For this month’s Bandcamp Friday, artists including Yo La Tengo, Devendra Banhart, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and Andrew Bird have collaborated for a 20-song tribute Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America: Poems of these States 1965-1971 to celebrate the poetry collection’s 50th anniversary. The collaboration was for Bandcamp Friday, a monthly event put on by the digital music retailer where all proceeds from the day go to benefit musicians, producers and record labels who cannot benefit from live music.
Ginsberg was a New York-based poet and writer who became a staple of the Beat Generation throughout the latter half of the 1900s. The work of the Beat Generation was largely a post-modernist rejection of materialism and standard narrative values, with an emphasis on liberation, exploration, and experimentation. Ginsberg, a Buddhist, spent much of his career studying Eastern religious disciplines, writing and advocating for his political beliefs while promoting a Beat Generation lifestyle.
The description for the tribute reads, “This exciting tribute celebrates the 50th Anniversary of beloved poet Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America: Poems of these States, 1965-1971. In the fall of 2020 with the 50th anniversary of those poems fast approaching we reached out to many of Allen’s musician and artist friends. Many responded enthusiastically about interpreting these poems to music; even those poems that presented more of a musical challenge… Music has an incredible power not only to move but also to unite people.”
Additionally, for this release on Bandcamp Friday, the artists said that “All proceeds from the sale of this album will be donated to HeadCount.org promoting voter registration and participation in democracy through the power of music” as a part of their tribute.
Yo La Tengo feat. Ginsberg for “Bayonne Entering NYC”
Banhart with Ginsberg on “Milarepa Taste”
Moore teams up with Ranaldo and Ginsberg for “Hum Bom!”
Bird with “Easter Sunday”
1) Scanner – Elegy for Neal Cassady
2) Shintaro Sakamoto – Manhattan Thirties Flash
3) Thurston Moore & Lee Ranaldo – Hum Bom
4) Ed Sanders (The Fugs) – Memory Gardens
5) Mickey Hart – First Party at Ken Kesey’s With Hell’s Angels (Drones Du Jour)
6) Howie B with Gavin Friday – Death On All Fronts (America is Falling)
7) Disco Pusher – A Prophecy
1) Angélique Kidjo – Uluru Song
2) Bill Frisell – Over Laramie
3) Andrew Bird – Easter Sunday
4) Devendra Banhart – Milarepa Taste
5) Yo La Tengo – Bayonne Entering N.Y.C.
6) Lang Lee – Pain on All Fronts
Photo credit: Nathan Edge