John Ellis - Protest Songs

Published Wednesday 17th March 2021
John Ellis - Protest Songs
John Ellis - Protest Songs

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 169093-28971
LABEL: Independent
FORMAT: Digital Only Album
RELEASE DATE: 2013-12-12

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Culled from three previous releases, this collection of protest songs about the state of democracy in his native South African finds Durban-born singer/songwriter and former Tree63 frontman in a vociferous mood. Proceedings kick off with the no holds barred rant "A Luta Continua" ("the struggle continues") which tears several strips off the then South African president Jacob Zuma and his administration and sets the scene for a collection of perfectly executed and astute protestations against what his beloved country has become despite the abolition of apartheid. Ellis obviously has to tread a very fine line being a white South African suggesting "it's time for another liberation struggle" in the U2-like "Government Song" but - make no mistake - this is not an attack centred around race but instead a righteous growl about the state that his country finds itself in thanks to power-based shenanigans of high-ranking individuals who have arguably left the Rainbow Nation's people just as disadvantaged as they were in the days before Mandela was freed. Ellis is not afraid to be militant in his approach with "Soon There Will Be More Of Us" acknowledging that he and his comrades are at war with the establishment but a couple of more considered numbers, "Come Home" and "Wonderful Place", affectionately point towards South Africa's potential for greatness. Ellis is, of course, a fine and impassioned vocalist and this, with a supremely punchy musical backdrop and some bitingly good lyrics, allows him to put his points across with maximum impact. A fascinating article on the man's blog gives more detail on the thinking behind this brave release. We can but hope that when the pandemic is over this superb singer/songwriter, surely one of the best in Christendom, will return with an album as powerful as this one.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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