‘Tis the season for gigs or jigs, and I have a foible for sampling, mashups, crossovers, and cutups. In practical terms –as far as my own recent musical explorations with a group of other similarly minded rock gone rogue jazzmen illustrates– this usually means revisiting traditional song, folk standards and jazz repertoire through a prism of shifting genre lines. Music can certainly be queer when it’s not being punk.
But if I return regularly to music in my posts about art and landscape it’s because there are leylines crisscrossing song and earth works in the most literal of senses.
The repetitive nature of Labour has often been accompanied by work songs. Whether it’s the domestic work of weaving, husking grains for food preparation or trying to lull a child to sleep or the work of agricultural tilling and harvesting, cultures the world over have given in to song. There is just one such song that comes to mind these days as the Afropunk fest Paris 3rd edition gets underway.
Honeychild Coleman, poster child for the Afro-Punk movement has created a beautiful rendition of scottish poet Robert Burns classic Coming thro’ the Rye. The text is evocative of a pastoral scene. And the singers’ lilting interpretation singularly reminiscent of an agricultural work song.