Today is Bob Marley‘s 70th birthday. It got me thinking about music and revolution. I have a favour to ask you, but first…
We are all Children of Revolution
I grew up in Nigeria in the 70s and 80s. This was the best of times and it was the worst of times.
There was a struggle going on. A struggle between the political thought, a struggle between the kleptocrats and everyone else.
Similarly in the UK, another struggle was in flow – between those who wanted to put the national cake in private hands. They largely succeeded and in doing so, they destroyed the social fabric of the working class for generations.
Through all this socio-political revolution was one constant. Music.
For me, the music that plays when I think of Nigeria’s revolutions – past, present and future – is Fela. He foresaw the kleptocracy and the hijacking of democracy. He saw the ‘power show’. He saw the cattle trading of the international political elite and he knew how this was playing out.
When I want to understand the US Civil Rights revolution, I simply listen to Nina Simone. Her music was deep in empathy and communicated so much more of the pain, injustice and hope beyond the words she sang.
When I listen to UB40’s music from the 80s, I get a sense of the disillusionment of the youth of the day – the riots, the joblessness, the conflict with a generation that didn’t understand its children.
What Music Fuels Your Revolution and Your Struggle?
But there are always revolutions going on and there is always music.
Your revolution does not have to be a war or a conflict, but it does have to be a struggle that has significant consequences depending on who triumphs.
It could be Iran, Egypt, the struggle of the indigenous Bolivians. It could be the Occupy Movement. It could be Israel and Palestine, it could be the Western Sahara. It could be anywhere!
It could be a struggle against religion or a political or economic system. Or any system for that matter.
It could be religious music, punk, folk, afrobeat or anything – what did it’s words do for your movement.
The Favour – Join Me In Celebrating The Music of Revolution.
I want to see – in my lifetime – a celebration of this music.
I want to see it spark a reawakening and re-energising of the movements fighting the good fight. I want the struggle – in its new and emerging battle grounds to be renewed by the timeless messages and power of the words and lives of Bob, Fela, Nina and countless others.
It won’t happen on its own and I can’t do it on my own – so I need your help.
In 2016 , I want to see a stage of this music in festivals across the world. From Glastonbury to Paleo, from Coachella to Midi in China and across all genres. This stage will be an unprecedented mashup of music styles and personalities – united by the thread of social and political catalysis.
Imagine an unprecedented line up of Bob Dylan, the Sex Pistols, Seun Kuti, Femi Futi, UB40, Ziggy, Damien and Stephen Marley, Manu Chao and dozens of others on the same stage – united in the music of protest and telling the story of social change through the power of music.
My hope is that we can get this in to 12 global festivals across the world.
Please help me make this happen. Do you want to be a part of this? Then tweet, email or ping me on Skype and let’s going. The world needs this.