This broken country…
“The fervour of the music matched the energy of the streets, as racism, poverty and violence ran rampant.”… Wrote Heather Augustyn, author of Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation. She was describing Britain in the 1960s when Ska (from Jamaica) fused with punk and pop to form ‘Two-tone’. With a government feeding us populism and media fueling the fear and hate, this could be describing now. No coincidence perhaps, that it was a protest song ‘Liar Liar GE2017’, in this genre that topped the charts before last year’s snap General Election which our Prime Minister had previously said she would not hold.
On Captain Ska
The group comprises a seven-piece band of freelance musicians. They formed in 2010 in reaction to policies rolled out by the Coalition and Conservative governments. Amazed by the success of ‘Liar Liar’, in The Independent, their trumpeter Jake told us that the song is “reflective of a silent majority “fed up” with a Conservative government.”. This is a “government of the rich, for the rich” he states.
While looking up the band, I came across the Captain Ska website. Here you can find their new song ‘The Windrush Feat. Rubi Dany’ which calls for the resignation of Theresa May along with Amber Rudd in relation to scandalous treatment of those who travelled from the Caribbean and made their homes in the UK. The words ‘One down, one to go.’ appear at the end of the video.
Simplicity does it?
‘Liar Liar’ contrasts with another excellent political song ‘Ill Manors’ by Plan B, featured in ‘Songs for Broken Britain’ Part 1. Whereas ‘Ill Manors’ features lyrics which are brilliant and complex, those of ‘Liar Liar’ are simple and direct. There is no irony or satire in ‘You can’t trust her, no, no, no, no.’ (referring to May) or ‘I don’t recognise this broken country of mine’. No one would misunderstand these words. Could this have helped ‘Liar Liar’ become the most downloaded on iTunes and Amazon in the UK? I reckon it helped. All this, despite the song not being played on radio stations due to the upcoming election. (BBC even greyed it out on their chart playlist, by the way… and that was controversial).
Music of Hope
‘Liar Liar’ is typical of its genre. It is energetic, catchy and (relatively) upbeat. The backdrop is one of tragedy and desperation, but there are vibes of resilience and optimism. Then on their newer number ‘The Windrush’ Captain SKA call for unity. Back to Heather Augustyn again, she describes Ska as calling for exactly that. With these notes of positivity, I will leave you…
…. until ‘Songs for Broken Britain: Part 3’ where you will find Mick Jagger.