Annabelle Chvostek’s latest release ‘Rise‘ is certainly no wolf in sheep’s clothing, from the album’s title to Glenn Gears powerful red revolutionary inspired album cover which features a silhouetted bird the writing is clearly on the wall. The album celebrates the peaceful grassroots rising in the form of ‘Occupy’ both in the Ex-Wailin’ Jennys singer’s home country of Canada where students in Quebec successfuly halted a rise in tuition fees to those across the rest of world. Many of the protests have been met by violent opposition from authorities which spurred Annabelle to release Rise, a rally cry to rise above all the violent opposition and stick together.
Tracks include a great cover of Peter Tosh’s ‘Equal Rights‘ as well as some dance inducing numbers that will hold off the winter chill for those camped out in the cold such as the ‘G20 song’.
As protest albums go this is a great release. It may have something to do with its celebratory nature which, whatever your view, make this an enjoyable album. The songs such as ‘Foxtail‘ have an anthemic quality which are hard to resist, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its more reflective moments. The title track ‘Rise‘ tackles corporate greed and freedom through a tale that cleverly moves from the slow tempo of the downtrodden to rising rage spurred on through dignity and the fight back:
Annabelle sounds very empowered on this release, nothing like her heartfelt 2008 release ‘Resilient’. Protest songs have long been seen as a difficult pill to swallow, for many they are met with mixed emotions which often come from one of two extremes. Billie Holiday‘s ‘Strange Fruit’ was met with a mix of praise and complete outrage back in 1939, the lynching of African Americans was something that some preferred not to hear in their music. Folk music is no stranger to songs that serve a political issue and align themselves with the underdog. In Dorian Lynskey‘s book ‘33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs‘ she explores the history of protest song in pop and why artists take the decision to release such songs…she points out that ‘in many ways writing a protest song is asking for trouble, and it’s this sense of jeopardy which gives the form its vitality’. You only need to read Annabelle’s journal to appreciate this album is borne out of, concern, anger and sincere emotion.
from her journal:
And so, it is a slow process, this change. We want a non-violent world, and yet this non-violent movement faces violence, again and again: fear, money, a few greedy entities with a whole lot of power and no problem abusing it. We keep going, keep moving, keep finding ways, keep loving, keep finding ground to relax, keep stripping away the unnecessary shackles, keep unlocking truths, keep discovering the beauty in simplicity, keep having fun, supporting, envisioning, growing, learning to share despite bumping up against our own brainwashing.
Personally, I love ‘RISE’…ONWARDS and UPWARDS!
For Kindle try Dorian Lynskey’s 33 Revolutions Per Minute