Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The referendum in music

Last week was a monumental week in Scottish history. Passion was in clear evidence on the streets of Glasgow and beyond as supporters from both sides made their case for independence or to stay in the UK.

Everyone had a part to play.

Music played its part; Mogwai and Franz Ferdinand both nailed their colours to the Yes mast by playing a show in Edinburgh to highlight the case for independence. The Last Night Of The Proms was taking place at the Royal Albert Hall, meanwhile in Edinburgh there was flag waving and patriotism of a different kind.

Pic from The Scotsman 

However, it was two D.I.Y artists that stole the show with their songs in support of Scottish independence.

Stanley Odd were the first band to make a real splash with a song called Son I Voted Yes. Scottish hip hop really isn't my thing, but fair play to Stanley Odd for translating their feelings and passion into music while others simply voiced opinions.

Son I Voted Yes has some excellent moments, notably after the second chorus leads into a more upbeat second verse.

Son I just wrote this
I thought you might like to know
That I voted yes
Cause a yes vote provided hope
What the futures holding
No-one can rightly know
I'm tired of the same old script
And what's next only time will show

The second verse is fantastic, speaking real common sense politics. The lyrics and rhymes are clever, the groove is laid back and cool.

See the older you get the less you see things in black and white
And I'm just trying to do what I think is right
Just simply yes, the problem isn't solved
You can't change the world taking no risk at all

It's interesting listening to this song almost a week down the line. It sounds like a lost lament.

Two days before the referendum Gerry Cinnamon posted a video of an acoustic folk song online called Hope Over Fear that he had finished writing 5-minutes before. It hit the nail on the head, this is what a lot of the political arguments and debates had boiled down to. Gerry is a lovely and passionate guy who I have known since I got into his old band The Cinnamons and I put them on a couple of times

Gerry's passion is on clear display in the home-made video he posted on Facebook. Within hours it had been shared hundreds of times. The next day there was a video posted on his page of people singing it in Inverness! It captured the mood perfectly; the yes camp were positive and hopeful, ready for change no matter what it threw at them, ready to cut the ties that had led to so much hurt and heartache in the past.

Hope over fear
Don't be afraid
Tell Westminster Tories that Scotland's no longer your slave
Carpe diem
Will you cease the day
Rip the chains from the unicorn Scotland's no longer your slave

Gerry sings from the heart, looking and pointing directly into the camera to get his points across. I get goosebumps at Gerry's line;

Will you stand up and be counted?
Cause i'll be stood there by your side

Listening to Gerry's song now is quite emotional. So much has happened since he wrote it spur of the moment, caught up in passion and optimism. Gerry's passion and desire for change won't die and his song could have a long life in the continued campaign for Scottish independence. You can download it HERE. It is also now on iTunes.

Top marks to both Stanley Odd and Gerry for being vocal in an art form. It has certainly led to new fans for both and may even lead in a change of direction for Gerry as he moves forward - could he be the people's poet?

To get an idea of the reaction Gerry has had I'll end this blog with as post Gerry made on Facebook;

Gerry - 'Right last week i wrote a wee song about Independence and posted a video from my phone bfr i even learned it (That's why i sang the wrong words in the chorus) Within less than an hour my FB went into complete meltdown. It flew round the world a couple o thousand times bfr i even had my lunch. Its now at something like half a million views on all formats. I can't get my head round it.

The feedback I've had has been mindblowing. 10s of thousands of ppl msgn from around the world -Manchester, London, Nottingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle, Texas, Quebec, then Hawaii, Mexico, Ireland, NI, Wales, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Croatia, Catalonia and Turkey all wishing us well in our fight for freedom from Westminster. 

Without getting too emotional i just want to say im truly humbled by the reaction and kind words from everyone. I'm not very adept at selling myself bcs i think it's it's a contradiction to what we're trying to achieve and i don't take compliments very well so it's been a bit of a learning curve. 

Anyway the other night i jumped in the studio just bfr Jam Night @ the Priory Bar and in 20 mins recorded a quick demo of Hope Over Fear. My mgmt posted it on bandcamp for ppl who were asking for a download. I've since had 1000s of msgs asking specifically to put it on itunes. It took a while to finish the upload process but it's up now. I'm off to Italy on Saturday for some chill out time then ill be back in the studio to finish recording the new singles and the EP. 

To anyone still hurting after Friday's result bear in mind what Scotland has achieved in the last 6 months. Something has stirred in the people of Scotland and folk are waking up to the possibilities. There are events happening all over the place. Get involved, this is YOUR revolution. Unite the clans, this is only the beginning. Saor Alba x'

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