Build Peace 2016 mixtape: songs on personal and global transformation
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For years, I had a slip of paper pinned to the bulletin board above my desk where I had written, as a motto:
Revolution starts at home, preferably in the bathroom mirror.
I had found this sentence in the notes of the inner sleeve of Hüsker Dü’s 1987 album Warehouse: songs and stories, and from the moment I read it, I adopted it as a living expression of the idea I’ve had since the sixties: that there is an inseparable dialectic between social change and personal change.
No social change can work if it doesn’t also promote a change in people; to change the world we have to start by changing ourselves.
Revolution starts at home, and what better place than facing the image a mirror returns us, experiencing that moment of estrangement, of lucidity, where we open our mind, and suddenly notice:
We are going wrong.
Which is what Jack Bruce writes in Cream’s song. We are going wrong if we are not being true to ourselves. So let’s start changing, transforming, being proud of who we are:
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud!
shouts James Brown, and then
I am what I am.
states Jerry Herman through the voice of Gloria Gaynor, even if, rebel, rebel
You’ve got your mother in a whirl / She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl
as David Bowie and Rickie Lee Jones sing in opening and ending this tape.
We build peace at the individual, community and state level.
And so it’s just as important that we are freeing our mind (says John Lennon), and we better get busy being free (that’s Joni Mitchell), because really we can change the world, open up the door (Graham Nash). Transformation towards peace is about each one of us. We, the people, the ones who have the power (as Patti Smith tells us), the ones who have to have the power (as John Lennon reminds us).
And technology? Technology is just a tool and what matters is how we choose to use it, so follow Daft Punk’s advice and…
Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it, mail — upgrade it, charge it, point it, zoom it, press it, snap it, work it, quick — erase it.
Because video may have killed the radio star (say The Buggles), and technology is ever changing, but we are the real transformers. The bringers of peace, if we want it.
Build Peace 2016 Tape: track list
- David Bowie, Rebel, Rebel (David Bowie), 1974, 00:00
- Patti Smith, People Have the Power (Patti Smith and Fred “Sonic” Smith), 1988, 04:25
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Chicago (Graham Nash), 1971, 09:22
- The Beatles, Revolution (John Lennon), 1968, 12:26
- Enrique Morente & Lagartija Nick, Manhattan (Leonard Cohen, Enrique Morente y Alberto Manzano), 1996, 15:47
- The Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star (Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Woolley),1980, 20:26
- Daft Punk, Technologic (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter),2005, 24:35
- Anonhi, Drone Bomb Me (Anohni and Ross Birchard), 2016, 27:20
- Garbage, Androgyny (Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig), 2001, 31:27
- Hüsker Dü, You’re a Soldier (Grant Hart), 1987, 34:35
- Cream, We’re Going Wrong (Jack Bruce), 1967, 37:34
- Joni Mitchell, Cactus Tree (Joni Mitchell), 1968, 40:57
- The Raincoats, Lola (Ray Davies), 1979, 45:30
- Gloria Gaynor, I am What I am (Jerry Herman), 1984, 49:35
- James Brown, Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud (James Brown and Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis), 1968, 52:27
- John Lennon, Power to the People (John Lennon), 1970, 55:11
- Rickie Lee Jones, Rebel Rebel (David Bowie), 1993, 58:25