99 Percent Blues live at (de)Occupy Honolulu

Here we are holding down the Sunday jam at Thomas Square for (de)Occupy Honolulu: Michael, Laulani, Dave and Laulani, who is trying to video while singing backups and playing ukulele, and myself on slide and singing.  Michael plays upside down and backwards, Jimi Hendrix style, and David has an endless stream of classic folk songs and his own originals.  Michael and Laulani took turns laying down the Hawaiian songs beautifully, some of their own, some classics.  We are there at Thomas Square, corner of Beretania and Ward, just like in the song, every Sunday, along with Food not Bombs, at 3 PM until dark.  I won’t be able to make it this coming week, so I hope five more will take my place!  I’ll be back the following week though, after taking a break to Molokai.

Thomas Square Blues

Extension of “99 percent blues,” acoustic with slide guitar and my sweet new Gibson acoustic on rhythm.  The new verses reflect the 8 raids on the Thomas Square Occupy Honolulu encampment.  Still there though!  Come down Sunday afternoon for Food Not Bombs and a jam with Laulani Teale and myself.  Bring yer instruments if ya gottem and some munchies.



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99 percent blues

OK, so what’s a blues song without some words? I finished my tribute to Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” by cutting some vocals dedicated to the Occupy movement, and the ninety-nine percent struggling to wake up from the nightmare the one percent is inflicting on us every day with corruption, oppression, and greed.  Oh, and if you want a blues song without some words, here is the instrumental version.

The directions to the camp are in the song. Beretania and Ward is the location of the Occupy Honolulu camp at Thomas Square. Thomas Square was the site where on July 26, 1843, Admiral Richard Darton Thomas returned the Kingdom of Hawai?i to the Hawaiians after the first illegal takeover, by the British. King Kamehameha III said “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ??ina i ka Pono” (meaning “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”) in his speech at the ceremony marking his restoration. The sentence has become the state motto of Hawaii, incorporated into its seal. The second illegal overthrow was of course the one under which Hawai?i eventually became part of the United States. That is why we cross out “occupy” in our name, to show solidarity with the already occupied kingdom, otherwise known as the most heavily militarized state in the Union.

Come down and show some love for Occupy Honolulu if you are in town!

(de)Occupy Honolulu
(de)Occupy Honolulu

Here are the lyrics:

99 Percent Blues

Copyright 2011, Rich Rath

Creative Commons Commons Share and Share Alike type 3 license

(based on Jimi Hendrix’s Red House and a couple hundred other blues songs)

There’s a red house over yonder
Bank’ll get me one of those

There’s a red house over yonder

Bank they got me one of those

But I couldn’t get no bailout money

And the bank, well it foreclosed

I was standing on the corner

of Beretania and Ward

Holding signs there on the corner

of Beretania and Ward

I got the 99 blues

And that’s all I can afford

That’s ok I still got my guitar if they don’t take that away.

Police say get off the corner

You can’t occupy this space

Police say get off the corner

You can’t occupy this space

But i f they haul me off calling for justice

Five more will take my place

Extra Verses

I got three jobs

I can barely pay my rent

I got three jobs

I can barely pay my rent

I got those 99 blues

It ain’t like the one percent.

Corporations banks and lobbies

Bought the laws beyond a doubt

Corporations banks and lobbies

Bought the laws beyond a doubt

But when we raise our voice in protest

Its a crime to point it out

Intentions and reality

Ok, I’ve been catching tons of great music while traveling but have not had time to write about it, so rather than try to start at the beginning and do posts on everything, I’ll just give you the whirlwind tour.

aterciopeladosWe went to the House of Blues Disney location again, this time to catch another of my favorite bands, Aterciopelados (roughly translates as “the velvety ones”). They have a new album out, Rio, and it is quite good. Musically it weaves the electronica experimentation of the last few years with Latin and Caribbean folk styles, going for a sort of musical version of magical realism. As always, the songs are politically engaged, this time largely around water rights in their home country, Colombia. On the songs folks knew like “Baracunatana” and “Bolero Faz,” the whole place knew the words and Andrea Echieverra did not even need to sing. But when she did, she drew notes from way down inside her, “engaging her core” as my artist friend Riti so aptly put it: another candidate for the decibels per pound award. They finished with my favorite, “Luz Azul.”  Poke around their site, including the link to the old site, to find lots of their music and videos if you want to give them a listen.

A day later, we joined thousands of marchers in the May Day immigrant rights marches throughout Los Angeles. While I’m here in Kolkata, I intend to edit soundscapes from the protests and even the Venice Beach Drum Circle (maybe not together though), but I’ll save that for another time. There were six or seven different marches this year, altogether about 10-15,000 people came out on the streets, but they couldn’t all get together because each though that either they were being excluded or else they wanted to exclude something they saw as too radical or not radical enough. One sign of unity emerged in the evening, as two groups headed mostly by younger people, the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities and CopWatch LA descended on MacArthur Park and actually managed to cooperatively put on a great event highlighted by RAC’s great documentary on the 2007 May Day police riot at the park — which cost the city 12.85 million bucks in damages — We’re Still Here, We Never Left, followed up by a totally rocking Latino ska band called Ekolekuua that had the park skanking and moshing. Maybe the elders will get it together to cooperate some more next year.  I’ll try to add some pix later, but I forgot the camera usb cable so it will have to wait til I get back to Boston.

damned-in-paradiseSpeaking of Boston, we caught the Damned in, of all places, Paradise – ‘hey, who let those guys in?’  I’ve been a fan since the seventies, and “Wait til the Blackout” is one of my top five favorite all time songs. They played it, along with most everything else. Captain Sensible was too loud, sloppy and talked way too much, kind of par for the course I guess, but it was loud and great. David Vanian seemed a bit checked out…maybe trying to look goth? Anyway, it was a blast. And we got there just as they started and it hadn’t sold out yet so for some reason, no one was at the door and we got in free! Now that is Paradise.  I have the cable for the iPhone, so here’s a blurry pic of the Captain and Vanian to go with the blurry Aterciopelados pic. I won’t go into the controversy over why Rat Scabies left, but the Captain went on a pretty funny rant about it and put in a plug for the book on Scabies’ quest for the Holy Grail.

Now if I could only find time to write about the avant garde guitarist festival last summer in Tokyo…but how about a few new tunes from me instead. Here is a dub thingie with a nice wobbly bass line, L.A. Skank, and another I’m calling “be miner” for now. More rreplay has happened and I’m mixing away in Kolkata so stay tuned there, but first I’ll have to write about my Kolkata musical quest, so stay tuned, though its looking like it be a few days as we’re heading off on a side trip.