Video: “The War on Trevor,” A Four-Part Anti-War Song by Sarah Gillespie

Regular readers may know that a friend of mine, the singer/songwriter Sarah Gillespie, has long taken an interest in tackling injustice, and regularly regales her audiences with the story of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay. This is a bold and commendable move in a world more generally characterized by the refusal of musicians either to engage with politics at all, or only to do so in a general “let’s make poverty history” kind of a way, which, although it may be worthwhile, is also uncontentious.

Championing an alleged “terror suspect” in Guantánamo is, however, a much more challenging stance, and one to be supported — and if any other musicians are reading this, who would like to be involved in campaigning to get Guantánamo closed, then please get in touch with me, as I am currently soliciting support for a video campaign to demand the closure of Guantánamo in January 2013, when the next President of the United States is inaugurated.

As I explained in an article last June, Sarah’s last  album, “In the Current Climate,” specifically featured a song inspired by Shaker Aamer, entitled, “How the West Was Won,” and Sarah has now taken her interest in current and contentious politics one step further with a beautiful, powerful, four-part, 15-minute anti-war song, “The War on Trevor,” which also deals with the post-9/11 hysteria regarding terrorism. Featuring variations on a theme by Joseph Haydn, “The War on Trevor” is available from Amazon here, and also on video below, in an excellent film made by Tali Atzmon — which is, by turns, and as required by the songs, fractured, poignant, and darkly funny. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: Sarah Gillespie Plays Her Song About Shaker Aamer, “How the West Was Won,” Live in London (with Gilad Atzmon)

So I count myself fortunate to live in the same neighbourhood as Sarah Gillespie, a wonderful singer/songwriter whose latest album, “In the Current Climate,” features a song about Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Sarah and I met a few years ago, when she let me know that she wanted to write a song about Guantánamo, and last February she came to see a screening at the BFI of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” the film I co-directed with Polly Nash, which tells the story of Shaker Aamer (as well as Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes, two other British residents released from Guantánamo), and which contributed to the creation of “How the West Was Won,” Sarah’s song about Shaker Aamer. Sarah’s review of the film is here.

Unlike far too many musicians, Sarah is not afraid to be politically aware. She is also articulate, as can be seen from her material, her political writings, her gigs for Palestine, and her choice of musical partners — she works with the Israeli-born British saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, who is one of the most sustained critics of Zionism in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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