Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Rocking the State

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Ramet, Sabrina Petra ed. Rocking the State: Rock Music and Politics in Eastern Europe and Russia. Boulder: Westview Press, 1994.

In Rocking the State, Sabrina Ramet compiles a comprehensive account of the socio-political effects of music in the last several decades of communist rule in the Eastern Bloc (with the exception of Albania and Romania which had no political music scene to speak of) and the Soviet Union.  The essays in Rocking the State revolve around the conflicts between proponents of a non-official youth culture and the cultural-commissars of the communist states.  Rocking the State is an appropriate follow up to A Carnival of Revolution as they both center on the destabilizing effects of youth-movements on their respective regimes.  Ramet and her contributors take their analysis of the youth driven musical movements further than the introduction provided by Kenney, addressing the trajectory of music through the eighties into the early nineties from an unofficial catalyst for political and social change into the arena of commodity rock.  Alex Kan and Nick Hayes clearly resent this metamorphosis asking: “Does anybody care if Poles can Rock and Roll with the best of Michael Bolton?” (53) (more…)

D.C. band Soulside in Poland during 1989

Friday, November 16th, 2007

For anyone who is interested, I found some footage of one of my favorite punk bands from D.C., Soulside. According to the clip, they were the first U.S. band to ever play in three different cities in Poland. This was all filmed before the fall of Communism. Enjoy!

The Plastic People in DC

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Hi everyone:

The Plastic People of the Universe will be playing in D.C. on the night of September 25 at the Black Cat. Who are the Plastic People and why should you care? Back in the early 1970s, the Plastic People were one of the top rock and roll acts in Czechoslovakia and as their music became more subversive (in the eyes of the regime) they found it more and more difficult to find venues to perform. Several times they were arrested for attempting to perform without official permits from the state authorities. Finally, in 1976 they were sent to jail and their trial and sentencing was the event that motivated the dissident playwright Vaclav Havel and several others to form a group later known as Charter 77.

Charter 77 became one of the better known dissident groups in Czechoslovakia and a number of the prominent “Chartists” (signers of the group’s protest petition) ended up as leaders in the non-Communist Czechoslovak government in late 1989 and early 1990.

So, this band is a direct connection to the events of the 70’s and 80’s in Communist Czechoslovakia. Their music is Zappa-inspired, so be forewarned, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you want to see who turns out to see these aging rockers, go to the show and get a good seat.

More on the Plastic People can be found in Wikipedia.