?, a song about mass incarceration,(F, 117) SPIRITS OF THE ONES WE LOVE (C minor, 88) and finally, WHY I WAS MADE (F, 80).

Luke introduced each song. And here’s what he had to say about the spirit and purpose of the music:

The goal is to record songs that have been used in the streets and will be used in the streets in the struggle for Justice and Collective Liberation. We want to do a version of each song that can be taught and shared for other people to use. We want to use the power of the group to build the song and arrive together at the power and beauty of the most precious voice in the world: The People’s Voice. It is also our goal to enter into the feeling of these songs the same way we do instinctually when we take the streets and sacrifice our safely out of love for the people. This music is made to dissolve our fear and reveal the transformative power of our love. Lets enter into that. Let’s sing with the spirits of those locked up, those mourning, those loving, those hoping, those dying, those who have passed and the many more who have not yet arrived. Yes.
Double checking lyrics

And that’s what happens as we work on each song. They’re part song, part chant. A new from fit to the day taking the place of the old Pete Seeger songs that sustained generations of people in the struggle. It’s music that emerged from streets, easily memorized, simple, but with hip hop ethos, hip hop attitude. Usually unison but with occasionally room for gospel harmonies.

It comes from the people who are making this movement. We can accompany. We can march and sing along. Even add a harmony here and there. But in the end, then music, like the movement, is theirs.

LYRICS

OUR LIBERATION – Key: F, Tempo: 85

(Slow and Powerful)

MY LIBERATION

IS YOUR LIBERATION

AND YOUR LIBERATION

IS MY LIBERATION

LET ME HEAR THE PEOPLE SAY:

LET’S GET FREE,

LET’S GET FREE


RIGHT ON TIME

KEY: F TEMPO 85



FROM THE BRONX TO THE BAY AND

YOU KNOW WE NOT PLAYING

WE STAMPING OUT HATE

RIGHT ON TIME



THAT GOOD BLACK MAGIC

YOU KNOW WE BE ABOUT IT

SINGING BLACK LIVES MATTER

WE RIGHT ON TIME!


HOW CAN WE NOT REBEL?

Key: F Tempo: 117



MY BROTHER(SISTER)IS LOCKED IN A CELL, SO TELL ME HOW CAN WE

NOT REBEL?

AS LONG AS THESE PRISONS EXIST

WE’RE GONNA BE HERE TO RESIST!


THE SPIRITS OF THE ONES WE LOVE (Cm, 88)



THESE GUNS CAN’T STOP US

THESE GUNS CAN’T STOP US


WE GUIDED BY THE SPIRITS OF THE ONES WE LOVE

NO GUN GONNA STOP US NOW



(COPS, JAILS, LIES)



8. WHY I WAS MADE (F, 80)



I AM NOT AFRAID

I AM NOT AFRAID

I WOULD DIE FOR LIBERATION


CUZ I KNOW WHY I WAS MADE



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