Songs from a Stolen Spring

Posted on in Art + Soul by Lloyd Barde

Various Artists

One of the more meaningful recent releases bridges cross-cultural collaborations with the legacy of freedom and liberation songs from many times and places. Updating the refrains of well-known peace songs from the US charts, American and Arab artists sing multilingual duets. The project, about the eternal struggle for freedom, has given birth to Songs from a Stolen Spring.

The album opens with the Blind Boys of Alabama singing Richie Havens’ classic, “Freedom.” The song seamlessly blends with “A New Beginning” from Egypt’s Eskenderella that comes from the protests in Tahrir Square. The following eight tracks include familiar anthems like “Get Up, Stand Up,” and “A Simple Song of Freedom” paired with “Once We Were True Rebels,” and other often unusual pairings. It also serves as an introduction for Western listeners to the music of Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia.

What in the West has been named the “Arab Spring” brought so much hope when it started in Tunis in January 2011. But in all the countries involved, those revolutions have been stolen by forces of various kinds, from Salafist militants to military coups. Just as people at moments of struggle have done before them, Arab artists also created new songs, shared by the masses in the squares of Tunis, Cairo, Jerusalem, and many other cities. Songs from a Stolen Spring presents a few of their songs paired with some from American struggles. These songs show that humanity shares a fight that is continuously rolling across time and continents, for freedom, self-determination, and equality for all people. Music and singing together share a common voice, a common cause, and the eternal hope for peace in our lives.


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