SINGLE REVIEW: SARATHY KORWAR FEAT. ZIA AHMED – TURNER ON THE 20

The track Turner On The 20 was written in response to ideas that were presented in an online review of Sarathy Korwar’s 2019 album More Arriving which said:

As a protest record, surprisingly enough, More Arriving falls short of its high standards due to bland generalisations, such as ‘which racist do you want on your bank note?‘ And not least because the English painter J.M.W. Turner – the new face of the 20 pound note – campaigned for the abolition of slavery.

This entire quote is read out at the start of the track and culminates in Korwar and track collaborator Zia Ahmed saying “he’s got a point, hasn’t he? Oh man!”.  Sarathy Korwar also says in the press release “I found it frustrating that it was deemed necessary to pick out an album that tackles racism and criticise it because it wasn’t specifically naming the racists.”

So ‘Turner on the 20’ takes that criticism and, rather than start naming racists, brilliantly takes a different tack. It calls out all those people suffering from ‘call-out fatigue’. Those people who think that because we’re all living in ‘woke’ times the people calling out racism are essentially whining about something that was essentially a 1970’s problem. I’ve included the full set of lyrics below but some of the choice lines that stuck with me are “Chin up mate! It’s better than before!”, “Happy Christmas, Racism is over!” and “Forget the darker days. Just dance the past away”. Instead of a raised eyebrow or a forehead slap, anyone who comes out with these kinds of platitudes should just be sent a link to this track.

TurnerOnThe20

Musically the track is a great bubbling melange of percussion over a rolling bassline that is joined at the “Chin up Mate” chorus by a harmonium and (I think) a Shehnai. But the thrust of the track is in service to Zia Ahmed’s superb vocal performance. Ahmed also provided powerful words to the tracks ‘Bol’ and ‘Mango’ on More Arriving and I would heartily recommend checking the album out. The track might be a response to the review of a 2019 album, but, of course, has added resonance with recent BLM events in the US and UK and subsequent global news coverage of the protests.

The track is exclusive to Bandcamp and all proceeds are being donated to The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust with the added bonus being that its release on Friday 19th June aligns with Bandcamp donating 100% of their share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defence Fund.

Review by Paul F Cook

Turner on the 20 – LYRICS

Turner on the 20. Turner on the Score.

Chin up mate! It’s better than before!

Is Britain racist? a 100 percent

Is that what you meant?

100 percent racist, 100 percent leaving

100 percent halal, 100 percent vegan

100 percent plant based. 100 percent Australian points based

100 percent historically accurate

Turner on the 20, Turner on the score

Cheer up mate! It’s better than before!

I don’t see race, I just see mates

Land of hope and glory. Land for all our stories

Land for all our emblems. Land for referendums

Land of the tolerant. Land of the sovereign

Land of the moderates. Land of no othering

Happy Christmas, Racism is over!

Happy Diwali. Racism is over!

Happy Eid. Racism is over!

Happy Hanukkah. Racism is over!

Happy Christmas, Racism is over!

Happy Diwali

Racism is over! Racism is over!

Turner on the 20. Turner on the score

Move on mate! It’s better than before!

Do the Turner. Do the Turner

Turn around now

Do the Turner. Do the Turner. Do the Turner

One more time now. Do the Turner

Turn to the Left (cheer up mate) (do the turner)

Turn to the Right (get over it) (do the turner)

Turn to the Alt Right (chin up) (do the turner)

Turn to the Fascist (do the turner)

Forget the darker days. Just dance the past away

Churchill on the fiver. Don’t let it trouble you

Cuz now we’re got JMW

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