Recently, while digging through the clutter of my office, I discovered a CD that I had bought somewhere but had never opened. It was by an Afrobeat/Jazz group called Antibalas. As you might suspect from the name of the album, Liberation Afrobeat Vol I, and a visit to their MySpace site, they are of the sort of squishy far left that so many musicians embrace. Still, I enjoyed the other album of their's I owned, and besides -- how much politics could get mixed into saxophones honking away?
I put it on and was quite enjoying it when halfway through when one of the band members did a spoken introduction to a song called World War Four. The name surprised me because I've always associated the abominable notion that the Cold War was somehow equivalent to the horrors of either WWI or WWII with Conservatives rather than far-left jazz poofters. Anyways, he bumbled through an explanation that the reason why nobody noticed WWIII was because the capitalistic Merchants of Death had gotten so good at slaughtering folk that nobody noticed WWIII.
After that warm-up he rambled on about Mexican Indians being oppressed, Africans being oppressed, Chileans being oppressed, and so forth until he reached the United States. He then chastised the War Criminal occupying the White House. Bracing for the usual Chimpy Bu$hitler bit, I nearly spit coffee all over my monitor when that War Criminal turned out to be none other than Bill Clinton. Man, that CD sat in that pile for longer than I thought. Amazingly, it wasn't even War Criminal Clinton who bombed Serbia, it was the earlier War Criminal Clinton who enforced the Iraq no-fly zone that had this fellow worked into a lather.
Well, what of them now, after the Twin Towers came down and Saddam's mass graves of brown-skinned folks came to light? A quote from an NPR review, "Brooklyn's Antibalas makes intensely rhythmic music that blends jazz, funk, dub and traditional West African drumming with political messages for an intense but party-friendly sound."
A party-friendly politcal sound? How quaint. It must be World War Five we're into by now.