WAS GAY' is the provocative 16th
release from Montreal's veteran 'rebel news orchestra/rock 'n roll cabaret',
RHYTHM ACTIVISM (RA) .
The 48 minute CD shows how these ever topical, irreverent, anarcho-musical chameleons - active since 1986 - can whip up a smorgasbord of bizarre tales, truth and 'rhythm magnetism ' to capture the imagination of fans worldwide. Critics often compared RA to CHUMBAWAMBA, THE EX, DOG FACED HERMANS, FUGAZI and 'Tom Waits with a butcher knife.'
The 12 tracks include a stirring new version of RA's classic, pro-feminist ballad, 'Helen Armstrong,' about an unknown heroine of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike ( Bob Wiseman said this song "should be the new Canadian national anthem"); the rib-tickling, anti-homophobic, jazz/ country/gospel sing-a-long 'Jesus was Gay;' ' a true-life, Prairie love song about a Canadian legend, 'Mike Swystun, once billed 'the world's strongest man;' an anti-corporate junk food circus tale, 'Ronald Fucking McDonald;' a farmer vs the banks, macabre, revenge-fantasy folk tale, 'Jack Daw,' a vodka drenched, rocking, traditional Ukrainian dance, 'Hopak;' and the haunting, soul stirring, adult lullaby, 'In the Darkest Hour.'
'JESUS WAS GAY' features RA co-founders Sylvain C™tŽ (guitars/accordion) and Norman Nawrocki (vocals/violin) with Wilf Plum (drums), Luc Bonin (bass), Claude Dion (sax) and Minda Bernstein (violin). It's been released by Winnipeg's G-7 Welcoming Committee Records.
'Spiritually aligned with The Ex & vintage Gang of Four, Jesus Was Gay is both maddeningly eclectic and exhilaratingly challenging'
- Eye, Toronto
'Mordantly funny, wickedly smart & musically fascinating' ****
- The Winnipeg Sun
'With its poetry, it's crazy violin & other suprises, this is an album to revive your spirits......RA is a group that inspires rebellious thoughts & leaves people smiling wherever they go'
- ICI, Montreal
'Jesus Was Gay is bound to shake up the Catholic League'
- Lesbian & Gay New York
'This gay Christ kicks ass'
- XTRA! West, Vancouver
'Spans country, punk & East European stomp.....title tune should have been the theme song for (Terence McNally's) 'Corpus Christi'
- Village Voice, New York
'RA's ability to mix relevant political discussion with body moving rhythms sets them apart from so many 'political' bands'
- Pittsburg City Paper
'Funny as hell...will bring you to your feet and shake your whole body, not just your fist'
- In Pittsburgh
'Another gem from Canada's premier anarchist, klezmer, marachi punk band'
- The Defenestrator, Philadelphia
''Jesus Was Gay condemns homophobia & the evils of corporatism & celebrates the role of women in social activism'
- Kitchener/Waterloo Record
'A genial, hoe-down rave up'
- The Gazette, Montreal
'Jesus Was Gay is the smote-in-God's eye-catching title of RA's latest CD, whose title track has an off-beat, swinging country sound, with singing that sounds like Tom Waits sawing wood'
- XTRA! Toronto
'Thought-provoking material ... Some of it quite lively '
- Exclaim!, Toronto
'The first cut....is a song of exquisite beauty & depth.
- Swerve Magazine, Winnipeg
'Contains radical history, revenge fantasy, contemporary tales, & some kickin' traditional Eastern European instrumentals'
- View, Hamilton
' No problem reconciling pleasure with content for something devilishly effective. What distinguishes RA from other socially committed artists is that they are as diverse as they are effective.'
- VOIR, Montreal
'The humour just oozes from this chaotic masterpiece....a toe-tapping, knee-slapping, foot-stomping Canadian album...indie talent at its finest'
- TIMES 10, Edmonton