Trump up the volume

Captain Ska
Captain Ska

Dave Randall on music to greet President Trump

It’s not only football and the weather that has heated up in recent weeks, but political protest too. 50,000 marched for the NHS last month and today (13 July) thousands more will bring central London to a standstill to mark their opposition to US President Donald Trump.

Many musicians are among those who abhor his policies, misogyny and racism. From the stages of last year’s magnificent women’s marches artists including Madonna, Alicia Keys, Lilly Allen, Janelle Monáe and Sleater-Kinney delivered performances and speeches, while improvised chants and songs reverberated on the streets.

In both Washington and London thousands hollered “Small hands, small feet; All he does is tweet, tweet, tweet” while in New York church bells rang out Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romanc

The President’s policies have been lambasted by Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Childish Gambino, Arcade Fire, Questlove, Deadmau5, Bat for Lashes, John Legend, Queens Of The Stone Age, Eminem, Grimes, Sia and many others.

These musicians join a proud tradition. Woody Guthrie was the first artist to challenge a chump called Trump. In 1950, on moving to a Coney Island apartment block, he was dismayed by the racist policies of his landlord Fred C. Trump – Donald’s dad. Woody penned the following poem:

I suppose
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project

In recent years Londoners Captain SKA have provided just the right remix for every political occasion. They recently released a song in solidarity with the Windrush generation and at the last election their tune Liar Liar denouncing Theresa May reached number 4 in the charts.

A new version targeting Trump has been recorded in time for his visit. Brixtonians can catch a live performance when the band bring their protest party to the Hootananny.

I asked bandleader Jake Painter what he hoped to achieve with the song.

Liar Liar has taken on a life of its own. I’ve had over 2,000 messages asking me to do a Trump version, but it was only when I read a fact-check report by the Washington Post listing over 3,200 lies that Trump has publicly told that I decided to do it.

“I think it’s really important for music to get these points across. Liar Liar is a simple song that a two-year-old could sing.

“There’s been a lot of really good music written about Trump, but it tends to be a little bit more subtle.

“I just thought: this is the biggest liar the world has seen in a long time, so the song couldn’t be more appropriate.”

Join the Together Against Trump rally in Trafalgar Square at 5pm on Friday 13 July and Captain SKA’s protest party at the Hootananny on Friday 20 July.

Dave Randall is a musician and author of Sound System: The Political Power of Music.