Music has long served a journalistic tradition. The epic poems of the ancient Greeks, the chanting of Zoroaster priests, the songs of medieval bards and minstrels or Mexican corridistas have served as a travelling news service singing of battles, heroes, political movements. One would think that in the times of newswires and the Internet, music may still serve as a community-building tool, but would have lost most of its information distribution role.
Mark Pedelty from the University of Minnesota in an ethnographic research project is investigating the roles of political pop and protest songs. He comes to the surprising conclusion that “music performs an informational role as well as a strong community-building function. Although music no longer plays a central role in news delivery, it is nevertheless an important source of information, particularly for young activists.” His study is rich in details, a good read for those interested.
It is in fact fascinating how political pop has played and still plays a role in current events. From “We shall overcome”, to “General” or the “Sounds of Revolution” in communist East-Central Europe, here is the latest example from Tunisian rapper Hamada Ben Amor or El Général, whose protest song “Rayes Lebled” (a jeux de mot from Head of State) has become the song of the revolution in Tunisia and further.
Tomorrow (21/02) EU foreign ministers will meet in the General Affairs Council formation presided by the HU Presidency, then in the afternoon in the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) formation presided by the High Representative. However already tonight ministers will discuss over dinner Egypt and political developments in the region. We send this song to all those preparing for tonight’s dinner. As Hip Hop Diplomacy puts it “I encourage you all to read the words of Hamada Ben Amor, aka. El General, and take a moment to meditate on the power of Hip Hop music to articulate frustration and incite young people to action” The question on everyone’s mind tonight, is where will this all lead to: “Tehran 1979 or Berlin 1989?”