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Truth to Power - Part II
The Eyes of the world are watching now...
“To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”- Nelson Mandela
This truth to power song by Peter Gabriel has been a favorite since I saw the film, “Cry Freedom” back in 1988. I loved the first version of it, as well as Gabriel’s subsequent live performance in Johannesburg in 2014. The latest, and equally wonderful version, was recorded for “Playing for Change” in 2021 in honor of Black History Month.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the backstory, Steve Biko was a South African anti-apartheid activist who was beaten to death in police custody on September 12, 1977. The song is a musical eulogy. I will include all three versions below.
The thing that struck me when I found the “Playing for Change” version was how much and yet how little things have changed. Human beings are still trying to pretend that skin color, race, and religion make some better than others and to enforce those perceptions through violence and all kinds of discriminatory laws and practices. It’s a bit disheartening to be honest.
Biko by Peter Gabriel
The song was composed and produced in 1979. It was banned in South Africa, but Gabriel performed it everywhere in the world until he finally got the chance to sing it in South Africa.
Biko by Peter Gabriel: Recorded live in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2014 at a concert to fight HIV/AIDS.,
Biko recorded by Peter Gabriel for “Playing for Change” https://playingforchange.com/videos/biko-around-the-world/
So tell me…
Were you familiar with the song and if so when did you first hear it?
Do you feel the song still has relevance today?
How do you feel about the three versions?
Copyright 2021 by Jean Ball. All Rights Reserved.