by Chris Jarvis
In underground music circles, Babar Luck is something of a legend. For more than twenty years, he has been a staple feature of the UK punk scene, blending and smashing genres along the way. Starting as the bassist of seminal London band King Prawn, notorious for their eclectic influences which drew upon hardcore, reggae, metal, punk and hip-hop, Babar has gone on to have an illustrious solo folk career, as well as working on new bands such as East End Trinity and collaborative projects The Babylon Whackers and Suicide Bid, while providing guest vocals for friends and comrades in the scene such as Sonic Boom Six and Random Hand. Babar Luck’s musical outputs have been beyond any doubt, inhumanly prolific.
In all of these endeavours, politics and a social conscience has flown steadily through beats, melody and lyrics. Through a series of questions, The Norwich Radical tried to tease out the reasons behind his politics, the relationship it has to his music, and how he sees his role in a wider political context as part of our series – Music That Matters.
Having spoken to Babar about the links between politics and music, it is clear that he sees them as intrinsically linked and when asked whether music has influenced his political outlook, he answers in the positive – “The voice of the oppressed has been aired in many musical forms. It excites me that people can choose to be raising awareness of things which matter to them. So yes.”
the world needs to hear the cries of the innocent.
Similarly, politics is viewed as central to his own musical work: “I make all music that is loved based. Until we can see the world as one human family, until we can see that an innocent child being hurt, [being] denied basic human rights is our child, the world needs to hear the cries of the innocent. We as humans need to have some portion of time devoted to things more important than our selfish needs.”
Despite Babar being open in his political perspective when speaking to him, and having this bleed directly into the music that he has produced over the years, whether it be classic King Prawn anthems such as ‘Racist Copper’, or his solo works ‘West is Best’, ‘Whiteskinagainstmine’ or ‘World Citizen, he is keen to not pigeon hole is politics in predefined concepts or groups – “I have sympathy for many causes and support a wide world of things that need to be improved. I have never aligned myself with any political group apart from humanity and the everyday living. I have been close, but to paraphrase Mr Marx (Groucho), [I] would not want to belong to any club or political organisation that would have me as a member. My cultural and life experience has told me to steer away from any party.”
In this conversation, Babar makes it clear that he is still enamoured with the underground scene that he has drifted through across his lengthy musical career, as well maintaining faith in his fellow human beings: “I think radical ideas are a must whether they have a platform or not. It is a constant push and pull of dare I say ideas that on the underground level effect the mainstream. So we as conscious, loving humans need to keep loving and stay human.”
And for Babar, change starts within ourselves – ‘The only thing we can really change is ourselves. We can push, pull cajole and irritate the humans who control ideas and governments and leaders, but we need to communicate in a respectful and open way with all people of different ideas to make a better world. Human problems, human solutions. Yes I am an optimist. [I am] also a realist. We must try.’
Babar Luck has just released a new album titled – Babar Luck & the Philosopher’s High: The Path of Human Civil-Lie-Zation.
To read more in our Music that Matters series, click here.