Friday, June 12, 2009

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Singing It and Praying It; Living It and Saying It

Something very special this evening for Music Night at the Wild Reed – it’s the new music video for Buffy Sainte-Marie’s song “No, No Keshagesh,” taken from her 2008 album Running for the Drum.

One of the intentions that I consistently pray for is that each one of us may be open to embodying the paradigm shift in consciousness that many believe humanity is currently in the midst of. It’s a shift, a movement, from greed to justice, from apathy to compassion, and from mindless consumption to sustainable growth.

Artist, activist, and educator Buffy Sainte Marie has been embodying this shift in consciousness for decades, and in doing so has been an inspiration to many. Her song “No, No Keshagesh” is both a rousing anthem for a new way of being in the world and a stinging critique of a paradigm to which more and more people are saying “No!” - due to its inherent injustice, violence, and destructiveness of the entire planet.

Buffy notes in the liner notes of Running for the Drum that keshagesh means “Greedy Guts . . . It’s what you call a little puppy who eats his own and then wants everybody else’s.” The term is appropriately employed as a metaphor for corporate greed in Buffy’s powerful “No, No Keshagesh” –
“Mister Greed, I think your time has come; I’m gonna sing it and pray it and live it and say it, singing: No, No Keshagesh you can’t do that no more . . .”

I’m with you, Buffy. I’m with you.

I never saw so many business suits Never knew a dollar sign could look so cute Never knew a junkie with a money jones They singing Who’s sellin’ Park Place? Who’s buying Boardwalk? These old men they make their dirty deals Go in the back room and see what they can steal Talk about your beautiful for spacious skies It’s about uranium; it’s about the water rights Got Mother Nature on a luncheon plate They carve her up and call it real estate Want all the resources and all of the land They make a war over it; blow things up for it The reservation out at Poverty Row There’s something cooking and the lights are low Somebody trying to save our mother earth I’m gonna help ’em to save it and sing it and pray it, singing . . . No, no Keshagesh, you can’t do that no more! Old Columbus he was looking good When he got lost in our neighborhood Garden of Eden right before his eyes Now it’s all spyware; now it’s all income tax Old Brother Midas looking hungry today What he can’t buy he’ll get some other way Send in the troopers in the natives resist Old, old story boys; that’s how ya do it, boys Look at these people, Lord, they’re on a roll Got to have it all; got to have complete control Want all the resources and all of the land They break the law for it; blow things up for it While all our champions are off in the war Their final rip-off here at home is on Mister Greed, I think your time has come I’m gonna sing it and pray it and live it and say it, singing . . . No, no Keshagesh, you can’t do that no more!
“No, No Keshagesh” is by no means the first time that Buffy Sainte-Marie has addressed the issue of corporate greed. In 1992, for instance, seven years before the “Battle in Seattle,” she recorded “Priests of the Golden Bull,” in which she sang knowingly of the threats to democracy, human life, and the environment posed by corporate-led globalization. “Priests of the Golden Bull” can be heard on Buffy’s album Coincidence and Likely Stories, as can “The Big Ones Get Away,” highlighted previously at The Wild Reed. Recommended Off-site Links: Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Official Website Buffy Sainte-Marie: Mouthbows to Cyberskins Buffy Sainte-Marie UK Buffy Sainte-Marie Tribute Site Buffy on Sesame Street Beyond Images of Women and Indians: Straight-talk from a Cree Icon - Brenda Norrell (Censored News, 1999/2008). A Review of Running for the Drum Previous artists featured on “Music Night at the Wild Reed”: The Church, Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield, Wall of Voodoo, Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy, Pink Floyd, Kate Ceberano, Judith Durham, Wendy Matthews, Buffy Sainte-Marie, 1927, Mavis Staples, Maxwell, Joan Baez, Tee Set, Darren Hayes, Wet, Wet, Wet, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Cruel Sea, Shirley Bassey, Loretta Lynn & Jack White, Foo Fighters, Jenny Morris, Kate Bush, Rufus Wainwright, and Dusty Springfield.

No comments: