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Ed Emery's Revolutionary Radio Show


This radio show is revolutionary. Revolutionary because my records go round and round, mostly at 33rpm. Revolutionary because music and song circulate - they go round and round - and that is the subject of my musicological researches at SOAS. Revolutionary because the old vinyl which I am going to play before you goes round and round in the sense of recycling - I buy most of it secondhand in cheapo-cheapo record stores around Europe and elsewhere, scouring the bins... And finally, revolutionary because that is the nature of my politics. Activism (musical and otherwise), and dissent as a principle of life.

My programmes (one per month, with luck) will operate on the principle of "maxi musique - mini bla-bla". Most of the tracks speak for themselves. If you want further information, I shall be setting up a website giving lyrics, notes, historical annotations etc for each of the items contained in my radio shows. You can also write to me at the address below.

The tracks are taken from an archive of black vinyl that I have accumulated over the past 40 years. Some of it political, some of it radical, some of it songs of the heart. Songs of love and liberation. The first programme was produced for Mayday 2010. It runs for about 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy it.

ed.emery [@]

Ed Emery's Revolutionary Radio Show

Revolutionary Radio Episode 9

December 2014. This one's for Darcy. Ethnomusicology in action. Happy birthday!
A little something to round off the year. Some good harmonies, a bit of humour, and a realistic dose of anger. That’s the way we build these programmes. And the same with our music-making at SOAS. Good news: the first of our “Arabic Music Sessions @ SOAS” was a wonderful success. These sessions will now be happening monthly. If you want to join the mailing list, write to:

November 2014. Always something new musically at SOAS. Last week, the Student Union goes to Calais, a solidarity gathering with migrants, musicians and activists. Musical participation by the SOAS Ceilidh Band. This week the SOAS Rebetiko Band, planning for our March 2015 tour to Istanbul. Next week a special Kurdish solidarity session in the JCR, working towards the production of a songbook arising out of the Kurdish Songbook Project. The following week the first of our “Arabic Music Sessions @ SOAS”. Long-awaited… building the groove… Not to mention the formation of the SOAS Guerrilla Choir, ready for action on demos and picket lines. Wild about song!

Brilliant year for music-making at SOAS. Ceilidh Band went to Paris in February, did a ceilidh halfway up the Eiffel Tower. Then to Istanbul for St Patrick’s Night, playing in the James Joyce Bar. From there we went down to Iraqi Kurdistan to do a Nowruz gig in the hills behind Duhok – and some of the team carried on to Armenia and Georgia. August we did a ceilidh tour to Dartmoor in Devon. The Rebetiko Band toured to Paris and to the Greek island of Hydra for the Rebetiko Gathering. Not to mention our amazing Rebetiko jam sessions every Monday night in the SOAS JCR.

PLAYLIST – Programme No. 6


01. Min xechnas ton Oropo – Mikis Theodorakis – "Mikis Theodorakis – Ta Traghoudhia tou Agona" – Minos MSM 217 – September 1974


02. Li Bagoke – Suna Alan – Recorded at St Ethelburga's Church, November 2011. 


03. Johnston's Motor Car – Dominic Behan – "Easter Week and After: Songs of the IRA" – Topic 12T44 – 1960 


Plenty of musical madness in the air this month. We’ve started a regular Rebetiko Session on Monday nights in the SOAS Bar. On 14-18 March we’re taking the SOAS Ceilidh Band on tour to Turkey – St Patrick’s Night in Istanbul – at the same time as one of our SOAS Ceilidh Band colleagues is organising a Paddy’s Night gig in Ramallah. And in September we might be doing a "Ceilidh beyond Borders" thing in Venice. Watch this space.

And meanwhile, on with the vinyl ! Cultural anthropologists, please note – "thickness of description" is this week’s watchword…

With something of a delay – too much work on my PhD – here is the fourth programme in the series. More episodes will follow shortly.

You may also be interested in my recent project with the SOAS Rebetiko Band - see

If you would like to join the mailing list for future musical events and programmes that I organise, write to me at


01. Something new in Africa [Mokonotela] – Solven Whistlers – Decca LK 4292 – 1959

02. The leaving of Belfast – The Men of No Property – “Ballads from Behind the Barricades” – Resistance Records RES1002 – 1971

03. Carta a los obreros portuarios – Grupo Musical Teatro Narren de Estocolmo – Lettre du Chili aux dockers du monde entier – Cedrec Records ES 29 – n.d.

04. Ludlow massacre – Rambling Jack Elliott – “Talking Woody Guthrie” – Topic 12 T 93 – 1957

05. Poor old soldier – Hattie Gemmill and Stuart Graham – Recorded at SOAS Radio – 2010

06. Pee pee cluck cluck – Toots and the Maytals – Trojan Records – TRLS 65 – 1970

07. Devento mata in fabbrica – Gruppo musicale del comitato per il salario al lavoro domestico di Padova – Canti di donne in lotta – CS-LD-PD 01 – n.d.

08. Nixon’s visit to Cairo – 1974 – Sheikh Imam of Cairo – “Le Cheikh Imam chante Negm”, Le Chant du Monde LDX 74543 – 1976

09. Judischer Todessang [Jewish death song] – Alex Kulisiewicz – Chants de la Dèportation – Le Chant du Monde LDX 74552 – 1975

10. World turned upside down (Diggers’ Song) – Dick Gaughan – "Handful of Earth" – Topic Records 12 TS419 – 1981

11. Sssh baby – Rory McLeod – “Kicking the Sawdust” – Forward Sounds - Forward 005 - 1976

This is the third programme in the series. My next job is to create links from the Playlist which will take you to the lyrics for the songs, and also to musicological notes about the various items contained in my programmes.



Welcome to Ed Emery's Revolutionary Radio Show.

This is the second programme in the series.



"Songs of Love and Liberation." That is the title of our concert at SOAS for Mayday 2010. And it is the theme that I have chosen for my Revolutionary Radio Show on OpenAir FM.

I spend my time digitising the archive of revolutionary and political songs that I have accumulated over the past 40-odd years, and here I mix them with tracks that have moved me to happiness or sadness, to laughter or to tears. I am glad to have this opportunity to share them with my friends, comrades and family, and with you the listener.