Songs of protest
North Carolina musicians will be lending their voices in support of the Moral Monday movement with a recording of protest songs.
Sunday, they will record six songs protesting many policies the state Legislature is considering. They will rehearse the songs in a free, open rehearsal Saturday afternoon at The Pinhook bar prior to Sunday’s recording at a Raleigh studio.
The list of participants continues to grow, but earlier this week Tift Merritt, Hiss Golden Messenger, Shirlette Ammons, Birds and Arrows and Jon Shain were among the musicians who had committed to the recording.
The North Carolina Music Love Army has formed in less than a week, say musicians and Love Army organizers Jon Lindsay and Caitlin Cary. The inspiration for this weekend’s recording session came from a song Django Haskins posted online titled “We Are Not for Sale,” protesting legislative policies on fracking, the environment, voting rights and other issues. Lindsay also has posted a protest song titled “N.C. GOP, You Don’t Know Me.” Cary, who plays violin and has worked with Lindsay, came home after participating in a Moral Monday event and heard Lindsay’s tune, which made reference to Haskins’ song. “I got on the phone with [Lindsay] and we started talking,” Cary said. “We both said, ‘We have to do something,’ and this is what we know how to do.” Lindsay said he was so moved by Haskins’ song that he stopped his preparations for a new recording and wrote his song, which he calls “my contribution to the public dialogue of how we all feel.”
Lindsay is producing and directing the rehearsal and recording, and Cary is the managing administrative director of N.C. Music Love Army. At Saturday’s rehearsal, the musicians will work on the tunes from Lindsay and Haskins, along with song submissions from other artists. Cary is working on a song with Ammons.
They plan to complete an EP-length recording of six songs. Proceeds from any sales or other activities will go to the NAACP, Progress N.C. and Planned Parenthood, organizations active in Moral Monday.
The Moral Monday protests at the Legislature began in April, under the leadership of the Rev. William Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP. Since then, many protesters have been arrested at the weekly gatherings, including some public officials, and other groups have given support to the protests.
Cary says she is concerned about the effect some proposed legislation will have on the poor. All told, the legislation “could cause real suffering in a time when that is not necessary,” Cary said. “It’s unjust. It’s cruel. I do not want a mean, cruel government.”
Lindsay, based in Charlotte, tours a lot nationally and is “proud of the perception of North Carolina as a forward-thinking Southern state.” Current policies on fracking and other issues would turn back the clock, Lindsay said.
“I feel that these policies, when grouped together … [are] an attempt to disenfranchise a very large strata of the North Carolina citizenry,” he said. “This is not who we are. Real North Carolinians care about their neighbors and do not want them to be disenfranchised.”