Various Artists

Protest: Songs of Struggle and Resistance from Around the World

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As a way to remind people that music has always been a global form of social resistance, Ellipsis Arts released Protest: Songs of Struggle and Resistance from Around the World, a collection spanning 40 years of the genre's history, from the 1960s all the way to the time the album was released in 2004. It would be difficult to compile a record of reasonable length that truly encompassed the world's musician/activists, but this release is a decent attempt to include as geographically diverse of a selection as possible in 15 songs, and the album contains a lot of artists from Africa, a handful each from the U.S. and Europe and the Middle East, an Argentinean guitarist, and a Jamaican singer. The songs mainly speak about problems specific to the countries of origin, although most also have lyrics that are open to interpretation, so that they could be applied to any situation of genocide, war, oppression, or the desire for freedom. Due to the diversity in artistic nationality, there is also a nice diversity in the music, from the upbeat African rhythms (Mzwakhe Mbuli's "Ndimbeleni," Papa Wemba's "Esclave") to the acoustic guitar-driven American and Irish folk ballads (Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," Barbara Dane's "The Kent State Massacre," Larry Kirwan's "Bobby Sands, MP") to the achingly beautiful voice and guitar combo from both Angola (Kafala Brothers' "Renuncia Impossivel") and Latin America (Christine Brebes/Diego Rolon's "Te Recuerdo Amanda"). The artists included on the album tend to stick to their respective countries' folk music traditions, so there aren't really any ventures into hip-hop or modern rock (the closest would have to be the Breton group Tri Yann's "La Geste de Sarajevo"), but the record is a nice collection of poignant and sometimes provocative protest songs from a worldwide group of musicians who were all unafraid to speak up against authority and profess their ideas on peace and war.

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