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The Human Rights Information Network: Music From the Kantakos

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Mbanna Kantako

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It's believed that Mbanna Kantako first began writing his "schoolyard rhymes of the Revolution" as a learning tool for the kids he teaches at his self-started Marcus Garvey School of Human Rights, which began classes in an abandoned building in Springfield's old housing projects.

Once the opportunity to spread the songs presented itself, though, Kantako, his family and his students have been writing like mad - and these are the results.

Literally thousands of songs have been written by Kantako and his students - as he releases them, we'll bring them to you. Masterpieces of musicianship they're not - but as with many things about Kantako, the meaning is in the message.

Albums are listed in chronological order (newest first).

Let Us Loose
Recorded November, 2001: This is another solo project, featuring daughter Ebony Kantako on the mic for 13 tracks, and the common theme is justice.

Mind Know Thyself Is Strength
Recorded November, 2001: Mbanna's eldest daughter, Konnadi, is a frequent participant in many Human Rights Radio projects. This is her first "solo album" on the music side.

Black Hands (double album)
Recorded 8/10/01: Kantako's brought the whole Marcus Garvey School of Human Rights on board to help with production of this latest release, Black Hands. It is not only a celebration of an entire people, but it's a creative tribute to the knowledge Mbanna has imparted to them.

Take the Drum / It's Time (double album)
Recorded 2/18-19/01: On Take the Drum, there are three specific school rhymes that speak to the FCC harassment of Human Rights Radio: "Take the Drum," "Stand Strong Not Wrong," and "99.9 on the Line." It's Time features no specific songs about HRR; these are more about pride and heritage. Some tracks that stand out include "We Must Go Home," "Tel-I-Vision," and "Culture" - which Mbanna himself can be heard on.

A Warrior Not a Man
Recording date unknown: I came into possession of a CD sampler of Mbanna Kantako's songs in the summer of 2000.  This "album" is a musical history of Human Rights Radio's skirmishes with the FCC.  It includes audio of one of the earlier station visits, spoken-word pieces from Mbanna himself - best described as 'hold your head up high'-style messages, and tributes to people and groups whose struggle Human Rights Radio carries on.

If you're interested in hearing more free radio-related music, make sure to check out this section of