Socialism lives... in Sheffield

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The Independent Culture
The power of music and song in struggles for equality and justice is being celebrated this weekend in Sheffield, with a festival entitled Raise Your Banners!, organised by Sheffield Socialist Choir. It coincides with the 80th anniversary of the death of Joe Hill (catchphrase: "Don't mourn - organise"), a Swedish-American member of the International Workers of the World, who popularised protest singing in the English-speaking world and was executed on trumped-up murder charges in Salt Lake City in 1915. But the festival - which counts among its patrons such figures as Tony Benn MP - isn't about nostalgia for the great names of the past, rejoicing as it does in the participation of such modern-day legends as Labi Siffre, who appears tonight at City Hall (8.30pm) together with Abdul Tee-Jay's Rokoto and the Ju Ju World Music Disco. Among the numerous other attractions will be Attila the Stockbroker riffing on themes such as "Long Live the Zen Stalinist International!" (today 12.30pm at the Lescar, Sharrowvale Rd); showings of Ken Loach's Spanish Civil War film Land and Freedom, left (today 3pm & Sun 6pm, The Showroom); a forum entitled "What is Political Song?" chaired by Robin Denselow (today 4.15pm, Hallam University); and a workshop in Appalachian clog-dancing (today 10am, Hallam University). The streets will be filled with choirs throughout the weekend, and Sheffield will be one of the few public places you can take your beaten-up old acoustic guitar along to, and not be scowled upon as a relic of the hippy underclass. Who knows - you might even be invited to join in the fun.

Full info (0114 253 4453)

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