Ruben Blades, Chick Corea and The Spanish Heart Band tear into this jazz piece, the title song of the recent album, Blades delivering its intent with the opening stanza.

Corea said in a radio piece that it “expresses the fact that we, as musicians and artists, are kind of an antidote to anything negative going on in the world.”

Well said, and well played.

The Proms

Classical music is always evolving. I’m not sure that label fits the modern expressions of the more formal explorations of what musical expression can offer.

Evolution is a good word for how the more formal compositions are expressed. Musicians explore the boundaries of composition and marshall contemporary instruments and technology for a listening experience that gets better the more a listener pays attention.

To illustrate, here’s a performance at the 2015 Proms. It’ll stretch the boundaries.

I’d be interested in any responses from anyone stumbling on this.

The Wall

Bluegrass protest music, ah…

Che Apalache brings it in a close harmony gem.


There’s all kinds of talk ‘bout building a wall

Down along the Southern border

‘bout building a wall between me and you

Lord, and if such nonsense should come true

Then we’ll have to knock it down

Mu isamaa on minu arm

I know little about Estonia and that naiton’s ability to resist oppression, but from what little I do know, music, particularly choral music has been instrumental in that country’s struggle to remain its own.
This song, from a recent festival, is just a sample of what those who attend the annual festival experience. Some say the song slipped by Soviet censors, and it apparently became a symbol of resistance to Soviet occupation, eventually outwitting the Soviets and binding the Estonians as a people.

Thanks to the person who provided a translation of the music for the Youtube video.

Those of us from the rock and roll generation can attest to the subversive quality of music, but Estonia set the example long before that..
This just scratches the surface of a phenomenon that builds on an activity that makes us humans and siblings: the magic of song.

Van Dieman’s Land

I’ve been a fan of U2 for as long as I can remember, particularly Bono’s stage presence, the band’s sheer musicality and power, and, Bono’s embrace of progressive causes.
Recently, I ran across U2’s performance of Van Dieman’s Land, a song that calls from memory the convict ships that brought forced settlement to the shores of what is now Australia. It’s older name? The title of this song.
John Boyle O’Rielly led an uprising in Ireland in 1848 and was banished to what was then the Aussie state of Tasmania.

U2’s version, written by The Edge, is based on an old Irish folk song, the River Is Wide.

I’ve included snatches of the lyrics of the tunes that follow.

Now kings will rule
And the poor will toil
And tear their hands
As they tear the soil
But a day will come
In this dawning age
When an honest man
Sees an honest wage.

Here’s the folk song The River is Wide

The water is wide, I cannot get oer
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.

Here’s the old Irish folk song by the same name of the U2 version.

The first day that we landed
Upon that fateful shore,
The planters came round us,
They might be twenty score.
They ranked us off like horses
And sold us out of hand,
And yoked us to the plough, brave boys,
To plough Van Dieman’s Land.

Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)

Woody Guthrie penned this song after 28 migrant farmers, who were being deported, died in a January 1948 plane crash near Los Gatos Canyon, California.

Here, Joan Baez sings the lament in 2017, as only she can, with great help from Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls.


“We died in your hills, we died in your deserts

We died in your valleys and died on your plains

We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes

Both sides of the river, we died just the same.”


Things haven’t changed that much.