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Rhiannon Giddens Performs at OWS

Last night, Olga and I went to see Mike Daisy's current monologue, The Agony and the Exstasy of Steve Jobs at the Marinson/Public Theater. It was astounding and powerful, and I will have much to say about it later. Afterwards, we went downstairs to Joe's Pub to catch the last few songs by Rhiannon Giddens & Sxip Shirey. We'd planned to see the whole show, but Mike Daisy either started late or ran long. Rhiannon sang the penultimate song of the show solo. She brought out a lute or guitar made from a gourd, and she described the genesis of the new song as she tried to tune her instrument. It didn't go well, and she decided to sing it a capella.  I'm so glad the instrument wasn't cooperating. After the show, she and Sxip went to the OWS demonstration where she performed it again. Again, a capella, but this time with no amplification. Olga and I were standing right behind Rhiannon, and Olga recorded that second performance on her phone. Here is our best attempt at transcribing the lyrics:

Oh, listen all you people
my heart is filled with trouble
I don't know what is wrong
my heart is filled with trouble
I've got trouble on my mind
for what I see around me 
is getting worse all the time
the balance of the world it seems
is almost dead and gone
common cause and decency
are severed one by one
the rich keep getting richer
and the poor get poorer too
the wealth of the many 
in the hands of the few
they act like towering princes
we're at the their beck and call
a dozen cars, a private jet
with our backs against the wall
they live their flights of fantasy
while we struggle just to eat
instead of living simply
that we might simply be
don't look to politicians
to even up the score
don't look for world leaders 
to do any more
don't look for corporations
to lend a helping hand
they've helped themselves enough
and now it's time to take a stand
listen now my people
to what I have to say
I do not mean to trouble you
or bother you today
I only want to sing about
as all people want to see *
if we want it any different
it's up to you and me



* We probably got this line wrong. It doesn't seem to fit, but crowd and wind noise made this bit particularly impenetrable. Even so, the message of the song remains powerful and timely. I hope to get the recording from the recording at Joe's Pub for use on next week's C-Realm. I'll use that to correct this entry.

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