Ten years before Nelly Stharre was born, Sam Cooke wrote, A Change is Gonna Come, and Bob Dylan penned, With God on our Side. Dylan’s protest song was a swift left hook to Christian pedagogy with its inbred nationalism and patriarchy and batty-eyed assumptions that America is the New Israel, and every state capital east of Utah, the New Jerusalem. Sam Cooke on the other hand, writing in 1964, was witnessing the civil rights’ tentative triumphs brought about by Martin Luther King, and wrote a soulful and hauntingly optimistic neo-inspirational.
The 60’s, even early 70’s, were heady times. They were rich, nitrogen rich with peace songs, protest songs, peace and love songs. Since then, overall, there has been a drought. Well, there was bound to be some burnout after the intensity, and with the Vietnam war finally coming to an ignoble close, (can any war come to a noble close?) there needed to be a time to exhale.
Still, while some progress was made–human rights more entrenched, falling Berlin wall—all the same tensions remain. These tensions that have spilled over and now, once again, we are mired in wars abroad and violence at home.
Can music, art, make a difference? Not moralistic art, but art from the heart, I believe, can. Like Michael Franti, Nelly Stharre (Star) is lighting some fires. Its refreshing to see an artist who lives her dreads. For what I hear, is that for all her charm she’s something of a Dominican Terrier, giving no quarter, refusing to bow to career enhancing pressures. As a result she is relatively unknown outside of French speaking Caribbean. However, (how I came to hear about her) because of her stand she has been invited to be part of the United Nations Secretary General’s ‘Unite to End Violence Against Women’ campaign. One among many of her passions.
And so here for your Sunday edification, if not emolument, is some peace and love…
As Sam Cooke sang, “It’s been a long time coming, but a change is gonna come.” Nelly Stharre, for one, is doing her part.