This weekend sees the start of the annual European Week Against Racism and as ever the musical side of events in Ireland are being spearheaded by Love Music Hate Racism, who are hosting a special evening at Le Cirke on Dame Street in Dublin on Saturday night – featuring live bands, MCs and DJs. We spoke to LMHR’s Kurt about the coming week, the campaign here in Ireland and the gig on 13th…
What are the aims of European Week Against Racism?
40 years ago, 69 anti-apartheid demonstrators in Sharpeville, South-Africa were shot dead by police. March 21st was declared International Day for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by the General Assembly of the United Nations as a result of this. During the annual European-wide Action Week, which centers around 21 March, thousands of people actively engage themselves for tolerance, equal rights and celebrate the diversity of Europe.
How does the campaign effect Ireland?
Racism is a taboo in Ireland. When we were starting to put together LMHR in Dublin , the vast majority of people I spoke to, including well known Dublin musicians all said, ‘but sure…there is no racism in Ireland’. Well, it’s a year later and the same people I spoke to have are now telling me they that they were wrong. Arson attacks on family homes and businesses have occurred north and south of the border.And there are some ridiculous rumors flying around about Dept of Social Welfare paying for Taxi plates for Africans, Asylum seekers getting ”socializing money” …the list goes on.
EWAR should affect this country by getting people to realize that racism does exist here and it’s up to us to not be drawn into that way of thinking.Immigrants did not cause this downturn to why should we turn around ,blame them and use them as scape goats.We have to challenge people on how they see things here.
Is LMHR achieving its aims here?
Somewhere down the line we hope there won’t be a need for anti-racism organizations.And that may take quite some time.One of our aims is for LMHR to be used by other groups as a tool to promote the anti-racism message and the best example of this is the gig that’s coming up on Saturday where we’re kicking off EWAR ’10 and working with European Network Against Racism, Show Racism the Red Card and Integrating Ireland. Also, we have had groups of people put on their own events in other parts of the country which have been successful. A lot done,a lot more to do!
How has the music industry got behind you?
Some elements have gotten behind us. Some haven’t. We’re not even a year old and already we’re starting to see members of the public put on their own LMHR events in different parts of the country and we have received a good response from the pubic. If elements of the Industry don’t think it’s important there’s nothing we can do about. There is no doubt in my mind that the attitude will change if we continue to see violent attacks int his country. The media are partly to blame for people’s attitude too.I mean, most people are not aware that a family were burnt out of their home late last year and just a couple of weeks ago there was an arson attack on a business. If the mainstream media won’t shed light on it, how can the industry know about it?
Tell us about the gig on 13th?
All I can say is there is something for everyone. Everyone who’s working on this, from the musicians to the bar staff who’ll be working on the the night are buzzing! It’s shaping up to be a really fantastic night and I’m not just saying that because we’re putting it on. The Worries Outernational Crew have the basement all night and they’ll be sure to get the place going with Reggae, Dubstep and Dancehall styles not to mention special guests. Groovalizacion of course will be on the ground floor playing underground dancefloor-friendly bass sounds from Latin America, Africa, Middle East to the Balkans.
Richbea will also be rising the temp a little with funk, soul and disco re-edits. Punky Reggae Party kind of speaks for it’s self.And on the top floor Gavin Mee will be kicking off the night with his songs that tell stories of his travels around the world, followed by 3 piece rock act KaTet who never fail to grab the crowd by the ears and pull them closer. Then Zealots take over with their intoxicating, haunting electro-rock numbers followed by North Strand Kontra Band who will turn the whole place into a Balkan Ceili!! All this hosted by Cah-44, our MC for the night who will be also mixing it up with some spoken word. It kicks off at 9pm and will straight through til 3am. It’s a real celebration of music and diversity that should be be a regular event here in Dublin at least.
What plans do you have for 2010?
We’re just going to keep going the way we have been for the last 9 months. Our three main aims will always be to encourage people across the country to put on LMHR events and incorporate the minorities and majorities by working together and addressing local issues; to work together with other groups on campaigns such as European Week Against Racism; and of course, to get people to speak out against racism when it rears its ugly head. We want to get more people involved, put on more events and get more people talking.
For more information on how to get involved with Love Music Hate Racism Ireland email firstname.lastname@example.org.