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Music Revolutionaries
Artists who change today's world, one song at a time.


# 10 The Blue Scholars

Seattle hip hop visionaries Blue Scholars keep their politics on a personal level. Geo and Sabzi take direct action in their community and write songs that bring home the concept of war and what it means to our U.S. families.

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Blue Scholars - From Myspace

Blue Scholars - The Long March EP

# 9 R.E.M. Accelerates

Legendary alternative rockers R.E.M. have been making political music for almost three decades. Click here to find out why their 2008 release "Accelerate" has been hailed as their comeback album. And hear what the band currently has to say about how music can be used as a tool for change.

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R.E.M. - From Myspace

# 8 Rage Against the Machine

Los Angeles band Rage Against the Machine mix hip-hop and rock to back-up some of the strongest political statements in music today. In this feature guitarist Tom Morello talks about how music really can change the world.

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Rage Against The Machine - From Myspace

Rage Against The Machine - From Facebook

# 7 Beth Ditto Takes it Off

Beth Ditto, lead singer for the soulful Portland rock band The Gossip is an activist for gay rights, civil rights and now calls herself a "Fat Activist". Her controversial nude front cover for the British pop magazine NME has people arguing over whether it is "acceptable" for a big, beautiful woman to show herself naked.

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The Gossip - From Myspace

Standing in the Way of Control - 2006 Album Cover

# 6 Patti Smith’s Philosophy of Revolution

For decades rock legend Patti Smith has spoken out against war, censorship and oppression. In this exclusive KEXP audio, Smith talks about her role as a revolutionary and how music can change the world.

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Patti Smith - From Myspace - Photo by Angelo Cricchi

Patti Smith - From Myspace

# 5 Billy Bragg is a One-Man Clash

UK singer-songwriter Billy Bragg was inspired by Dylan and The Clash. His music marries the raw, pure power of folk with the attitude of punk rock.

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Billy Bragg at South By Southwest - Photo by Greg Perez

# 4 El Vez Runs for Prez

El Vez, The Mexican Elvis, calls himself a crusader for truth, justice and the Mexican-American way. In this feature, Roberto Lopez tells us how he was inspired to create the character of El Vez, and why El Vez will run for president in 2008. Find out more about El Vez and other Latino musical innovators at Experience Music Project's "American Sabor" exhibit, open until September 2008.

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El Vez Runs For Prez

# 3 M.I.A. Embraces the Chaos

Sri Lankan artist M.I.A. was denied entry to America because the U.S. Government determined that her profile made her a potential terrorist. She turned this all around by using her time to help build a playground in Liberia, visit youth detention centers and make a new album. The record “Kala” samples indie bands and brings the culture to many third world countries for the first time ever.

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M.I.A. From Myspace

M.I.A. Works with third world youth - From Myspace

# 2 Linton Kwesi Johnson Writes Words of Revolution

Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson writes to the rhythms of reggae music. His deep voice recites words of revolution, drawing a dark, stunning picture of life as a Jamaican immigrant living in London.

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Linton Kwesi Johnson from Myspace

# 1 Michael Franti Goes To Iraq

Hip-hop veteran and activist Michael Franti has always written songs against war. But when the war in Iraq started he decided to take his activism a step further, by traveling to Iraq and playing on the streets. Hear Michael’s story of his trip and how it inspired the documentary film “I Know I’m Not Alone” and the upbeat album “Yell Fire”.
Also, check out Global Exchange-- An international organization dedicated to human rights!

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Franti on the road from Myspace

Franti on stage from Myspace