Monday, June 29, 2015

Australia: News Corpse Waging War on Workers

Murdoch's Sydney Rag in a Rage – Monday 29 June 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Abbott Government finds Gillian Triggs "Guilty of Human Rights"

By The Shovel on June 8, 2015

Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs has been looking out for the welfare of others, it has been alleged.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has laid out damning evidence that suggests Professor Triggs has a long history of human rights. As recently as last week it is claimed she spoke out on behalf of a minority group.
If found guilty of human rights, Professor Triggs could be forced to step down from her role as Human Rights Commissioner.
Mr Dutton said he would not stand for such blatant human rights. “It is grossly inappropriate for someone in her position to be even considering, let alone speaking publically about the rights of others,” he said today.
“What I say to Ms Triggs is this: let us worry about your rights and other peoples’ rights; you just focus on doing what we say”.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Ronnie Gilbert – 1926-2015

Ronnie Gilbert, whose crystalline, bold contralto provided distaff ballast for the Weavers, the seminal quartet that helped propel folk music to wide popularity and establish its power as an agent of social change, died on Saturday in Mill Valley, Calif. She was 88.

Weavers reunion – Pete Seeger, Lee Hayes, Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman
Ms. Gilbert had a résumé as a stage actor and later in life a career as a psychologist, but her enduring impact was as a singer.

The Weavers, whose other members were Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman, started playing together in the late 1940s. Like-minded musicians with progressive political views, they performed work songs, union songs and gospel songs, and became known for American folk standards like “On Top of Old Smoky,” “Goodnight, Irene” (first recorded by the blues singer Lead Belly), Woody Guthrie’s “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh” and “The Hammer Song” (a.k.a. “If I Had a Hammer”) by Mr. Seeger and Mr. Hays, as well as songs from other cultures, including “Wimoweh” from Africa and “Tzena Tzena Tzena,” a Hebrew song popular in Israel.

“We sang songs of hope in that strange time after World War II, when already the world was preparing for Cold War,” Ms. Gilbert recalled in “The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time,” a 1982 documentary about the group. “We still had the feeling that if we could sing loud enough and strong enough and hopefully enough, it would make a difference.”

In 1951 The Weavers were blacklisted; invitations to perform and record dried up, their recordings were removed from stores, and the group disbanded. With her husband, Martin Weg, a dentist, Ms. Gilbert moved to California, where they started a family.

Then, in 1955, the Weavers’ manager, Harold Leventhal, arranged a concert at Carnegie Hall. The show sold out, perceived by many ticket buyers not just as a musical event but as an act of defiance against the McCarthyist cold war hysteria.

More at New York Times

Saturday, June 06, 2015


Marrickville evening light

Peggy Seeger: 'It's Pete'

Published on 24 Jul 2013
Song by Peggy Seeger on the occasion of Pete Seeger's 94th birthday.
Video by Zoe Broughton

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Jean Ritchie – 1922-2015

Almeda Riddle, Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson, 1964
When Jean Ritchie, who has died aged 92, emerged on to the embryonic New York folk scene in the 1940s, her repertoire of family songs from the Anglo-American tradition of the southern Appalachian mountains was seized upon by folksong enthusiasts as proof of the veracity of the old music. It was a tradition that had first been exposed to a wider audience by the English folksong collector Cecil Sharp in 1916-18: indeed, Sharp had noted songs from the Ritchie family in 1917. The quality of the music recorded by Sharp, and contained in the Ritchie family songs, contributed to the reassessment of the Appalachians, which had previously been seen as culturally backward.

One of Ritchie’s favourites was Fair Nottamun Town, first noted by Sharp from her sister and cousin in 1917. Ritchie’s version was recorded in Britain by Shirley Collins and then popularised by Bert Jansch and Fairport Convention, but it was Bob Dylan’s use of the tune for Masters of War that gave Ritchie the greatest exposure.

Born in Viper in the Cumberland mountains of Kentucky, Jean was the youngest of the 14 children of Abigail (nee Hall) and Balis Ritchie. The role played by singing in family life during her childhood was documented in her acclaimed book Singing Family of the Cumberlands (1955), widely regarded as an American classic, and used in schools in the US. The songs were the natural accompaniment to everyday tasks on the farm and in the home, and the family often gathered on the porch in the evening to “sing the moon up”.

Jean’s curiosity and her widening knowledge led her to wonder about the origins of the family songs and, in 1952, she obtained a Fulbright scholarship to travel around Britain and Ireland. In Devon, Ritchie and Pickow worked with the folksong collector Peter Kennedy to record and film Bill Westaway, whose father Harry had been a source of the song Widecombe Fair. In Aberdeen, Ritchie swapped songs with the Traveller ballad singer Jeannie Robertson, and in Ireland, she recorded songs in Irish and English from Elizabeth Cronin.

She performed alongside Doc Watson and they recorded a memorable album together in 1963. Ritchie’s version of the traditional song My Dear Companion was recorded by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton on their celebrated 1987 album, Trio.

In 2002, Ritchie received a National Endowment for the Arts heritage fellowship, and the same year was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. She continued to perform until 2009, when she suffered a stroke. A double tribute album, Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie (2014), featured Pete Seeger and Judy Collins.

Jean Ritchie sings Blue Diamond Mines