Thursday, 12 September 2013

Grace Petrie

One of my highlights and new discoveries at Greenbelt this year was the singer Grace Petrie. Her performance was excellent, and really enjoyable. But there was another reason why I was impressed.

She is a protest singer, in the style of Billy Bragg and the like. Well actually, there is no real "the like", which is the problem. We do not have any real political protest singers today, who are well known enough to get played and so get their message out to many people. Grace is not quite there yet, but nearly, having had some exposure on BBC 6 Music. Her message is one that we all need to hear, because music - like comedy - is a good way to spread a message.

On my first evening at Greenbelt, I spoke to a couple of people and one question came up which was "why are there no controversial political speakers at Greenbelt? Which there were not really, although there have been in the past. As we discussed, one of the problems is finding the people who are making spiritual political statements - and there are none. After that discussion, it was good to hear that there are those making their political mark - and those who are prepared to appear at a spiritual gathering like Greenbelt.

She is an engaging person, someone who is clearly passionate about what she says and does. She also does love songs, but not lovely sweet ones, of course. She has her head screwed on, is not an idealist, which makes her protest songs even better, because they are not dreaming of a supposed ideal - she is quite realistic about life. But she is angry and hurt, and that comes over in her music.

Anyway - that is enough - check her out, listen to her, go and see her, support her, partly because we need her voice in this country, but also because she is good, entertaining and fun.

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