The Battle of Ideas Tour is a fundraising effort, led by The Insurrection who will perform at five venues in Boston and Philadelphia so that a Boston-based delegation of young artists and activists can participate and perform at the 3rd US/Cuba Youth Exchange and the Cuban International Hip Hop Festival in July and August 2003 in Havana. Even though U.S. censorship, blind patriotism and corporate raiding are being portrayed as American values, the significance of showing solidarity for Cuba at this time when the island nation is celebrating 50 years of revolution, is not lost on musicians with courage like The Insurrection.
The Insurrection, a Spoken-Soul-Hop band, led by Bojah, blends the best that these genres have to offer into an innovative art form that pays tribute to the reggae rhythms and consciousness of Bob Marley, the Hendrix-like skills of Insurrection guitarist Jeff Lockhart and the sweet soul of Roy Ayers creating a powerful tonic laced with lyrics that harken back to Gil Scott Heron's heyday. New territory is firmly established by fusing Spoken Word, Soul Music and Hip Hop with a new millenium cause. A cause whose mission is particularly poignant in a time when America's power base is clamping down on this economically embargoed country even more.
The Boston-based, Insurrection consists of singer-songwriter Bojah on his guitar and sometimes keys, as well as 5-7 other members. Previous performances have found The Insurrection holding it down for freedom activists and music lovers at protest rallies in Central Park-NY, Philadelphia, DC, Cincinatti, Chicago and Boston. In front of tens of thousands they have held their own with 18-year-old kick-ass female drummer Nikki Glaspie, a Berklee College student and Berklee senior Paula "PG" Green on percussion. The demands of touring, going to school and holding a life together forces The Insurrection to have deep resources for their positions. Take-no-prisoners DJ Special Blend and fierce female MC Natural "I'm not angry, I'm livid" Bliss, are counted on as Insurrection regulars. Vocalist Pelaiah Aset brings her transcendental dynamism to the stage. While frets-on-fire bassist, Aaron Bellamy, stand-up and be counted on Jeff Lockhart as lead guitar and erstwhile Rhodes key player, Matt Little, currently touring in South America are the glue that makes The Insurrection "funk-tion" so well. The Battle of Ideas Tour - Cuban Fundraiser kicks-off on July 2nd at The Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Ma at 10pm; July 3rd at The Nile in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pa at 8pm; July 4th at the Rally and March Against US Wars at Home and Abroad, Philadelphia, PA at 12 noon; 8pm at the Rotunda at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; July 6th at The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA at 9pm; July 7th at the Biarritz Lounge in Dudley Square, Roxbury, MA at 8pm.
Raising funds for artists and activists of color to attend the Conference and Festival in Cuba is not easy during this time of political instabilty, economic hard times and budget cuts, but working toward that goal is part of an ambition come true for band leader Bojah of The Insurrection. Ever since being inspired by the determination and struggle of the Cuban people, he has wanted to share that inspiration with other young people around the world, especially in the U.S. "This fundraising effort is part of the Battle of Ideas Tour that supports the opportunity to help youth see for themselves what the revolution is about in Cuba. A revolution that begins with discussion, education and struggle, but also the living example of working class people and young people in power improving their lives and society." That revolution would not be complete without a continued exchange of infomation and culture, on August 22nd, at the Middle East Cafe (downstairs) in Cambridge, Ma, The Insurrection will begin their report back from the Cuban "Battle of Ideas Tour." What better place for The Insurrection to play than Cuba during the commemoration of the July 26 anniversary of revolutionary struggle some fifty years ago.