Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sticking to the Union (IW #83)



In a couple of weeks I am going with my band the Malvinas to play at the Workers Arts and Heritage Center (actually, I suppose that is "Centre") in Hamilton, Ontario.  Part of what we will be doing there is playing a sing-along of workers songs, so I wanted to have an appropriate machine to do that on.


Apparently the Salvation Army used to beat a drum on the street to collect alms and people would throw pennies onto the drum head.  The only thing I know about this is from the good old Wobbly song "The Preacher and the Slave," which mentions it.  Anyway, it seemed to me it could be good to have a couple of instruments at your disposal if you were trying to drum up support for your fellow workers, so I used an old tambourine I got from somewhere and a pie tin to make this little banjo.

I put a bunch of IWW images and slogans on it, and then because it has to travel I made it a case, which I lined with the remnants of an antique quilt that I love.  The band lent a hand (literally) to decorate the case, covering the top with red hand prints, to remind us of all the blood shed in the ongoing fight of workers to change the conditions of their labor and the conditions of their lives.

Here is the video:




Tuesday, August 11, 2015

At the Museum

Photo courtesy of Erika Meiler


A good friend, who also happens to be a hell of a sailor and singer, was asked to sail on the Charles W. Morgan and took along a little uke I made for her.  At the end of the voyage the sailors were asked to donate objects for the collection of the Mystic Seaport Museum, and she donated her uke.  So the Instrument Works is now a part of the permanent collection of the Mystic Museum.  I could not be more proud to know her or to be a part of this museum that I love so much.