Liberty

by Beltaine's Fire

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about

Liberty is the second album from Bay Area anarchist folk-rap collective Beltaine's Fire. The band combines live hip hop, funk, and rock with traditional Irish, Scottish, and Folk to create something utterly original; and delivers it alongside sizzling insightful lyrics that cut to the dark heart of American Imperialism.

This is revolutionary music in every sense of the words.

credits

released September 12, 2008

Emcee Lynx: Rap vocals
Laura Noel: Bass and Sung vocals
Todd Snyderman:Drums
John Dougal: Electric Banjo
Kater Murch: Cello and Mandolin

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Beltaine's Fire Oakland, California

Beltaine's Fire is a 5-piece folk-rap juggernaut of revolutionary love & rage taking aim at the dark heart of Empire.

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Track Name: Bard, Poet, Rapper, Scribe
Bard, Poet, Rapper, Scribe

I get asked all the time why'd I want to rap
fools assume i'm a thug, or that I think that I'm black
forget that - I ain't never been no one but me
'n writin' rhymes is the only time I really feel free
it's like therapy to help me sort my thoughts out
helps me keep on pushin when I want to drop out
I remember Tupac & Biggie used to sing to me
had me feelin like a rapper was the thing to be
a way to tell my stories, express myself,
let out my rage and my pain and even ask for help
and now I'm in the limelight, cuz I rhyme tight
15 minutes as a star, so i'd better shine bright
tryna do what's right, not just what's easy
but it's hard to be righteous in a world this sleazy
so I've got nothin but love for my folks in the struggle
whether playin the game or caught in the hustle

I'm a bard, poet, rapper, scribe,
just an ordinary man, glad to be alive
passionate, pushin' it, makein' moves
steppin up my game and keepin it smooth

if you're hustlin to live, go on and get that gouda
if you need ya medicine, go on and smoke that buddha
it's not my thing, but I can't hate
too busy tryna organize to smash the state (ha!)
and I just can't front and write rhymes about rims
like I can't afford to wrap my toes in tims
instead I'm kickin these rhymes in my combat boots
so I feel ya when ya say that ya need that loot
I drive an old beat up pickup truck
the cab is cramped, the mileage sucks
but at least it gets me from A to B
'sides I bought it to drive, not for ya'll to see
like Ice Cube said - don't be material
the fact I'm breathin' at all is a miracle
mad folks in in this struggle get killed but still
as long as I'm alive, I've gotta keep it real

reppin for my clan & all my kinfolk,
everybody comin up cuz fa'real - we've been broke
far too long, so we gotta stay strong
scots, irish, welsh, manx, cornish, bretons, and on
for all my bards and poets, rappers and scribes
no matter where you come from, it's time to thrive
so let's do the damn thang, like snare, kick, swing
this is beltaine's fire, check the style we bring
celtic soul, hip hop beats,
riot folk for my folks to get ya on your feat
fusion is the future, and the future's now
all I really want is freedom, the question's how
head full of ideas, gotta let them out
so I'll keep on rappin, and there ain't no doubt
I love music, love life, love my family and friends
it all comes full circle back to where it began
Track Name: Liberty
Liberty

Abacha, Amin, Banzer, Stroesener,
Christiani, Doe, Oliviera, Duvalier
Martinez, Mobotu, Ozal, Bolkiah,
the list goes on and on america

Once upon a time it was all about the rhyme
but now, somehow, it's all about crime
like we're all doing time, and yet we keep building prisons
and I can't understand what ya'll think we're getting
for our money, ain't it funny how we set our priorities?
paying pigs to oppress the poor and minorities?
while the biggest criminals all get re-elected
I could be naïve, but somehow I expected
more from america – the 'land of the free'
where life has a price and freedom has a fee
some of ya'll might say that i'm unrealistic
cuz I can't make peace with this system sadistic
ya'll might have missed it, if you weren't paying attention
the american gulags indefinite detentions
bear a striking resemblance to something we've seen before:
the fascists they've been fundin' since the second world war.

suharto, pinochet, franco, the shah,
batista, diem, musharaf, salazar,
marcos, noriega, trujillo, husseain,
all funded by our government, killing in our name

most things are very simple, unless they're complex
this world ain't black and white ya'll, it's all context
take black and white: why assume we're always opposites?
It's much more productive to focus on stoppin' this
cycle of violence and intimidation
where we define eachother by our color, nation,
station in life, who we love, or by religion
instead of understanding that the world that we live in
is big enough for all of us - make some room!
there's no excuse for the way a minority consumes
most of the worlds wealth while millions are starving
it's like they're tryna create jobs in headstone carvin.
property is theft, we don't own this earth
and governments are just gangs, fightin over turf
in the mafia military, industry of war
the thin red line between the rich and the poor

Botha, Branco, Cedras, Cerezo,
Fahd, Hassan, Papa Doc, Cordova,
Papadopoulos, Pol Pot, and Chung Hee
all butchers funded in the name of Liberty

now you tell me, does that sound like democracy?
You'd have to be a zombie not to see the hypocrisy
you can't support freedom by funding tyrants
and free speech ain't free if it sounds like silence
why is it news that Paris Hilton's drunk driving?
but it's not news that the war machine is thriving?
people starving in our streets don't even make the back page
cuz some celebrity sex scandal's all the rage
they say dissent is terrorism, peace is unpatriotic
& ya'll fall for this ish! It's so idiotic
listen: 'our government' isn't our government
it answers to the rich, you and I just pay the rent.
They sell endless war, endless fear,
endless consumption, but the end is near
no matter how many crimes they commit in her name
liberty will be reborn like a phoenix from the flame
Track Name: To Condemn the Ocean
To Condemn the Ocean
The short (sung) verses are from the traditional Irish tune “Fisherman's Song”, the longer spoken-word verse is by Lynx.

By the storm torn shoreline a woman was standing
The spray strung like jewels in her hair
And the sea tore the rocks near that desolate landing
As though it had known she stood there

and white were the wavecaps, and wild was their parting
for such is the warring of love
so she prayed to the gods, both of men and of sailors
Not to cast their cruel nets o’re her love

Now she has come down to condemn that wild ocean
For the murderous loss of her man
His boat sailed down on Wednesday morning
And it’s feared she’s gone down with all hands

Staring at the night sky stretching o'er the ocean
my mind is flooded with inexplicable emotion
I see the shadow of a woman long dead on the rocks
eyes like the moon, sea spray in her locks
And she’s crying for the lover that she’s lost to the sea
frozen in the moment and she can’t see me
It’s the ghost of my people, an echo from the past
her cries in the wind and the way the waves crash
and not much has changed after all these years
and the seas salt spray still taste like tears
and I can’t help screamin at the night sky
why do so many good people have to die?
But I know the reason why, and the gods ain’t listenin'
Poor men die for the rich mans glistenin
Gold, as we’re sold one day at time,
Our poverty is violence; their wealth is a crime
And I’m sick of being poor, tryna raise a commotion -
But I’m feelin’ like I might as well condemn the ocean


and now she has come down, to condemn that wild ocean
For the murderous loss of her man
His boat sailed out on Wednesday morning
And it's feared she's gone down with all hands.

There's a school on the hill where the sons of dead fathers
Are led toward tempests and gales
where their god-given wings are clipped close to their bodies
And their eyes are bound round with ship's sails

What force leads a man to a life filled with danger?
On the seas or in mines underground
It's when need is his master, and poverty's no stranger
And there's no other work to be found

So she has come down to condemn that wild ocean
For the murderous loss of her man
His boat sailed out on Wednesday morning
And it's feared she's gone down with all hands.
Track Name: I Have Seen the Enemy
The Enemy


“I have seen the enemy, he’s right there in the spotlight
and if this song were a rifle, I would have him in my sights.”

It’s the voice on my radio, the face on the TV,
Cameras in the streetlights, so the pigs can see me
It’s the billboards, the papers, the bus stop ads
Advertising anorexia, the latest fads
It’s the way my little brother is scared to speak his mind
And when he does he speaks softly, lookin' behind
it's carnivore scanning my email for keywords
the way people shrug and say “it could be worse”
living in a nation where apathy reigns
no one is moving, so they don’t notice chains
It’s the climate of fear, the unspoken consensus
That things are messed up, but there’s no way to end it
It’s giving up the struggle before it’s even started
And thinking that those who fight back must be retarded
the enemy’s the fishbowl, we don’t know we’re in
until the table shakes and the cat reaches in

it’s the cloud of apathy hanging over america
so when you talk about change, people stare at ya
how folks work themselves to death, just to live
it’s the fairy tale corporate religions that give
folks hope for something better, but deny them the right
to demand something better, to organize and fight
it’s the way poor people get sucked into wars
‘cuz they promise us money for schools we can’t afford
it’s the media, the cops, the whole prison system,’
it’s race and class and every politician,
the sell outs, the fakes, the radio stations
the schools and the colleges that teach domination
the fundamental institutions of our society
the paradigm that lets the rich choose our reality
it’s the way you motherfuckers think that things changed
just cuz the CIA hijacked some planes

I see the enemy daily, when I look into the mirror
He’s the cop in my head, couldn’t be any nearer
He’s the voice that tells me to just stop fighting,
that no one likes my music, so I should stop writing
it’s my fear and my pain, and own self-doubt
that makes me want to turn off and just drop out
it’s the feeling that one man can’t change shit
and that no one gives a fuck about the words I spit
the way I was taught there was something wrong with me
cuz I was born with a soul that demands to be free
it’s the “white privilege,” I’m tryna overcome
how my people got bleached, what we’ve let ourselves become
It’s the “I got mines,” the “don’t give a fucks”
that would sell out their neighbors, just to make a buck
it’s the way everybody wants a little bit more
the brass ring in the spotlight, we’re all reaching for
Track Name: Desert Sunrise
Stepping out the barracks the desert sunrise
Illuminates the city but sand gets in my eyes,
Wearin body armor tryna believe that I’m bulletproof
This world is insane, I know son, I’m livin proof
life moves in mysterious ways
runnin through this city like I’m lost in a maze
I don’t speak the language and everyone is hostile
Gotta keep my eyes peeled for projectiles

Death happens daily when you least expect it
My buddy got abducted and got beheaded
This shit is fuckin crazy, war is hell
ain’t nothing like the war stories old folks tell
Cuz there ain’t no honor in occupying
This is not why I joined, but if I show defiance
I’ll get locked up, for insubordination
Meanwhile this army’s tryna rape a whole nation

I joined up to protect my own country,
defend it it to the death it to the death if you try to take it from me
and that’s the same reason the Iraqi’s fight
so who am I to say they’re wrong and we’re right?
now I lay awake at night arguing with myself
I’d give almost anything to be somewhere else
But the fact is, as I lay here on my mattress,
I know if I had been born in this spot on the map it’s

Damn sure which side I’d be on -
fightin against the occupation saying ‘bring it’
And it tears me apart inside, all my pain,
trapped in my brain and I might go insane
on the streets I find it drives me to distraction
Something I can’t afford, I let up a fraction
I’ll be in traction nursing my wounds
Maybe missin limbs ripped apart by the boom

Of an implemented roadside bomb or worse
I could finally get home in the back of a hearse
And I can see my mothers face as she hears the news
it’s that kind of thing that pulls me though
But the stop loss measures have got me trapped
I just wanna escape but they keep callin me back

And the ending? Well it’s no good pretending
This war is everlasting, who knows where they’re sending
Me next, I’m looking for some context
And if I die out here then my last request
Would be to see the liars who put me here
Charged with war crimes, let them taste my fear
I got 8 years from September 11
When I talked to the recruiter & told him that heaven

And hell couldn’t stop me from fightin back
Against the murdering bastards behind that attack
it’ all so simple, yet so complex
I got baited and switched, and that fact reflects
Everything that I know, everything that I say
got a picture from my kid sister just the other day
It was her at a rally in San Francisco
Glitter on her cheeks like she was going to a disco

And a homemade sign that ripped my heart right out
It said “support our troops, bring my brother home now!”
And I know somebody loves me, and prays at night
For the god she believes in to make things right
And I’m tired of war, wasn’t our mission accomplished?
So why are we still here? And when can we stop this?
cuz the people of iraq don’t want us here,
I can see it in their eyes, it’s hate and fear

And more then that, something cold and hard
A nation traumatized, I can see the scars
Of a brutal regime, a brutal opposition, a brutal invasion,
and brutal impositions, from all sides
getting caught in this red tide,
my homies at home think of me when they ghostride
but I’m not a ghost yet, and I’m not tryna be
and I’m just tryna get home to my own family

and still….
Every day the war rages on

And still
Every night the war rages on
Track Name: Darkness
Darkness

Breathe the night air, inhale the darkness
Step through the shadows, no fear, regardless
building unseen, but building no less
in the heart of the darkness, I build my fortress

I rock a black flag, no device, no stars or stripes
negation of borders boundaries, my life
Is dedicated, first to the love that we share
second to the fight to breathe the free air
Of liberty, my memory in this vicinity
Is fi’ina be more then just another casualty
The class war rages all around me
systematic violence on all sides astounds me
& I am profoundly disenchanted
With the empty slogans that ya’ll keep chantin
But I’m still defiant, unbowed and unbroken,
Sick of the smell of the brain-rot you’re smoking
So you won’t see me tokin, refuse to be a token,
More like Frodo in books by J. Tolkein
fuck seizing power, cuz power corrupts
I’d rather destroy it, change it on up

So I Breathe the night air, inhale the darkness
Step through the shadows, no fear, regardless
building unseen, but building no less
in the heart of the darkness, I build my fortress

I move one step at time, it ain’t fast
in this for the long haul I’ve got to last
Past all the people who seem to doubt me
but I know in the end it ain’t even about me
I’m just one man, do what I can and so
I gotta take time to aim when I spit the flow
So, I try to focus, maximize
My efficiency because my demise
Won’t help anyone, don’t need no more martyrs
So I move like currents in the oceans waters
Deep and slow, cyclical,
the earth keeps spinnin, the winds still blow
nature is ancient, she will prevail
it’s the moon on the water, the songs of the whales
and my life pales in comparison
so I drink in the music like it’s medicine

bridge: 2x
nice and slow, natural,
the sun will rise and the trees will grow
before us and after us, still the same
we’re just passing through on a 1-way train

Earth and sun, wind and rain
Love and hate, joy and pain
The things I feel, the world all around me
The beauty of this life every day – it astounds me
Still I find myself cynical, bitter, depressed
Somewhere between dedicated and obsessed
with ideas and dreams, plans and schemes
To rip the cage the we live in apart at the seems
But I can’t bend steel, I just bruise my hands
Bangin’ on the bars, meanwhile my demands
Go unheeded, ignored, I should take the hint
My whole life I’ve been poor, meanwhile they’ve made a mint
Selling things they never owned in the first place
“capital accumulation” – more like  pillage and rape
clearcuts and stripmines, crimes against earth
so I walk in the shadows till the worlds rebirth

and just breathe the night air, inhale the darkness
Step through the shadows, no fear, regardless
building unseen, but building no less
in the heart of the darkness, I build my fortress

breathe....

just breathe....

breathe.
Track Name: Kilted
Kilted

I got my first kilt back in 2004
I remember my first time walkin out the door
not sure what to expect from folks on the street
being so surprised that everybody I'd meet
was down, it was like being a movie star
people shoutin compliments from passing cars
I was like, damn, I don't know how to react
i'd expected static, but in point of fact
it was the opposite of that, so unexpected
I even rock it at protests when things get hectic
even the cops respect a man in a kilt
(...maybe 'cuz they play bagpipes when cops get killed?)
Regardless, I'm bringin back McSexy
rollin on the scene so ya'll can check me
Strollin super stylish and sweatshop free
like i'm the man that ya'll haters really want to be.

I got my kilt on - swingin free in the breeze
I got my kilt on - and ya'll can check my steeze
I got my kilt on - and my style is the nicest
I got my kilt on homie, cuz freedom is priceless

Kickin in oakland, lovin the sunshine
hangin in the park, just writin these dope rhymes
another perfect cali day, as I set out walkin
my people's on the corner shoutin 'what's up scotland?!'
holla back, and wave, I'm always amazed
how cool this city is, I could go on for days
life is just better when you've got the kilt on
seems to kill the divisions that this country's built on
take the brother at the stoplight light, hollerin at me
in his chromed out caddy, lookin hella flashy
askin me where he can get a kilt at
I gave him some names, and he said “I feel that”
suggested that he come to the scottish games
he said “hell yeah, but yo - I gotta change lanes”
I said “I'll see you around,” and he gave me a pound
rolled off bass pumpin with that hip hop sound

yeah, it costs a bit more then pants
but you can't mess with it when I do my dance
we get jiggy like Big Will – I mean William Wallace
Give the lasses a big thrill – from the tallest to the smallest
I can't walk 50 feet without compliments
cuz women love a man with confidence
besides the kilt looks good, it's just common sense
'long as you don't mind getting asked about your condiments
fa' real – people always askin what's under
that's for my lady to know, ya'll can go on and wonder
I ain't tryna steal your thunder, go on - do your thing
cuz I'ma keep doin' mine, and just let it swing
cuz the styles we bring are all about fusion
say let me lay it out to avoid confusion
we got celtic soul, rhymes for days,
hat cocked, kilt swingin, check the trail I blaze.
Track Name: Falls of Richmond
Tearin up the mic in this fight to survive
shinin like a light so tonight lets thrive
if you ride a bike or drive, walk, skip, run
all of that energy comes from the sun
photosynthesis, so you can get with this
life is a web, flow and ebb, we exist
on the edge of a razor, balance ain't easy
can't afford to fall so we'd better take it easy
sleazy politicians, lyin' ceos,
I've said it all before, and ya know how it goes
's why I bring them flows, tryna do what's right
'n take a second to focus on connections (tight.)
reclaim the night, dominate the stage
the future isn't written – let's turn the page
a lyrical druid, kickin tradition
and rippin from the Bay to the Falls of Richmond

i've seen a few things, been a few places
been dealt some bad hands, and a few aces
don't have many friends, never really have
really not a 'people person' – not that that's bad
got a couple close friends, my bandmates, my lady
no time to waste on folks who act shady
keep things simple, keep my mind clear
goals I gotta get, no time for fear
tryna make it happen here, like Spain in '36
except this time we'll crush the fascists
clean up the planet, liberate humanity
make a better world for my folks and my family
anything is possible, sometimes I gotta be reminded
there's always hope, it's just hard to find it
an optimistic pessimist, spittin' cynicism
but this game is for keeps so I'm plannin' on winnin'

ya'll I roll wit' warriors, ancestor spirits
maintainin' tradition with these beats and lyrics
I'm jus' the latest in a long line of rebel bards
mad unpredictable like wild cards
so when the clock strikes, let's storm the bastile
let the pigs and the politicians taste the steel
feel the pain and the rage and the breaking tide
no matter how far they run or where they hide
smash the system, take it all
let Rome burn when it finally falls
you don't wanna mess wit my Celts, don't test my Gauls
cuz we'll stop ya heart like cholesterol
skulls on my belt when I go head-huntin
sick to death of politicians, lyin ', frontin'
it's time to get out I the streets ya'll, move somethin'
carve our names into myth like my man Cuchulain
Track Name: None of the Above
None of the Above

Sick of the election dominatin the news
a dozen different candidates, all with the same views
every single one wants more free trade
not a single one 'll just call a spade a spade
and once they get elected all the promises fade
cuz what they really want is a chance to get paid
government is a business, no doubt about it
so I'm climb to the rooftops, scream and shout it
sick of fake debates with all the questions screened
all it does is reinforce the same machine
the same platitudes and promises we've heard for years
the same war without end playin on our fears
we've got everything in common so let's build together
instead of fightin they wars and getting killed together
They don't care about us! They ain't showin us love!
so if you vote, check “other”, write “none of the above”

neo-cons / neo-liberals, like flippin a dime
democrats & republicans - partners in crime
so quit playin the game, it always ends the same
instead flip the script and rip the campaigns
no candidate can bring change, that's not how it happens
change is the product of struggle, action
for everyone screamin out “america's the greatest”
you're ass is the reason most of the world hates us
we're number 1 in surveillance, privacy violations,
number one in the size of our prison population
number one in corporate power, lack of democracy,
the biggest funder of terrorism and hypocrisy
the biggest polluter, the worst on human rights
the biggest bully on the planet, always looking for a fight
it's 1 party with 2 heads, when push comes to shove
so if you vote, check “other”, write “none of the above”

we've been told so long that we need these bastards
that most of us just sit back and believe it
but the nation state is a recent invention
and if we asked our ancestors, they couldn't even conceive it
imagine governing ourselves in our local communities
with real and direct democracy
in a world order based on mutual aid,
real freedom and equality,

Nobody on the ballot, nobody in the white house
nobody in the senate, just turn the lights out
if ya wanna have democracy it's gotta be local
where at least we the people can be more vocal
no more special interests, or lobbying firms
no more pork barrel spending to burn
no more paying for these lyin pigs to oppress us
ordering cops to harass and arrest us
nobody running up the national debt
nobody waging war, and before I forget
nobody in the board rooms, no more executives
no more ceo's who make themselves rich
by cutting our pay, benefits and healthcare
no more taxing us for corporate welfare
no more good cop bad cop hawks and doves
so when I vote, I check “other” & write “none of the above”
Track Name: 1, 2, 3, 4
1-2-3-4

Wind blowin, watchin traffic, sittin at the bus stop
Hoodie up, flowin, and listenin to hip hop
takin root and growin is a feelin that won’t stop
wanna be blowin up we better make this pop
Soon, so we got to make moves like now
Stepping to the stage make the people say “wow”
blowin up the mic, so ya feelin my style
I know I’m gonna make it ya’ll, the question is how
the answer is easy, the method is methodical
shit is so simple that’s it’s almost comical
Break it down to steps to overcome obstacles
one at a time, it’s only logical
the barriers we face are our own creations
but like chariots racin we can get around ‘em
stepping up the game with real innovation
the keepers of the flame and we came to get some

1, 2, 3, 4….

walk the block, check the scene
drop off my rent check and the it's obscene
ya’ll know what I mean - this earth is our birth right
take power back, you could call this a turf fight
my words might stun, surprise, confuse
or they might entertain, enlighten, amuse
I don’ really know, I just speak my mind
Looking for the truth but it’s hard to find
Writin’ rhymes is my curse and salvation
It’s love and rage, birth and devastation
And I just can’t stop, my mind’s aflame
Looking for a way out this no-win game
and it ain’t difficult once ya comprehend it
anything is possible, we are not descended
from cowards - we can do it if we try
freedom is the one thing money can’t buy


1 - break it down into steps, ya’ll it’s easy
2 – work the plan, it’s the only way to be free
3 - each victory builds on the last and
4 – stay focused and grow with passion

call me wolfe tone 2008 – upgraded
like Connolly, callin the shots, stay updated
on the enemies movements, troop distribution
this right here is Rebel Music - the soul of revolution
The new celtic sound, we carry the flame
They call us Beltaine’s Fire, recognize the name
This is anti-colonial, anti-imperial
antidote to a culture that produces serial
Killers, and puts them in office
antithesis of a world run by bosses
so if you love the police, then just shut your mouth
And everybody else – c’mon ’n make some noise
It’s the end of the road for fake gangster pop
So if you’re sick of the silliness it’s time to rejoice
‘swhy we’re bringin the realness, to take ya’ll higher
Burnin through the lies with Beltaine’s fire