The American label Smithsonian Folkways have released The Social Power Of Music, an impressive collection of odes, songs of struggle, prayers and celebrations from around the world: it marks an homage to the power of action through music, and through a community of mixed voices.
Over the course of this very complete box set, composed mainly from the archives of the eminent label, The Social Power of Music demonstrates music’s capacity to be formidable catalyst in rallying and engaging communities, whether it calls for resistance or enables comfort and distance through personal abstraction. From Brazilian plantations to North American groups, concerning figures from Italy’s Mussolini to Chile’s Pinochet, The Social Power of Music paints a fresco of the major social movements at work during the 20th Century. It features both militant and private revolts, delivering interpretations from illustrious as well as unknown figures – American artist-activists such as Paul Robeson (“Joe Hill”), Peggy Seeger (“Reclaim The Night”) and Woody Guthrie (“This Land is Your Land”). They rub shoulders with choruses of anti-apartheid refugee activists in Tanganyika, Marcel Khalifé whose “The Passport” declares the realities of the Palestinian strife, and Lilly Tchiumba who demands the rights of women in Angola. A major work of heritage.
The Social Power of Music (Smithsonian Folkways)