Marc Ribot - Songs of Resistance 1942-2018

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-09-14
Marc Ribot - Songs of Resistance 1942-2018
Marc Ribot - Songs of Resistance 1942-2018

The moment the sax wails in, followed by Ribot’s guitar and then by Fay Victor’s vocals on “We Are Soldiers In The Army”, the opening track on Songs of Resistance 1942-2018, you immediately become aware that you are in for an experience charged with an additional dose of emotions.

Of course, nothing less is expected when you bring back some of the songs that call for action, change, resistance. That is the point of such music. As Ribot himself puts it, every movement which has ever won anything has had songs.” Putting his personal resistance to Donald Trump’s presidency into a wider context of the rise of totalitarian politics and rising crisis from economy to climate change, Ribot covers songs from various anti-fascist, civil rights movements, protest ballads, including a number of his own compositions.

With music that is put into a political/social context, there is always a danger that, unless it is handled with care and all the emotions are not channeled properly through music, it might turn into just another propaganda tool, no matter the positive context of those emotions.

But Marc Ribot is not only one of the most seasoned musicians and an excellent bandleader in his own right, but somebody who obviously has enough music in his head and fingers to channel all the emotions he and his collaborators on this project had, through some brilliant music.

It's the aforementioned opener, which in many ways recollects all the emotions and musical images projected by Albert Ayler’s seminal album “In Greenwich Village” , through Tom Waits’ extraordinary rendition of the Italian partisan WWII ballad “Bella Ciao” and Steve Earle’s impassioned version of “Srinivas”, a recount of a new story when a Sikh immigrant was killed in the US when he was mistaken for a Muslim. Had that been all Ribot and guest artists came up with, it would have been quite enough for sending out a potent and musically impeccable message. But Ribot and all the guest vocalists and musicians, among others include Sam Amidon, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tift Meritt don’t make a single misstep in their quest to present the current state of protest music - from the Morricone-like “The Militant Ecologist”  to yet another impassioned, but beautifully controlled version of “John Brown”.

Not limiting his call for action to music, Ribot has decided to donate part of the album’s proceeds to The Indivisible Project, an organization that helps individuals resist the Trump agenda via grassroots movements in their local communities. One thing is for sure though. Ribot and all the guest artists have injected such emotions and musical quality into this project that it will certainly have an effect.

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