Music Mondays: Songstresses

Three women singers tonight. First, via Martin in the Margins, the sadly departed and truly great Cesaria Evora.

Second, via Mike Killingworth, Maria Farantouri, socialist and anti-fascist, performing “Asma Asmaton” (Song of Songs). The first of four songs of the “Ballad of Mauthauzen”, a set of songs inspired by the experiences in the Mauthauzen death camp.

Third, via Mike Killingworth, via Jams O’Donnell: Mari Boine, Sami ant-racist.

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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Music Mondays: Montserrat Figueras

Montserrat Figueras, the great Catalan soprano, died in Cerdanyola del Vallès on 23 November, after a long struggle with cancer. Here are two wonderful songs, via Entdinglichung. The first is Hespèrion XX, her ensemble, singing a gorgeous Sephardic Jewish song.

The second, recorded in 1988, is “El Cant de la Sibil·la“, the song of the Sybil, “a liturgical drama and a Gregorian chant, the lyrics of which compose a prophecy describing the Apocalypse, which has been performed at some churches of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) and L’Alguer or Alghero (Sardinia, Italy) in Catalan language on Christmas Eve nearly uninterrruptedly since medieval times… The Song of the Sibyl was almost totally abandoned throughout Europe after the Council of Trent (held in 25 sessions from 1545 to 1563) declared its performance was forbidden. Nevertheless, it was restored on Mallorca as soon as in 1575.” Interestingly, the great leftist musicologist Alan Lomax recorded a fragment of a version during his Balearic fieldtrip of 1952, in the Franco years. Franco of course suppressed Catalan language, and Figueras and her husband Jordi Savall lived in exile in Switzerland until after Spain democratisation in the 1980s. The decision of Hesperion XX, formed in 1974, to record Catalan songs (and to recover the repressed memory of Jewish Iberia) was thus an act of defiance against the Francoist regime.

These songs are part of an on-going series on Catalan music. Previously, I have featured Jordi Barre, Pau Casals, Isaac Albinez, Enrique Granados, and Enrique Morente.

Less than usual

Stefan Collini on Adam Kirsch on Lionel Trilling. HarpyMarx on Mandy Mudd. Dave Osler on Ian Birchall on Tony CliffChris Strafford on “21st century Marxism” the Morning Star-sponsored meeting of nationalists, anti-Semites, and homophobes. Ben Lewis on historical materialism. German material on Rudolf Rocker here and here.

From the archive of struggle; new at MIA

Some texts newly up at the Marxist Internet Archive. (more…)

Kurt Landau

Newly published at M.I.A. A useful text on POUM history.

Pierre Broué: Kurt Landau

Also known as Agricola, Wolf Bertram, and Spectator

(1988)


From Revolutionary HistoryVol. 9 No. 4, 2008, pp. 229–236.
From Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier français, partie 4, 1914–1939, t. 33, Paris 1988, pp. 203–205.
Transcribed by Alun Morgan for the Revolutionary History Website.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


Born on 29 January 1903 in Vienna (Austria); disappeared in Barcelona (Spain), September 1937. Member of the Austrian Communist Party, then of various Left Opposition groups in Vienna, Berlin and Paris. Member of the POUM in 1936.

The son of a prosperous Viennese wine merchant, Kurt Landau had a Bohemian student youth similar to that of many young people from the Jewish intelligentsia in the imperial capitals: but it is also said that he attempted various circus jobs and for a time was a lion tamer at the Hagenbeck Circus. In 1921 this educated and cultured adolescent joined the new-born Austrian Communist Party, already shaken by fierce factional struggles and in 1922 became leader (Leiter) of the Warring district (Bezirk) in Vienna. Early in 1923 he supported the left-wing criticisms made by the Italian Bordiga [1] of the new line of the International, which was described as “opportunist”. In 1924, still in Vienna, he made the acquaintance of Victor Serge, who was part of a group of Comintern emissaries and who worked on its press bulletin Inprekorr[2] It seems that Serge gave him the first solid items of information about the factional struggle in the USSR. The same year Landau took charge of the CP agitprop department and became an editor of its main publication, Die Rote Fahne (Red Flag), with responsibility for cultural matters. In the discussion on culture he adopted the arguments developed by Trotsky against “proletarian culture”. (more…)

Music Mondays: The Marion Massacre

From Gene at Harry’s Place:

“The Marion Masscre,” recorded in 1929 by the duo of Welling and McGhee, is about the deaths of striking textile mill workers in Marion, North Carolina, in a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies.

‘Tis ere the same old story
With the laborers of our land.
They’re ruled by mighty powers,
And riches they command.

If Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans think that requiring the very rich to pay at least the same rate of taxes as the middle class is class warfare, imagine how they would react to words like those.

Note the remarkable combination of class warfare and old-time gospel, of a kind regrettably rare these days.

Why is it over money,
These men from their friends must part,
Leaving home and loved ones
With a bleeding, broken heart?

But some day they’ll meet them
On that bright shore so fair,
And live in peace forever,
There’ll be no sorrow there.

Credits: Welling and McGhee (Billed as The Martin Brother)(Frank Welling [vocal, steel guitar], John McGhee [vocal, guitar]) New York c October 1929. On Paramount Old Time Recordings box set 2006.

More about Benjamin Franklin (Frank) Welling here. (more…)

Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Bundist past

A very interesting post at Tony Greenstein’s blog on the Bundist past that “Zionists” have attempted to obliterate. I hope he won’t mind me using the images here, to entice you to read it.



Published in: on December 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm  Comments (4)  
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