KISMIF Conference

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg_ edit

KISMIF Conference 2016 has the privilege to announce the presence of Billy Bragg, as keynote speaker, on 18 July. His political activism has been a hallmark in recent times.

Billy Bragg is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist and political activist.

Born into a working-class family in eastern Greater London, Bragg played briefly in a punk band (Riff Raff), then bought his way out of the British army before becoming a modern-day troubadour. Inspired by the Clash, he banged out songs on his electric guitar on any stage open to him.

His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic themes. His music is heavily centered on bringing about change and getting the younger generation involved in activist causes.

His debut album, Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy, brought critical acclaim, reached the British Top 30, and yielded the hit “A New England” in 1984. Adding to the spare instrumentation of his first albums, Bragg began releasing increasingly polished work, including Talking with the Taxman About Poetry (1986) and Workers Playtime (1988). In 1988, he reached number one in Britain with a cover version of the Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home”. In the recent years, he released the albums Mr. Love & Justice (2008) and Tooth & Nail (2013).

As British cultural and political life both devolved to the United Kingdom’s component nations and became increasingly multicultural, Bragg became interested in the notion of English identity, one of the subjects at the centre of his book The Progressive Patriot: A Search for Belonging (2006). In 2011 he released Fight Songs, a compilation of political songs that he had posted to his Website as free downoads over roughly the previous 10 years. In 2015, Billy released A Lover Sings, a book which contains over seventy of his best-known lyrics, selected and annotated by him.

Source: adapted from the text written by Jeff Wallenfeldt,


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