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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 022
Sat, Feb 16, 2013

“Yalla, Yalla”
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

1989

“♫ Trying
to get a signal
through from
ragga FM, do
the DTI, buzz
CNN/ sucking
the swine right
out of the vine/
I’m spitting
it back
again
♫”
Photo of Joe STRUMMER and Paul SIMONON and Mick JONES and CLASH

Say what you will about The Clash, call them punk rockers, reggae enthusiasts, Global revolutionaries, whatever, at least Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon could write uplifting “London Calling” like anthems that would spark an generation of rock and roll dreams. Joe once said, “There’s so much corruption—councils, governments, industry. Everywhere. It’s got to be flushed out. Just because it’s been going on for a long time doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be stopped. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t time to change. People have this picture of us marching down the street with machine guns. We’re not interested in that, because we haven’t got any. All we’ve got is a few guitars, amps, and drums. That’s our weaponry.”
Strummer In Leicester

Even after disbanded The Clash and during his second coming as leader of Los Mescaleros, Joe never lost sight on how to uplift with rhythm and poetical politics of music. One of Strummer’s more successful post Clash, Mescaleros backed singles was the Middle Eastern-ragga flavored “Yalla, Yalla.” Strummer talked about the genesis of “Yalla” in Antonio d’Ambrosio’s book Let Fury Have The Hour: The Punk Rock Politics Of Joe Strummer, when he said, “It came out of the idea of a bunch of us coming down the street in London, in top form, shouting, “Yeah, we’re free.” I found out that in Arabic it means, “Come on, let’s go.” When I came up with the song’s chorus, I wondered if I’d had it stored away somewhere in my brain and it just popped out. But what the song is about is freedom is gone and we’re fucked up in Britain. So “Yalla, Yalla” is a story starting with Adam and going through “C’mon, let’s cut out of this scene. Let’s go grooving.” If there’s some culture happening in Glasgow 600 miles away, we’re going to go 600 miles—there’s no object. And then it gets to the freedom verse, “Yalla, Yalla, Yalla—Yalla

I love listening to “Yalla, Yalla” driving down the 110 in L.A. with my windows rolled down, when Joe’s calling out for freedom…Strummer makes everything seem possible. Like, personal, global and universal freedom is possible. Instead of playing the game, selling your name for jingle, Strummer sparked songs for inner revolutions as he explained, “I don’t think you can catch up on that; I think you have to respect that. I’m just going to stick to plugging the guitar in and trying to make something interesting with that. Leave the acting to the actors. Personally, that’s my hope.”
In Memoriam: Joe Strummer Former Band Leader of "The Clash"

If you’re fan of The Clash’s “Rock The Casbah”, you’ve only heard half the Strummer story.” Strummer spent his days and nights with The Clash and later with Los Mescaleros sparking change with Joe’s three punk chords and the poetics of truth. Crank up and let freedom ring through you in a language you can easily understand as one of the last revolutionary legacies of Joe Strummer lives one within the liberation spirit of “Yalla, Yalla.”
Strummer On Pogues Tour

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