Ry Cooder, the veteran American musician and man behind the popularity of the Buena Vista Social Club, has a new CD out: My Name Is Buddy. Reminiscent of 2005's Chavez Ravine, it apparently deals with workers who fled the Midwest of the US in the 1930s. The characters, according to Cooder, are 'Lefty, a left-wing mouse who's looking for a socialist utopia; blind Tom Toad, who has lost his religious faith, but is 'looking for a way out of darkness'; and Buddy himself, who 'being a cat, is looking for his next meal'. There's a Guardian interview with Cooder here.
According to the profile, Cooder has always been very political, and one of his first recordings was 'How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?'. And today he hates commercial and conventional music and politics. He was fined US$25,000 for breaking the reactionary blockade on Cuba. According to the Guardian article, Cooder is equally critical of both mainstream political parties in the US, saying 'Never mind the "RepubliKlans" - the Democrats today are "a bunch of cowards, chickenshit"'. He even criticises the role of Bill Clinton: 'he also ushered in the era of Nafta, the North American Free Trade Area, which made Juarez, Mexico, the murder capital of the world, with women raped for their pay cheques. That was another nail in the coffin of workers' lives.' Despite all his cynicalism, he's not a political defeatist: 'You can't just dismiss the world.... You have to say, "Well, I'm in it. Now I have to make sense of it."'