- Audio Source
- Download E Pluribus Unum
Words ~Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin
Music ~ Sacco E. Vanzetti
Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin (born in 1944) is one of the founding members of The Last Poets, a group of poets and musicians that evolved in the 1960's out
of the Harlem Writers Workshop in New York City.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York and in his earlier career he used the names Lightnin' Rod and Alafia Pudim. He is often dubbed "The Grandfather of Rap".
A devout Muslim, poet, acupuncturist, and martial art exponent, he was incarcerated and was given early release on condition that he join the US Army, where he trained as a paratrooper but was imprisoned again within the Army for refusing to salute the Flag. He did, however, receive an honorable discharge and went to work for a bank on Wall Street. It was his experience there that spawned his poem "E Pluribus Unum." Jalal converted to Islam and learned to spiel, an early form of rap, which he called "spoagraphics" or "spoken pictures". It was also known as toasting, which was a form of rhythmic spoken poetry accompanied by ad hoc percussion by prison inmates.
Words ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
Music ~ Arcangelo Corelli and Sacco E. Vanzetti
Millay was one of many American writers stirred to action on behalf of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrant working men and anarchists who were found guilty of a robbery and murder at a shoe factory near Boston. It was widely believed that the men were innocent of the crimes, and were sentenced to death because they were anarchists and foreigners. After several years of appeals, their execution date was set in 1927 for August 12. Millay was arrested for picketing the State House in Boston on August 10 along with Dorothy Parker and John Dos Passos. Protests worldwide succeeded in getting the execution date moved to August 24. Millay was able to use her prominence as a poet to gain publicity, a measure of influence regarding the case, and to get her poem "Justice Denied in Massachusetts" published in The New York Times on August 22. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed at midnight on August 24, 1927. The event marked a watershed for artists and intellectuals, many of whom lost faith in the American justice system.
Words ~ Allen Ginsberg
Music ~ Yavuz, a traditional Turkish melody, adapted by Sacco E. Vanzetti
Renowned poet, world traveler, spiritual seeker, founding member of a major literary movement, champion of human and civil rights, photographer and songwriter, political gadfly, teacher and co-founder of a poetics school, Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) defied simple classification. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Ginsberg was one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture that soon would follow. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression. Known for his prodigious energy, Ginsberg labored tirelessly to promote not only his own work, but also the writings of Kerouac, Burroughs, and many others associated with the Beat Generation, including Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady. He spent his nearly seventy-one years trying to earn wisdom the way others attempt to acquire wealth; possessions meant little. He lived modestly, buying his clothing in second-hand stores and residing in downscale apartments in New York’s East Village. He donated much of his income to the Committee on Poetry, a non-profit organization that he organized to assist struggling artists and writers.
Words ~ Jayne Cortez
Music ~ Sacco E. Vanzetti
Jayne Cortez (May 10, 1934 – December 28, 2012) was an African-American poet, activist, small press publisher and spoken-word performance artist whose voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic and dynamic innovations in lyricism and visceral sound. Her writing is part of the canon of the Black Arts Movement. The performers, poets and artists with whom Jayne Cortez aligned herself reflected the socio-political and cultural elements to which she attached the greatest importance. Those with whom she identified included Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Langston Hughes, Aimé Césaire, Léon Damas, Christopher Okigbo, Henry Dumas, Amiri Baraka, Richard Wright, Ornette Coleman, and sculptor Melvin Edwards. Her words were usually written, chanted, and spoken in rhythmic repetition that resembled the intricate, tactile language of African and Caribbean drumming. In 1964 founded the Watts Repertory Theater Company, for which she served as artistic director until 1970. Active in the struggle for Civil Rights, she strongly advocated using art as a vehicle to push political causes, with her work being used to register black voters in Mississippi in the early 1960s. In 1972, she founded Bola Press, a publishing company for her recordings.
Words ~ Sun Ra
Music ~ based on “Bit Her” by Pheeroan akLaff, adapted by Sacco E. Vanzetti
Sun Ra (Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra; May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993), born in Birmingham, Alabama, was a prolific jazz composer, band-leader,
piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy,"
musical compositions and performances. Due to Sun Ra's eclectic music and unorthodox lifestyle, jazz critic Scott Yanow said, "Sun Ra was probably the most controversial,"
of jazz musicians. Sun Ra developed a complex persona using "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism. He preached awareness and peace
above all. From the mid-1950s to his death, Sun Ra led "The Arkestra," an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up, although certain core members remained
with the group through its various incarnations. His music ranged from keyboard solos to big bands of over 30 musicians and touched on virtually the entire history of jazz,
from ragtime to swing music, from bebop
to free jazz. He also used free improvisation and was one of the early musicians to make extensive use of electronic keyboards. Sun Ra was explicitly asserting a continuity
with the ignored jazz tradition: "They tried to fool you, now I got to school you, about jazz, all about jazz," he rapped, framing the inclusion of pieces by Fletcher
Henderson and Jelly Roll Morton.
Pheeroan akLaff (born January 27, 1955) is an American jazz drummer. Pheeroan akLaff began playing in his hometown of Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan with Travis Biggs, Ars Nova, The Ebony Set, The Last Days, and Rod Lumpkin, and recorded with Major Lansky. He has developed a longstanding association with Oliver Lake, which included writing for their fusion ensemble, Jump Up. His performance and recorded history includes works with Andrew Hill, Cecil Taylor, Reggie Workman and many others. He is co-founder of Seed Artists Inc. of Brooklyn 2006. He is currently a Wesleyan University music teacher.
Words ~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti from the collection “A Coney Island of the Mind”
Music ~ Sacco E. Vanzetti
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is an American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. Soon after settling in San Francisco in 1950, Ferlinghetti met the poet Kenneth Rexroth, whose concepts of philosophical anarchism influenced his political development. A critic of U.S. foreign policy, Ferlinghetti has taken a stand against totalitarianism and war. “If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic. You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words....”
Words ~ from an anonymous letter
Music ~ Sacco E. Vanzetti
Inspired by Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra album, "The Ballad of the Fallen," which was the winner of Down Beat's 1984 Critic's Poll as Best Album of 1983. "The words to that song come from a poem that was found on the body of a student killed in one of the uprisings at the University in San Salvador," said Mr. Haden. "It's become almost a national anthem for their movement."
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Panrui, Honora Fergusson and Fred Neumann.
MANAGEMENT: Monmouth Junction Confederazione Musica di Avanti Garde.
Engineering, Arrangements, Documentation, and Artistic Direction:
Mario Buddha for DawgBongo Networks.
Additional Programming: Brian Cowell, Dave Weiser, and SVG from cunka.com.
Support and Inspiration: Dean and Clora Acquaviva, Robert Margolis and Lisa Grunberger, Mark and KT Smith, WPRB, Gary Eisenberg, and Jerry Gordon.
Avant Guardian Angels by Sacco E. Vanzetti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://sv.mjcmag.org.