Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) - Statesman, Revolutionary, Political Prisoner, Prophet, Reconciler: Rest in Peace, Madiba!

Madiba, Nelson Mandela
Madiba, Nelson Mandela, passed away yesterday at the age of 95. He is a great hero of social justice. As a lawyer and the leader of the African National Congress, he fought against the racist Apartheid system in South Africa from 1948 -1994. He spent 27 years as a political prisoner, much of it in solitary. When he became the president of South Africa, he offered reconciliation with the white minority, rather than retribution. As Muhammed Ali stated yesterday, "he taught forgiveness on a grand scale."

No doubt many will try to domesticate his memory, as they have with Martin Luther King Jr. But though Madiba left hate and bitterness behind, he was a firm supported of social justice. He did not shrink back from speaking the truth to power.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, representatives of the world's dominant powers, condemned his as a terrorist. They had stake in maintaining the unjust status quo. It was only in 2008 that George W. Bush signed a bill removing his name from the terrorist list.
Nelson Mandela with Fidel Castro
But for many people of the world- for people of African descent, for workers, for the poor, for the oppressed, and for proponents of social justice, he is a liberator. For me he is a hero and a prophet of social justice. This is one of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela:

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

Madiba did not let the oppressor of the hook, or any of us, for that matter. We are called to reconciliation, but a reconciliation based on making things right. In this sense, Nelson Mandela is a true prophet, in the Biblical sense; he shines a light on injustice, and calls us to repentance, to change the way we do things and treat each other.

Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest people we have been honored to have on this planet. He is a Statesman, Revolutionary, Political Prisoner, Prophet, Reconciler. Charlie Rose stated on his program last night "It seems to me that if there was not a word for 'dignity,' Nelson Mandela would define it."

We love you, Madiba, may you rest in peace in the arms of God, and continue your work for peace and justice in heaven for us who remain on pilgrimage. May we all be inspired by your example, and shrink not back from the work of peace and justice and reconciliation here in Earth.

Nelson Mandela with Bishop Desmond Tutu
I read some wonderful prayers for Nelson Mandela yesterday; here are just a few of them...

“Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world, in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you/Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good, noble and honourable for God’s people/We will continue where you have left off, the Lord being our helper."

- Cape Town Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Come to meet him, angels of the Lord!
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
May Christ, Who called you, take you to Himself;
may angels lead you to Abraham's side.
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
Give him eternal rest, O Lord,
and may Your light shine upon him forever.
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
Let us pray: We commend our brother Madiba to you, Lord.
Now that he has passed from this life,
may he live on in Your presence.
In Your mercy and love, forgive whatever sins he
may have committed through human weakness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Let All in agreement say,

- Fr. Bruce Christian

Thank you, Nelson Mandela, for all the gifts you gave, the light you shone into the world, and the magnificence of your example.
Dear God,
Please hold Mandela
in Your eternal arms
and give him eternal peace.
Surround him with love
and deliver him to bliss.
And so it is.

- Marianne Williamson
Nelson Mandela with Whitney Houston

Monday, November 18, 2013

Esperanza's New Protest Video on Gitmo

TERRIFIC MUSIC BY ESPERANZA, PROTESTING GITMO. This is in the great tradition of protest music, which we have not had enough of, in this observer’s estimation. Esperanza’s blog in the L.A. Times and the video link below.

Music to shine a light on Guantanamo Bay
By Esperanza Spalding, guest blogger via LA TIMES
I finally read all of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail" this spring while I was on tour for my album "Radio Music Society." At about the same time, the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay detention center hit the headlines. Soon, scores of men were being force-fed. The more I learned about what was going on at Guantanamo, the more I realized that the truths King expressed in his famous letter were back in our faces: "Justice too long delayed is justice denied."

I vowed to do something. When I got home, I called my representative and senators and expressed my support for a just closure of Guantanamo. Then I called my friends and asked them to do the same. But that wasn't enough: 84 men cleared for release by our national security agencies years ago were still sitting at Guantanamo. I left to go back on tour, but the burning question remained: What else can I do?

At a "Radio Music Society" band dinner, we talked about Guantanamo and realized we shared a deep concern about the issues it raises. Those talks inspired a song, and then a music video -- "We Are America," which we're releasing Monday -- that we hope will mobilize support for closing the facility. As the project crystallized, I reached out to more friends -- some who happen to be quite well known -- and they agreed to support our effort by making cameo appearances in the video.

Throughout the process, and after consulting with human rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, our resolve kept growing. We believe that the blatant injustice of detention without charge at Guantanamo violates not just U.S. human rights obligations but also our basic values and principles.

Of the 779 men who have been held at the facility since it was opened in 2002, only seven have ever been convicted of any charges in military tribunals. Two of those convictions have been overturned on appeal. Another six men are on trial now, and the government says it will only prosecute seven more. That means that of the 164 men being held (many of whom have been there for almost 12 years), 151 are being held without charges, and they will never be charged.

King's Birmingham letter emphasizes that concern for justice and equality is not enough to remedy the systematic violation of human rights: "[I am] compelled to carry the gospel of freedom far beyond my own home town…," he wrote. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

With the release of "We Are America," we hope to shine a light for our fellow Americans on these nitty-gritty facts:

The Obama administration has the ability to transfer the 84 detainees who have already been cleared for release out of Guantanamo, and other detainees could soon be cleared by newly established review boards. However, current law needlessly places obstacles in the way of accomplishing that.

Now, the Senate has begun to change that. Provisions in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act passed out of the Senate Arms Services Committee will break down some of these obstacles and give the president more flexibility to make transfers out of the detention facility. The full Senate will begin debate on the act, and those provisions, in the coming days.

Specifically, Sections 1031 to 1034 of the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act would permit the transfer of "detainees who have been ordered released by a competent U.S. court" and "would permit transfers for the purpose of detention and trial." Since 9/11, federal courts have prosecuted hundreds of terrorism cases, and those convicted are currently serving long sentences in high-security federal prisons.

If the Senate and the House of Representatives agree to the Guantanamo provisions in the defense act, the few prisoners in the detention center who face charges could be prosecuted where it makes the most sense, in federal courts.

Radio Music Society (and friends) made "We Are America" because we believe that, while not all of us are called to the front lines like Martin Luther King Jr., we can all support our elected officials in doing the right thing.



Monday, October 14, 2013

For Columbus Day- Bruce Cockburn's Stolen Land

"This song is done live and is just accompanied with drums. Many of the photos I have used are of the survivors of Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge taken within months of the massacres. I could not use many of the research photos I found. They are too disturbing."  - MyMoppet52

Stolen Land Lyrics:

From Tierra del Fuego to Ungava Bay
The history of betrayal continues to today
The spirit of Almighty Voice, the ghost of Anna Mae
Call like thunder from the mountains -- you can hear them say It's a stolen land

Apartheid in Arizona, slaughter in Brazil
If bullets don't get good PR there's other ways to kill
Kidnap all the children, put 'em in a foreign system
Bring them up in no-man's land where no one really wants them
It's a stolen land

Stolen land -- but it's all we've got
Stolen land -- and there's no going back
Stolen land -- and we'll never forget
Stolen land -- and we're not through yet

In my mind I catch a picture -- big black raven in the sky
Looking at the ocean -- sail reflected in black eye --
Sail as white as heroin, white like weathered bones --
Rum and guns and smallpox gonna change the face of home
In this stolen land...

If you're like me you'd like to think we've learned from our mistakes
Enough to know we can't play god with others' lives at stake
So now we've all discovered the world wasn't only made for whites
What step are you gonna take to try and set things right
In this stolen land

Stolen land -- but it's all we've got
Stolen land -- and there's no going back
Stolen land -- and we'll never forget
Stolen land -- and we're not through yet

by Bruce Cockburn 1987

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paul McCartney Performs on Jimmy Kimmel Live

I was delighted to watch Paul McCartney perform his new single, "New," on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night. He also performed Lady Madonna. After the show ended, I listened to the rest of the live concert being streamed on My Space. Among the songs he performed were Band on the Run, Back in the USSR, and Hey Jude. Paul still has it, he is my favorite musician!

Below are links to the interview and performances from last night's show.

Paul's new single, "New."

Paul performs Lady Madonna

Part 1 Paul's recent experience touring and his relationship with the fans

Part 2 about meeting Elvis

Part 3 discussing new album and working at Abbey Road studio and the first song Paul and John wrote (I Saw her Standing There).


Friday, September 13, 2013

Paul McCartney's New Album, New Single, New Video, "NEW"

Paul McCartney has a new CD coming out October 15th, called New. The title track is the lead off single, and is available on iTunes, and on Youtube now.
Paul has revealed the tracklisting for his forthcoming album 'NEW':

1. Save Us
2. Alligator
3. On My Way to Work
4. Queenie Eye
5. Early Days
6. New
7. Appreciate
8. Everybody Out There
9. Hosanna
10. I Can Bet
11. Looking At Her
12. Road

Check out the full details of the album - including who produced each track - at

Pre-order your copy of 'NEW':

Which song are you most looking forwards to hearing?


Last month, whilst getting ready to go on stage in Regina, Paul was caught on camera performing an impromptu version of 'New'. This quickly turned into an acoustic performance when Paul was joined by the rest of his band for a run-through of the song.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Attacks on the Obamas

I think some people, both on the left and right, absolutely hate the Obamas. If people want to criticize the President’s policies on drones, Syria, the banking industry, and be prosecutorial about it, be my guest. But the viciousness and vitriol I have seen aimed at this couple since 2008 (sometimes from people calling themselves “Christians” ) is appalling. I am sick of these attacks: calling the president a Muslim when he is clearly a Christian (as though it would be something evil if he was), accusing him of supporting Al-Queda; insisting he wasn’t born in the USA; chastising the first lady for encouraging healthy behavior and eating habits. These kind of attacks only come from one source: the evil one, and hate; and yes, for some people at least, their racist hearts. And don’t you dare call yourself a “Christian” in the same breath around me while saying these things.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Update and Changes on Lance's Blog

Dear friends,

I have not posted recently but I hope to post more in the weeks ahead.

I am simplifying my blog a little bit. I am in the process of cleaning up my blog, removing posts and simplifying the layout. I am probably not going to do any more reposts, only original material (although I will continue to post music videos).

I am narrowing my focus to music and occasional social commentary, but no partisan political offerings.

I have created a separate blog for my own poetry.

I have already created a separate blog for my religious interests, which will focus mostly on my practice as an Anglican ( ).

To those who have followed me, thank you very much. I appreciate your readership.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Free Angela! DVD Release August 20!

Source: Shadow and Act- On Cinema of the African Diaspora

Codeblack Films released the doc on April 5th, theatrically in the USA, in a deal that also includes BET's involvement - suggesting that the network will likely premiere the film on broadcast TV later.
It's also played overseas - in France, to start.

If you missed it during its theatrical run, look for it on DVD on August 20, when it'll be released on that format.
Director Shola Lynch's Free Angela & All Political Prisoners is described as:

... a feature-length documentary about Angela Davis and the high stakes crime, political movement, and trial that catapults the 26 year-old newly appointed philosophy professor at the University of California at Los Angeles into a seventies revolutionary political icon. Nearly forty years later, and for the first time, Angela Davis speaks frankly about the actions that branded her as a terrorist and simultaneously spurred a worldwide political movement for her freedom.
I screened the film last fall, while it was at TIFF, and reviewed it (read that review HERE if you missed it). Zeinabu Davis also interviewed director Lynch earlier this year; read that interview HERE.

Watch a clip from the film below in which Davis talks about becoming a symbol of the political movement she was a part of, as well as a target, and how that changed her life:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

John and Mick and the Dirty Mac Band

Some white boys blues- here is John and Mick during filming of the Rolling Stone’s Rock and Roll Circus in 1968. In the history of Pop music, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are the two greatest groups (the Who completing the Triumvirate of the greatest Rock Bands, which also happen to be my personal 3 faves), and John Lennon and Mick Jagger are leaders and chief songwriters for these two bands. John appeared on the Rock and Roll Circus show and performed Yer Blues from the White Album. He was joined by Yoko, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Mitch Mitchell in a one-time super group called the Dirty Mac. Also on the show were the Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, and Marriane Faithful.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In Honor of Linda McCartney: 15 Years after her passing

LINDA McCARTNEY passed away 15 years ago today. In honor of her brilliant life as a musician, photographer, activist, wife and mother, here are two of the greatest love songs written for her by her husband Paul. Maybe I'm Amazed, performed live during the 1976 WINGS Over America Tour; and My Love, performed live by Paul, Linda and the Paul McCartney Band in the historic Ed Sullivan theater in December 1992, right before the February 11 1993 release of the Off the Ground CD.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Beatle's First LP released 50 years ago today- Please Please Me

50 Years Ago Today : 22nd March 1963; Please Please Me is the debut album by the English rock band the Beatles. Parlophone rush-released the album on 22 March 1963 in the United Kingdom to capitalise on the success of singles "Please Please Me" (No. 1 on most lists but only No. 2 on Record Retailer) and "Love Me Do" (No. 17). The album was recorded in a single day on a two-track recorder. After the group cut the song Please Please Me, legend has it that George Martin told the group, "gentleman, you have just recorded your first number one single."

Of the album's fourteen songs, eight were written by Lennon–McCartney (...originally credited "McCartney–Lennon"), early evidence of what Rolling Stone later called "[their invention of] the idea of the self-contained rock band, writing their own hits and playing their own instruments".

The American version of the LP went under the title of Introducing the Beatles, and was released by a Chicago-based R&B and Gospel label, VeeJay Records. The American version left off PS I love You and Love Me Do, but some editions of the LP Left off Please Please Me and Ask Me Why instead. That album had a brisk-selling counterfeit in the 1970's that has value for collectors in its own right.

Here is the entire Please Please Me album on Youtube:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society Tour Resumes

Esperanza Spalding resumes her Radio Music Society tour March 13th in Singapore, and returning to the United States and Canada April 5th starting with Toronto and Ann Arbor. I caught her show September 30th here in Minneapolis, and it Esperanza and the Radio Music Society put on a terrific show. You may read my review here.

Esperanza's Radio Music Society CD and tour have been highly succesful. The CD entered the Billboard Top 200 Album charts at #10, an accomplishment for a Jazz album. Esperanza won two Grammy's this year with Radio Music Society CD, one for Best Jazz Vocal Album, the other for Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocals for the song City of Roses from the CD. Esperanza was chosen one of the top four bassists in both the electric and acoustic category in JazzTimes Magazine, as well as one of the top four female vocalist.

During this tour, Esperanza is supporting the Innocence Project, which seeks to exonnerate people wrongfully convicted. The Innocence Project seeks reforms in the criminal justice system, and to use DNA evidence to overturn wrongful convictions.

Radio Music Society wants you to tune in to The Innocence Project.
A portion from the sale of the merchandise on our North American fall tour through October will be donated to this very worthy organization
Tour: Radio Music Society
03/13/13SingaporeEsplanade Theatre on the BaySingapore
03/15/13WanchaiHong Kong Arts FestivalHong Kong
03/16/13WanchaiHong Kong Arts FestivalHong Kong
03/19/13TokyoOrchard Hall/BunkamuraJapan
04/05/13Toronto, ONMassey HallCanada
04/06/13Ann Arbor, MIMichigan TheaterUnited States
04/07/13ClevelandPalace TheatreUnited States
04/09/13Reading, PABerks Jazz FestivalUnited States
Tour: Wayne Shorter Quartet with Esperanza Spalding
04/12/13NashvilleNashville SymphonyUnited States
Tour: Radio Music Society
04/14/13Knoxville, TNTennessee TheaterUnited States
04/17/13Naples, FLPhilharmonic Center For The ArtsUnited States
04/19/13Miami, FLKnight Concert HallUnited States
04/20/13Stuart, FLLyric TheatreUnited States
04/22/13Washington, DCWarner TheatreUnited States
04/24/13Wilmington, DEGrand Opera HouseUnited States
04/25/13Storrs, CTJorgensen Center for the Performing ArsUnited States
04/26/13Morristown, NJMayo Performing Arts CenterUnited States
06/22/13VictoriaRoyal TheatreCanada
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS
06/23/13VancouverVogue TheatreCanada
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS
06/25/13EdmontonFrancis Winspear Centre for MusicCanada
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS
06/26/13CalgaryEpcor Centre for the Performing ArtsCanada
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS
08/03/13NewportFort Adams Park (Newport Jazz Festival)United States
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS
08/04/13LenoxTanglewood Seiji Ozawa HallUnited States
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS
08/04/13LenoxTanglewood Seiji Ozawa HallUnited States
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS
08/31/13CuraçaoCuraçao North Sea Jazz FestivalSaint Lucia
Time: 7:30pm. BUY TICKETS

Source: Radio Music Society Tour 

Promo Video for Radio Music Society Tour: