By day, Ewen Friers is a touring crewmember for Frnk Iero, Laura Jane Grace, Thursday and more but by night, he has a protest-rock project CATALAN! that combines forward-thinking indie with post-rock and post-punk that’ll get you dancing.
The new album ‘Veritas’ is a mixture of local Northern Irish history, news, a novel and politics which concludes in a captivating release with emotional depth.
To celebrate the release of the new album, we caught up Ewen who picked out some of his favourite protest songs.
PAUL BRADY – ‘ARTHUR MCBRIDE’
Perhaps a “protest song” is a hard thing to define in 2020. But I’ll start with one that falls into the more classic characterisation of the concept. Simply put, it’s an anti war and anti colonial folk song and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better example. It’s full of poetry, nuance, comedy and some spirited social commentary. Mr Brady’s is the definitive version in my my eyes, his skilful guitar playing and beautiful voice elevate this old standard.
MIA – ‘BORDERS’
Irreverent, confident song with an amazing video. MIA is one of the greats. Incredible musician, artist, lyricist and film maker and for someone who works in the more mainstream arena it’s encouraging to see her uncompromising commitment to tackling important subject matter.
AYALEW MESFIN – ‘GEDAWO’
A compelling record, admittedly I can’t speak the language so can’t decipher the exact political message on offer here. But from the research I’ve done on Ayalew Mesfin, the lyrics are charged with metaphorical political commentary and social observations. But beyond that, even just the act of releasing this record after years of government suppression, imprisonment and intimidation is a political act in itself.
THE CLASH – ‘WASHINGTON BULLETS’
My favourite band of all time, well known for their protest rock, and whilst this track doesn’t quite have the stature of some of their other hits It’s one of the most topographical and far reaching sets of lyrics they ever wrote. Later, internationally infused Clash, is my favourite era. The colourful and diverse music with far reaching themes have been a bit of a template for CATALAN!
TINARIWEN – ‘IMIDIWAN MA TENNAM’
Mali-Sahara-guitar icons with an environmental message. A call for protection and appreciation of the desert ecosystem by those who know it best. Pure poetic protest and beautiful music to boot.
CATALAN!‘s new album, ‘Veritas’, is out now.
You can order the album with vinyl, CD and shirt merch options from CATALAN!s official website (here).