Saturday, May 28, 2011
The following video is brought to us by the Guardian UK:
Jamie Byng, publisher of Canongate Books, was a friend of Gil Scott-Heron for more than 20 years. During 2010 they recorded this interview in London where the rapper-poet talked about his life and work, interspersed with intimate performances of his music. A fuller version of the film is to be released later in 2011
Juan Cole @ Informed Comment had this to say:
Ironically, his obituary will not be televised because television news became just what he predicted.(Because:)
They get together
Whenever they think it necessary
They are turning our brothers and sisters into mercenaries
They are turning parts of the planet into a cemetery...
"Better Work For Peace, ’cause peace ain’t comin’ this way."
A note from Razer Raygun: I spent a decade and a half doing audio reinforcement for live performances in Central California, and one of the first gigs I ever worked was in 1982/3 for KUSP Santa Cruz community radio doing sound and a live broadcast of Gil Scott-Heron from Soledad prison. Like BB King, Gil Scott-Heron was a tireless worker for social justice and DID NOT forget his brothers imprisoned in America’s gulags.
Rest in Peace Gil Scott-Heron, you WILL be remembered.
A very well-written summation of Gil Sott-Heron's life and times from the Telegraph UK.
Gil Scott-Heron, who died on May 27 aged 62, was a composer, musician, poet and author whose writings and recordings provided a vivid, and often stinging, commentary on social injustice and the black American experience; his declamatory singing style, allied to the overtly political content of his work, made him widely recognised as one of the inspirational figures of rap music.
Scott-Heron first came to attention with his 1970 recording The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, an attack on the mindless and anaesthetising effects of the mass media and a call to arms to the black community: “You will not be able to stay home, brother./You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out./You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,/Skip out for beer during commercials,/Because the revolution will not be televised.”
Written when Scott Heron was just 18, it first appeared in the form of a spoken-word recitation, his impassioned incantation accompanied only by congas and bongo drums, on his debut album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox.
The following year Scott-Heron recorded the song for a second time, this time with a full band, for his album Pieces of a Man, and as the B-side to the single Home Is Where The Hatred Is.
The song went on to be covered, sampled and referenced in innumerable recordings, the title entering the lexicon of contemporary phraseology. In 2010 it was named as one of the top 20 political songs by the New Statesman.
Scott-Heron’s music reflected something of the militancy and self-assertiveness of such theorists and polemicists as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. Over the course of some 20 albums he produced a series of sardonic and biting commentaries on ghetto life and racial injustice, including Whitey’s On The Moon, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, The Bottle (a lamentation about people squandering their lives on liquor, set to an irresistibly seductive Latin beat) and the anti-apartheid anthem Johannesburg.
But anger was only colour in Scott-Heron’s music palette; songs such as Must Be Something and It’s Your World were moving affirmations of faith in the power of the human spirit...
[In full, a succinct but detailed biography]
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