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tv   Jesse Jarnow Tim Mohr and Imani Perry  CSPAN  April 20, 2019 2:03am-3:15am EDT

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in and listen to it. it wasn't a video but it was on radio. for the last hour we've been talking with author and radio talkshow host larry elder. thanks for helping us put
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good afternoon. i am your moderator for the next hour. today's panel with the growth rate to organize the social movements past and present then there will be book sales following q&a now we will introduce our author. jesse that is the author and a regular contributor posting the weekly show on the independent radio station. wasn't that a time is
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extensively researched as an accomplished portrait to reverberate with the mastery and everyone's interest please welcome jesse. [applause] tim moore is author burning down the house award-winning collaborator and has written for the new york times book review and the new york magazine and at playboy the new york times book review says burning down the house is a riveting and inspiring history of the struggle in east germany to chronicle the cinematic detail and commitment required as he navigated constant police reaction. [applause]
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the author of looking for a lorraine and three other books the professor of african-american studies at princeton and in the star review to provide the exhortation to explain how they captured a cultural held by emotional ties is work for any readers interested since opposing black consciousness and we highly recommend it. [applause] thank you for being here. we will start off talking about the books but also
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talking a bit about the process telling the stories of your engagement. >> my book is called wasn't that a time? the weavers who were a top ten pop band before the communist affiliations caught up with them and they were blacklisted and forced to break up and then reforming a few years after that with a profound influence on the folk revival of the sixties and also my first favorite childhood and my mom played around the house the first to name all four band members and knew about
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them. after i finished writing my previous book i started to think about them again and what drew me to them. and the 2016 election happened then they seemed way more relevant than they were even a few weeks earlier. it's corny there are string arrangements and foreign sections trying to get across to those radio audiences and it did. with a series of top ten hits but it's hard to call the music itself controversial but they had very strong political backgrounds involved in the wall this campaign and 48, involved in the outgrowth
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of the labor movement so the american political needle started to tip to the right if there ever had been there really wasn't a market for that kind of music and they were making pop music so to take those beliefs to go out into the world and to communicate to their audience and one of the things and what fascinates me deeply with the other two books i have written is the idea of music as a technology that is always changing because political music will function differently from political music five or ten years later
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in every era socially conscious musicians have to reinvest themselves and figure out what they try to communicate and the platform to do that. and what fascinates me even more is what it is done unconsciously that people join musical movements without differentiating between the two that is very much the case with the believers and that is what fascinated me this music we now perceived of as corny but how now seem so innocent could cause people to get called up before government committees to be accused of
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creating these songs. and also in the 19 fifties which is a decade i did not know a lot about digging into this for greg up in the eighties my parents grew up in the sixties and fifties presented as a drab and boring black and white. where people were oppressed but not much happened culturally. so my process is to try to find the details in that era to make them see current in the weavers were that a lot of things were effortlessly contemporary with the positions that they held or talking about social justice or class issues a lot of them
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you could hear talk to panels like this so attention to be engaged with issues that are still very much part of society that navigating the idea of pop music. >> we are force-fed a narrative that kids wanted levi's and hamburgers and i was always skeptical of the narrative but i had no hard evidence and then they moved to berlin.
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that was 19822 years after unification growing up in the eighties as well i was aware i didn't like the way the wind was blowing and i was offered a job for one semester at the university and i took it. if there was going to be a mythological reason then it would happen at that time then also i didn't speak german back then i thought germany and oktoberfest were the same thing. [laughter] so i would get on a plane and that was a great way to experience the culture. [laughter] instead i landed in the stereotypical east block
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high-rise with a block next to a dozen more right next to the east berlin zoo and it was at the height of the skinhead attacks so the only time i ever woke up from a dream screaming was shortly after i arrived because i dreamt we were attacked by skinheads i do not know the word for help in germa german. [laughter] but so it was grim beginnings to the trip but i stumbled upon the nightlife scene that was starting to explode i decided to stay and end up working as a dj so everything that was happening at that time was set up by a former east german punk but in
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particular with the guy was the guitarist and eventually showed me what he kept stashed during the dictatorship with snapshots of him and his friends. and it put off a lightbulb in my head but i was determined to tell that story eventually. fast-forward until 2008 spending some time in new york as a magazine editor i went back to research in earnest the first big surprise the secret police i couldn't believe how paranoid they were from a western perspective it's difficult to understand why they are paranoid about teenagers with bad haircuts but they had to keep youth on
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the path in one direction and the music was pushing them off that path and later i can get into because it was very distinct but close to the ten years it took to research the book it went from a interesting story to one that i had connections to and it transformed i was looking at a file but then you slip on the news to see militarized american police breaking up the pipeline protest or with the surveillance system using to crack down then here comes the snowden revelation so it became a relevant story while
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i was working on the piece. >> how many people are familiar with the song? my book is a cultural history generally known as the national negro him and the black national anthem by the seventies. started to embark on the project and i found myself surprised there had not been a book about the song there was one but it was theoretical and academic and not about the cultural life.
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it was and is the most cherished song a black american life. so then to what i realized in conversation with editors who said i you sure this isn't an article? because how you tell the history of the song with the composer and the author? two brothers living in jacksonville florida which is a city under the yoke of jim crow and cosmopolitan even with jim crow with the most aggressive forms of racism also extraordinary flourishing schools are created so with
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they call the promise of reconstruction but also the incredible blossoming. so part of this led me that i understood they did not get the context why the song was important and i began to build an archive and where they have their papers with 27 odd documents i created an archive that was 27000 from the black cultural institutions so i looked at school programs and curriculum, short stories and
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what emerged is it was a song associated with socialization of children as figures who have a noble history and a sense of responsibility to the larger community and also either a daily or weekly practice of people staying to gather talking about in north carolina they would stand on the front porch every day when school began with hope and aspiration and highly connected to negro history
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week from negro history month so with that political significance of the song that wasn't a coincidence that first started in 1960 because historically they had celebrated every day multiple times a day and then teaching young so to tell the story of civic and political institutions and what i describe black formalism which is a term that i use that is different with respectability
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which is not as the ideology that are an essential part of the black southern culture and speaking for myself but also academia there is a lot of amazing work but not that much on black formal one - - formal culture but during the school week or on sunday morning. the last thing i will say is one of the things that is really interesting this is the song people used across the political spectrum associated
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with communist party activism protest until the sixties like we shall overcome and then comes back with black power so it is resilience but also flexibility to identify the struggles that is the most interesting. [applause] so the question about music may speak to this idea each of
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the books that you have written for this panel is the way we assemble music and what those associations might do as the habits of assembling and the ways that those happen with the time. you are writing about and to see them continue currently? >> i think of music as a community organizing tool that can be used deliberately to bring people together. like every sunday at church which is the first piece of
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music that just the idea to come together around that as a temple over a long period of time that time aspect is important. socially conscious music is boiled down to protest music which is a disservice to the power of music which is over the long-term not just one that will get you out. and into the community when they raise their voices together. that fits together in different ways. >> sparked by that western
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phenomenon you can pick up western radio but on that society cousin economic conditions those conditions didn't exist and then with the schools and apprenticeship and a place to have no interest in. and to make it into a phenomenon. and that they armed themselves and the role that they play that their game changing role to feel the resolve and the
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power of the secret police and those that ran the experiment. more than any other activist groups in the eighties. and then to specialize in political reeducation to come back and continue fighting that just shows that it is possible to resist and survive because you knew it was possible? just so they can snowball to make it significant enough. >>.
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>> the instrumental part of black american culture through the sixties and then the revival on the seventies but related to what you are asking is important as that the invitational? mlk junior speeches at the darkest movement so even in the era to go back to this older song with the residents of the community but after king is murdered and ran to franklin park to take down the
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us flag and on that protest that was partisan and that was the song of several organizing groups . . . . these songs -- because they get sung over the course of decades, they become, they signify those
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communities. it is terrible that i cannot remember which event it happened that but there is a counter protest of white supremacists that they were singing this little light of mine for the hatred that was coming off of the other side. that song -- the lyrics in the present moment and also the fact that it speaks to the lineage of protests and community and solidarity. there is a lot writing under them as well. >> you mentioned the people songbook which published pretty early which is by the communist parties in the struggle of black people in the united states. >> i actually want to follow because you write that for many new musicians that politics were nearly invisible and despite the
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politics of those musicians and even quoting one of the musicians saying that you cannot confuse your image with the politics. >> that is true. >> my question specifically is, do you believe it's important or possible to separate your musical image or your music from your politics? >> i don't think anything is true universally for every single musician. the president said that quote is one of the members of the beach boys. it's a band that i would sometimes like to stop. there politics and music very much. it depends on the musician and the politics. i think some people can successfully do that but that's not the music i'm interested in engaging in all the time. >> okay, to that .1 of the
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reasons it was seen as so problematic by the group police is that there being was totally invisible from the politics. there were other people making activists, poetry and art. within themselves as people appeared back after the work went into the world. but their punks by the way they look. they represented protest every time they went public. that freaked out the dictatorship. it was indistinguishable,. >> this is the thing that i find very interesting all the time, particularly about hip-hop it music. , wraor the conversations aroune frame the musicians less than
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human, out of touch with reality or not for contributors to any political discourse. i wonder if either of you or all of you could speak to whether you find this to be consistent with these histories that musicians having things to say about the world in which they are creating art. >> i mean there's always an attitude of stain and relay. i mean, that is definitely come up multiple times with the weaver where people -- that quote from al, i don't want the politics i just want the music. that's definitely that is something constantly -- i see that in every decade. under that critique. you know, such as music, is any kind of entertainment industry. it's not just music, it's any kind of entertainment industry. you know you're just an entertainer, why do you have any say -- i think the beach boys
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think they keep their music and politics upper, i think if you step back that is not the case. >> and other thoughts about -- >> well, for the scene that i'm writing, everything they did was illegal. they were barred from studios, barred from the radio, cannot make records. the only way they can get their message across was a personal way when they were gigs. the gigs took place in lutheran churches. minister started taking outsider groups in the church was protected. you cannot have uniforms into churches. the whole illegal punk circuit and listen churches. even so, the government was so obsessive breaking enough that they would have informants inside the churches. one of the bands that went to prison for two years was tried based on lyrics that were overheard by an informant inside a church where they had protection and could speak to
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abu terms. >> in this text -- this is a long quote. it says today it often seems her impulse to moralizing market marches and civil rights heroes looking to the past is often the memes understanding the present. rather memorialization stands in the loo of burden of figuring out our time. in the context, the 2010 civil rights music at the white house. you say that you're not calling for a revival but in the ways of being that appeared in the traditions continue to matter as well as the features of black. my question is about, is it possible to pinpoint ways that black formalism or the features of black formalism for the present and future? >> i don't know. just to flush that out a little
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bit -- at the 2010 celebration of civil rights music, the white house with all these kind of r&b luminaries, they saying, gathered. it was televised and they saying freedom songs. the last minute, the producer -- and cannot remember his name, the guy who does american idol. switched out and said it must enter much better to have the same people sing it. it was a fiasco and the president moved to the back because he didn't know it either. it was like a crisis moment. when president obama was inaugurated, reverend did the benediction for the inauguration and he cited the third first of lift every voice and sing. it was a person says listen,
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don't get seduced, don't be drunk with the wine of the world. the struggle continues. it objects the position of this transformative moment and potential loss i'm of the mind that history travels and eventually there are powerful symbols that fall by the wayside. but what i was trying to gesture is to say the interdependence in the ritual and what seeing what other people does to you emotionally in developing a sense of trust and commonality. along with other kind of organizing practices are important particularly. i cannot -- i don't think i'm a person that should dictate how that can be. but i think social organization and be networked with other people who have a common sense of purpose remains important. i have a sense of urgency because in particularly, americans are so privatized, so individual. and i think given the things and challenges that we have now, we need to turn away from that.
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>> okay. >> that when we think of how often separate from music as a community or a conscious community organizing tool or political tool. how often musical communities become sort of natural home for outsiders. for people who feel outside whatever system is yours to them. i feel like that's a pretty universal thing around the world. it is certainly not every musical scene is like that, but the idea that you can bond over where you are singing along and don't necessarily have to articulate yourself or your position or anything other than communicating through music, i think it's extremely important. and that feeds into social
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movements as well. people will sometimes come in as an outsider because this is a community that's welcoming them through music. it is welcoming them through an uplifting positive thing. very rarely does that turn bad. you know, post of the time, that turns into a positive. >> the punk movement was definitely in an outsider as well. a lot of people got into it not realizing the consequences that would come with her. they got into it of the normal teenage thrills being dangerous and so obviously outside of society and their luck. the politicalization tends to come with interactions with the security forces. but the music itself, one sabeans came along, their music was so simple compared to a lot of the other activist groups. a lot of them were reform minded. let's change some environmental laws, let's take military training out of secondary schools. the punks were like [bleep] that was a really easy method to bring young people around to your cause.
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and i think this is a great strength during the 80s. and when the war fella turned out to be a short-term. they did not have a problematic approach. it appears overnight with the fall of the war. they played on november 9, 1999. denied the war fella. in mid- set the audience was agitated in what turns out, they finished playing and everybody says that they'll wall has fallen, the book of the band that night. >> while. >> yeah that's really interesting. so, i know we are also going to have some time for some q&a. but i have a question and hopefully is not a difficult one. i also hope it's not too corny. i teach a class for my students get together and they actually take media and the like make it into something else.
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so they committed thinking that i'm expecting to them to learn how to wrap. that is not what i'm asking them to do. but it really is -- also the term like mix tape has a different definition. in this context, i'm asking, if i were to put together a political disharmony mix tape, and we were going to be the curators of this mix tape, who would be included on this mix tape or what tax ? aside from the ones represented in your text, what particular songs or artists would be on the mix tape? >> i'm going to go sideways because one of the takeaways that transfers from the elsewhere is a nonmusical thing, it's graffiti. it was, don't die in the waiting room of the future which i took as a growling crynd is like you cannot sit around and wait for change to happen.
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you have to make it happen. >> now we have a mix tape title and cover called don't die in the waiting room of the future. that is the tack. >> it depends what the goal of the mix tape is. you try to liberate people of mix tapes or just try to document things. the historical argument of a mix tape where you can put all these different artists who were important over the continuum but there's also a mix tape you can make with the idea is to force a listener outside of their sense of musical comfort orders norm and they would not put them on mix tapes but the music of john was designed to liberate the idea of what music could in should be and therefore what
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society could and should be. i don't know exactly -- or taking songs and screen them up and mixing them and chopping them up. and in distorting them. are you saying john cage chopped and screwed? >> something like that. >> a couple sentences of public community, couple seconds of kendrick lamar, i don't know. probably not full songs. >> i was going to say -- i don't know who did "good morning america", but that was the song that came to mind for me, the longest monks multiple versions of body and soul with permutations about love and life she is extraordinary blending of
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tradition. rooted in the ethical and conflict around injustice in here in this country. in an urgent politics. i would also think of kendrick kendrick. -- kendrick lamar. >> my last question will be, observations of current practices of assembling dissociation that you might be able to speak -- some of us are interested, what seems like the key to the past about the future. it is a current through each of the text. my question is about other examples that you might see of these practices of assembling or association that indicate something about our potential political future. >> i think in some ways as a business question i think the
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collage is ascetic. i think it connects to the work of writers generally and historians your tree to bring resources from the past to bear on the present report sounds and could together in order to to be the thing that excites imagination. a political future that might be different or social future or the possibility of who or what you can be. i'm constantly trying to think about collage and cure ration and a deliberate practice in the things you can draw from the past and create the next stage and do deliberately because we are inundated with information
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and that you make decisions of what to pull out in order to give you. >> one thing you can draw from the story, one of the strengths of the network and the resilience, was how direct and personal was, you cannot use the funds because they were tapped, you cannot send letters because they are red. everything had to be passed the gig and that he would tell the next person, the gigs were small and they were looking in the eyes of the people and telling them to protest directly face-to-face to 100 or 200 people at a time. i think that personal direct touch was really important trait. when people comparison they ask about the comparisons in one of the big differences the mediation the picture -- they are making things that are up to
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be of media outside their own country. where this network was personal and focused on the direct environment. >> there has been a notion o what a network is become mutated in last decades with the idea of local, local people in your physical fear. but there are people that are in local and causes that are local in your virtual social media and i don't think that should be discounted. the people you're interacting with one way to think about organizing is around music is, like everything, it's different for everybody. it's for every locality. it's the music that engages you and figure out how that citizen
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and the passion is the important part. it's not the music that is superficial, but there is a relationship between the two were i feel like the music in some ways does has to come first. >> thank you i think we are going to take some questions now if there are, it looks like there plenty. [laughter] >> i can't hear. >> hello hello. >> all three of you give me goosebumps. i remember the fall of the berlin wall and realizing i want to be a journalist. there was a review of my favorite album, songs of the q life, stevie wonder.
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it said, culturally, politically, creatively songs lived up to everything that was promised. and on the way here is a sin to past time. as preachers glorifying the days long gone behind, spending her days in remembrance of ignorance of praise. it is hard to listen to since 2016. because what was written in 1976 has become relevant. painfully. there is something else -- is okay. i wanted to emphasize i didn't hear anyone mentioned the music of the 70s because marvin gaye and stevie wonder and others, wrote songs -- marvin gaye in 1971 on what's going on on is in
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the fight of power. in the public enemy 89. i mean we've been seeing about the same struggles for long time. and i'm wondering when the time will turn. when i understand is not a personal issue, really is. it's an issue that's national, we can isolate, and if we listen to each other, we can work together. we do not have to disassociate or become tribal in a sense that were so quick to respond though not actually listening. >> is there anything with regard to music in germany or america
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where you think that the tide will turn and we will become and will get past the point we are now. which is not a place, we are not in a good place is perfectly come back and relevant again. >> just a little level of antidote. the fight of power came about because he asked public in a many to do a hip-hop version. and he said no. he said that is not going to work. so they wrote by the part. , i think that speaks here sense in, i think it's not as though
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retrenchment. but more recently i thought about it as both sides of this thing the extreme ugliness in vision of liberty. and the complexity of who we are. with all the wounds but also the beauty. i think that means that is not the struggle over in it requires vigilance, kelly worsened talks about beating back the past. that is not something the ends. this is a moment in which we see that design. >> one of the things that i thought about a lot when i was researching my book in looking at these moments from the 50s. it is very easy to say that there are all these parallels between that era in this era. but the thing i kept saying,
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they are not parallel, they it's a continuum. it's the same arguments, same people in the same globalists are kept coming up in the 50s, osler think it's being used by the right wing media. it is all these things that are straight there. it gave me an appreciation for the struggle for the s-uppercase-letter. there is that solidarity and knowing that people have been fighting this fight for a long time. hopefully things will get better. but they are still going to be a fight. and it's in a good way. >> i ended up falling in love with berlin because of the punk
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industry. the music scene disappeared overnight. the energy was still there, diy, and their political focus is still there. what they did, none of the activists who were in focus and that is something that is not very well known here. but they didn' wanted to have a independent country on principles. then the dictatorship has been run by. they retrench in the mode that they known from the 80s. they carved out physical and philosophical for the connect. and to extend this to exist and is very indicative of those principles. a lot of the clubs are run as cooperatives and they will get the same which regards to what they do. their political wings for demonstrations. to examine the extent, to create an island of ideology they represent the way they want to live. that is maybe a positive outcome
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of that the you can still see an impact on society today. >> i wanted to say a little bit more and heavy say a little bit more about the passion that could be brought forth for music. [inaudible] [inaudible] letne
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amazing songs. i just think, i want to encourage more of that to have us do more of that and have people come to these kinds of events because i'm an opera singer, i'm a psychologist, i don't know of anything else other than when we all get together, singing physically or listening that does this and i would like to hear you say more about how we can use that more. >> playing music with anybody regardless of the purpose is an
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inherently powerful thing. your gathering together with other people thinking music in the idf during any amount of intention behind it can be an incredibly powerful thing. i guess, i don't have any methods other safe than making music is really fun and rewarding and satisfying and personal ways for also invigorates. i'm not sure i'm adding much to that other than a thumbs up. >> i also don't have any prescriptive measures but i will say that my oldest son is 15, and seen him with his friends, many of us complain about young people in social media. but him and his friends get together multiple times a week and they have all these different bands and i think that seeing his generation, i don't know how widespread this is, but making music together is one of the ways they are managing the sense of crisis in this moment. it's a way of trying to make in
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addition to going to protest, and those types of things. but there's also something about building community there that is really important. >> just going to see music, beside playing music, going to see live music and engaging in fighting other people around you who do that as well. i think it's extremely important. >> i think one of the things you can take away is there was something magical about the mix of the music and the message. it wasn't the message alone that would've been as powerful. people were sometimes literally running out of the church concert and repeating graffiti on the wall. you'll get people up and out and doing things. [inaudible] >> i would love for you to give us a link that was made of
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something that was underground and totally illegal into something we could totally see, i would love to hear who you would say that we can listen to and if we were going to lend her ears to this from on almanac, who would you have listened to. we have any experience of it? >> basically it was able to be recorded effectively. the only thing they could do with cassette decks. imposter copies to their friends. none of u. if you look up l ' att tn ttt. sch o i'm k eam.com. you don't have to understand german to hear the revolutionary of what they are doing.
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>> there are a number of live albums. the reunion of car came out 50th. the songs in the south, they do not play a song of social movement but there is a force behind their voices singing together that is militant and i would used to describe it. there is an emotional aspect. their life records or life require kurds might be more effective or just him leaving the crowd. >> i would say, for the 1970s, kim weston's version that she sang and also after satyrs field, in north carolina in 1974 from one to love, it's real interesting in the 70s.
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you could watch video footage of james brown singing the star-spangled banner and he interrupts the star-spangled banner and stevie wonder do something similar at an all-star game. there was video footage in recorded in the most recent, jason ran in the 2014 recording which is a beautiful instrumental version. >> i don't have a question but i cannot believe we are not mentioning bob dylan or tim cook. from the 50s. is anybody interested? >> i have enormous bob dylan fan and i find his music -- is not
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the political part that engages me, there's something about what he was doing. not to discount his songs from the early 60s, but he had a transformational point where the music goes from being apolitical to moving into the background over the course of his albums between 62 and 65. after that he becomes a really great example that often in the early 60s. it shows that it can be a community gathering point. >> like rolling stones isn't exactly a price that there can be. >> i love tim cook. there protest from every year of every decade.
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the technology is universal. from the perspective of my characters, the 60s has failed them. they had not been successful in changing the regime. or causing significant change in the society. so they took a much more aggressive approach and look down on what they called the peace generation. >> i will say quickly, for my purposes, i interest in the 60s movies was not recorded music but freedoms songs. in my interest in two-way they had a lot to do with the fact that people were coming into the movement from all over the country who did not know that it's hard to sing in the freedom songs were both easy to learn,
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but very powerful and easily to improvise upon. in the actual moment the protest, whatever they were protesting the song could be modified. >> have a question whether there is anything particularly special about the american songs, the american banks of the songs that you are talking about. when i think about our setting in the fact that there's so many different groups, so many different perspectives, and so many different alternatives to motivate people or to stop people from engaging that that had to impact the psalms somehow. i don't know about the production, but was there anything different about our setting -- this might just be my ignorance, but i think of two sites. where is here, i don't think of, at least in this moment, they are just being two sites, is there anything about the that
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characterizes the music or connects with what you all know about the music? >> they were singing songs around the world and the first two hits, one was in a really bulky man, and the second, another song is well known for which is known as a line please tonight, it was a song written in south africa and they were singing without english words and not a great attempt, and not as successful version but they were exotic finance and their message really was that there's music for all different cultures and it's on the equal playing and you should be celebrating a south african song next to a
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blues song, next to a song from appalachia. in that sense that was overtly third goal, that was how -- that's what i say when i they coded their music. they were pretty them next to each other. they got a south african song into the american top ten in 1952. it is certainly did not run smoothly and there's a lot of colonialism in the publishing and it gets really messy. but the heart of singing that, that was full of it anyway. >> american poker was not very big influence. i remember one guy, the bass player, they had no slow songs. that's a full intent of the enticement. first was political and later it was further east.
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they were networking with polish punks, whole gary and punks, and polish punks became an inspiration support. >> just really quickly, two things important, and never mentions black people explicitly and it never mentions america when the united states exclusively even though they are deeply connected to both. but the debate winners talking to people about the song, the end of the song goes, shadow beneath my hand may forever stand. be true regarding true treasure natively. depending on the generation of politics i spoke to they thought you natively and that the united states or africa. it has an international possibility.
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>> thank you. , tim thank you for bringing us a piece of the cold war we don't think about. but if you have time, a quick question, what happened to all the punks? where did they go musically? jesse is going to ask you why you thought the weavers were so corny but you begun to answer that you really don't, i don't think. [laughter] what a fabulous book you have written, i cannot wait to read it. did the johnson brothers who wrote lift up your voice, were they aware they were writing any of them? did they marketed that way? these guys were in the music business, were they aware they were writing this anthem at the time they did it or is hard to tell.
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you can read every verse a lot of different ways. thanks to all of you. >> i want to say before we this will be your last question and then you can purchase books and have them signed in the back. >> okay, the johnson brothers were not aware -- they wrote the song for 500 schoolchildren to sing at the celebration of lincoln's birthday. schoolchildren jacksonville, florida. florida baptist in the stan school. and they move pretty quickly from jacksonville because there is a major fire. they moved to new york and they were very successful there. but victoria wrote a piece in the american in a couple years. which is referred to the answer. it spread organically and it was embraced as an anthem pretty immediately by black communities even though they were no longer in the south and were actually not aware of what was happening.
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and then james pointed out happening to defend himself because there is a lot of political objection to this idea of having people trying to make claims to be part of the united states. it's before the star-spangled banner has been named the u.s. anthem. there is still a lot and a lot of newspaper debates. when i spoke to the national board of the naacp, one of the elder members said, this is not an anthem, he recognizes one anthem for the united states, this is artificial song. so, he is the secretary-general of naacp. so there has been the tension around the designation for civil rights organizations that existed for the johnson brothers as well. >> just to sort of do this quickly. i guess i'll start by emphasizing the thing i love about the weavers it's their arrangements, a guitar avenger and four voices singing. which i think is an extremely elegant combination and that
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version is very powerful to me. just hearing the four of them sing songs together. the other part of the weavers, their competence, there's horns, choirs, porch roof because the song is too short. i feel like a lot of that, if you played it now, it's unstated. but if you play it it wouldn't say current but it's something something can be made today. >> there is no one answer as to what happened to people in this book. there is a subset that have relatively configured lives. there is also an another subset that made dealings and studied
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prison and who struggle to deal with daily life to the state. they were really affected. the police were brutal and they were such a logically torture there's a complication in the scene that there were informants and you cannot get by. there's generally a lot of forgiveness because they were often recruited as minors. and because they were so good at profile people they found people that had convinced their helping difference. they thought they were doing it for the right reasons, keeping the friends out of prison or spring them as a beating. there's a lot of forgiveness for those people. i guess, what i still see going back and forth between new york and berlin, you do see the legacies, from president there's
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a lot more people power. i think that's part of this movement. >> i would like to think the authors here if you can give them a round of applause. please support the authors by purchasing books, and having them sign. i'd like to say that this panelist is sponsored by the joseph and robert cornell foundation. i would also like to think virginia festival of the book to have us all here. take care.
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live from los angeles, biographers discussed the latest books. you're watching book tv on c-span2.
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