An artist/activist since the late 1960s, singer/songwriter Holly Near continues to inspire peacemongers and give musical power to social causes all over the world. Tonight, Thursday, March 8 at 8 p.m., Near is celebrating International Women’s Day by playing a benefit concert for the Fund for Santa Barbara at SOhO with John Bucchino. For the full version of this interview, see independent.com.
Is it every performer’s responsibility to take a stand on issues they feel strongly about or should politics be left to politicians? All art has a point of view. Love songs have a point of view. Lullabies have a point of view. Expressing that one would like to see all children in the world be fed isn’t “political”-it is a desire, a point of view, an expression of compassion. When artists have no point of view, they grow tiresome and bland. : We should never leave politics to the politicians!
Did you ever think you’d be singing songs with themes similar to your songs of the 1970s? I never really thought the world would become Nirvana. : I didn’t become part of the world peace movement with the idea that I would work really hard for 10 years and then it would complete. No, I follow in a long tradition of human beings who believe in peace and equality and they have worked for centuries from that perspective.
Is music a necessary part of any social activism? Music holds people up when they are about to fall down. It heals the wounded. It inspires one to move forward even when frightened through and through : I think that is a global phenomenon, a human one. Maybe bigger than human. The whales sing!