The Flowing Waters of Lake Jefferson

Saturday March 6, 2004

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Arlo, Holly, John, Jim, Charlie and Pat
Social Activism Panel, 2004 Folk Alliance
(click picture for more)

Today, I feature the singing of Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, John McCutcheon, Charlie King, Pat Humphries and the audience at the Social Activism and Music panel discussion at the National Folk Alliance Conference last Saturday in San Diego.

1. Audience and Panel - Aint Gonna Study War No More - Live

You are listening to the panel preparing to speak on "social activism and music". Role Modeling what they talk about in their presentation, they are beginning the event with song, in an effort to unify their audience. After the singing Jim Musselman, former friend and worker in the early days of Ralph Nader and Michael Moore, now running Appleseed Music ,introduces the session. This occurred last saturday morning in San Diego California.

Jim Mussleman, Charlie King and Pat Humphries
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Jim Musselman introduced the panel saying how Folk Musicians have the "response ability" to share the power to heal and comment on event.

Charlie King began, placing himself on a specturm somewhere between the Freedom Singers and the Capital Steps.

2. Capital Steps - 401K
Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Charlie continued saying he prefers songs that name names, take sides and fight for specific goals.

3. Charlie King - Who Is the Criminal Here?
Somebody's Story -

Charlie said he likes songs that build bridges and build community. He pointed out that sometimes there is nothing like a good parady that floats above the fray.

4. Charlie King & Karen Brandow - The List
Sparks and Tears -

Charlie spoke of settings other than stages, such as journey of hope which speak out against the death penalty, school of the americas watch, who oppose training for war, labor fights, and hopsice situations. These events make people's lives better.

Pat Humphries and Charlie King
(click picture for more)

5. Pat Humphries & Sandy ) -    IF I GIVE MY NAME
three song demo

Pat spoke about getting to know people living the lives in her songs, and reaching people who don't ordinarily believe they enjoy "political" music. She spoke about Si Kahn's assignment to write a song, which ended in her writing the following song.

6. Pat Humphries -   KEEP ON MOVING
Same Rain -

Up next John McCutcheon after he and Arlo Guthrie and Holly Near were trying to decide who should speak next.

Arlo, Holly and John deliberate
(click picture for more)

John McCutcheon remembered his first exposure to folk music and his mother's political influence which made him see her in a whole new way during a march on Washington.

7. John McCutcheon - One in a Million
Greatest Story Never Told - Red House

McCutcheon spoke about singing solidarity forever and seeing grown men hold hands. The memory stirrs an emotion as strong as when he felt it at fourteen.

8. Rebel Voices  - (Si Kahn) They all Sang Bread and Roses
A Piece of the Wall

"Over the years I learned most of what I know about performing folk music from Arlo's dad, something I did maybe more than you did" McCutcheon, looking at Arlo, said that he learned so much from Woody who sang about everything for everybody. Our cultural identity is stripped changed and sold back to us.

9. Woody Guthrie - Do Re Me
Library of Congress Recordings - Elektra

John gave a songwriting assignment on repetition. ( A repetitive chorus, with verses that take the idea in different directions ) Taking his own assignment seriously he wrote:

9. John McCutcheon  -    Not in My Name
Greatest Story Never Told - Red House

He ended saying how music is more memorable than speeches.

Holly began saying that was so  pleased to be on a panel where no one has offended her.  At this point Arlo interrupted to say that he had yet to speak. Holly recalled singing with Dr. Bernice Reagon in Japan. From this former Freedom SInger and founder of Sweet Honey, she learned that people must bring something to the table, and match the efforts of others, not just join in the swell.

10. Sweet Honey in the Rock - In This Land
In This Land - Earthbeat

11. Holly Near - It Could Have Been Me
And Still We Sing - Calico Tracks

Holly claimed that people who don't believe as she does, and attack her with rage, are giving the gift to imporve her wiring.

12. Holly Near - Simply Love
And Still We Sing - Calico Tracks

Holly closed urging people to act and say "now" and later explain what has happened. She gave the example of the slave who woke in the night and just said "Now". More and more joined, and thats how change begins.
Arlo picked up on this idea of saying "Now" and spoke about a spirit that songs carry. Sometimes this spirit is missing. He spoke about going to see the Aids Quilt in Washington. There was a lack of personal, local, live music.

13. Eve Goldberg - Names
Ever Brightening Day - Sweet Patootie Music

Arlo spoke about how the grammies may have the best sound system and lights, but music without soul is what is lacking these days.

14. Arlo Guthrie - Deportee
Together in Concert Warner Bros.

At this point I aired Joan Raymond's comments. She is the blue colar workers union president in San Diego, who explained supporting the grocery workers strike. The workers had been out 20 weeks without pay. Panelists left the hotel and made the trip into town to sing while the members voted.

Joe Jenks sings for striking grocery worker's rally


16. JOE JENCKS - RIse as One
I Hear Your Voice - Turtle Bear Music


Summing up Jim Musselman stated that he was a concervative republican heading for wall street and then he discovered folk music. He highlighted one point that Pete Seeger stresses, to go where the action is. He gave an example of placing children outside the IRA and discussions

17. Red Grammer - With two wings
Teaching Peace - Red Note Records

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