On the 27th May at 8pm Scream Blue Murmur will be hosting a Gil Scott-Heron Tribute night at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. They will also be launching their EP ‘Belfast Sun’ which will be available to buy on the night but you can also download it from Band Camp here – http://screambluemurmur.bandcamp.com/album/belfast-sun
On the night there will be a showing of the film about Scott-Heron “The Godfather of Rap”, poet Ezekial Johnson will be reading some of Scott-Heron’s poetry and local DJ’s Venus Rollergirl and Joe Lindsay will be spinning the decks giving us tunes from the great man himself and also those groups he inspired.
Scream Blue Murmur will also be performing. And no, they will not be performing cover versions of Gil Scott-Heron songs, they will be doing their own tunes which are in the spirit of Scott-Heron and all he stood for. This group of poets and musicians are the closest thing to GSH that I can see here on the local scene. And just cos I’m part of the group doesn’t make me biased…..it just means that I have an insiders knowledge on what drives this group of people to create songs/poems/chants that have a political message that aren’t driven by the message but by the groove and the overall vibe. It’s too hard to explain in words. It needs to be explained by you shaking your ass and a bottle of glittery rice. It needs to be explained somewhere in your gut and only you have access to that. So come along to the gig, see what happens and explain it to me afterwards.
Scream were very proud to be involved with yesterdays Love Music Hate Racism event “The World At Your Doorstep” which took place on the Skegoneill/Glandore interface in North Belfast. This area has, in the past, been the site of many clashes but yesterday there was only the clash of musical tastes…and sure that’s hardly a clash at all. The event was funded by Belfast City Council, Community Relations Council and Love Music Hate Racism NI (LMHRNI), and supported by local community groups Skegoneill Glandore Common Purpose (SGCP) and CaveHill Antrim Road Regeneration (CARR)
It was refreshing to see how many people turned out on a cold, grey afternoon to watch performances from Folk & The Rest (Folk Americana), The Roma Musicians doing traditional Roma pieces, Scream doing our Ruff-Housin’ thing, Magwere who brought his blend of Zimbabwean Afrobeat and his own unique sense of humour and Pocket Billiards who are a Ska Punk Band.
There was a lovely atmosphere, kids were dancing away, there was a BBQ on the go and had the weather been better you’d have been hard pushed to guess you were in Belfast.
I’ve always loved the vibe of a LMHR event. I love the people it attracts, I love the blend of different musical styles, I love the conversations between all the musicians and the sharing of stories from lives across the world. I love what it does to an audience. I looked around the square yesterday and saw people chatting and dancing, old and young, little kids joining in, teenagers enjoying themselves in-between bursts of “I’m way too cool for this sort of thing”. I noticed a Roma resident who made her way to the front of the stage and began to dance there with others, she was smiling and enjoying herself and relishing hearing her music in a context she hadn’t been expecting. I found out later that she’d been fearful of leaving her house in the past and only came out because she heard the music. And I guess that’s what its all about. The groups who organised this event wanted to create a shared space with a positive atmosphere and they did it. I could be wrong but I think LMHR are the only group to give Roma musician’s equal billing and payment and perhaps are the only group to invite them to play at events. I’d like to see more of this sort of thing.
I’ll be really interested to see what the local community decide to do with the Common Ground space. I think it would be lovely to have it paved over and there could be regular music events on it or a local market on Saturday mornings. It’s a really exciting time for them now at the minute as they work hard to get the money and the backing from the community to turn the space from a negative to a positive interface.
Well done to all involved.