Let My People Go – Doctor Ravan (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I guess the question is not why artists such as Doctor Ravan are still writing songs lyrically based around ideas of unity, equality and peace, especially when it comes to minority cultures and communities, but why there is still a need for such a movement in this day and age. Music has always been a great conduit for provoking social change. Not only the likes of punk, hip-hop and the conscious soul sounds of the seventies but also through the 60’s protest artists and down the ages through folk music and troubadour traditions as far back as medieval and ancient times. It seems that we never learn, or at least change comes far too slowly. If it comes at all.

So, Let My People Go sits at the cutting edge of a long and proud history of advocates for change wielding songs as weapons, musically it sits in the here and now, lyrically it is a message which has echoed across the ages. It’s a track that sits on hip-hop traditions both in its deft and decisive lyrical deliveries and its beat-driven grooves, but it also embraces threads of forward-thinking electronica which seems to wash and weave its way through the middle ground between the two.

It is a groove that is understated and hypnotic, driving the song forward but never getting in the way of the message. The skittering percussion and the depth-charge beats form the perfect platform on which to layer the aforementioned electronica and other beguiling sonic components and it is across this that Doctor Ravan scatters his mesmerising words.

The message is timeless, sadly, the words are his personal take on freedom, from overall global change to individual liberty. It is a meaningful salvo sitting somewhere between the artistry of the rapper and the power of the preacher, which speaks from the heart and for the world in general, which comes from an intimate place but which is universally relatable. This is music as the sermon, sonic gospels for the modern age. It’s a shame that such a conversation is still ongoing and unresolved, but if anyone is going to step up to the soapbox, it might as well be Doctor Ravan.

Let My People Go is a timely song, especially after recent years where intolerance and political entrenchment seem to be on the rise, where the right-wing seem more empowered than ever, where divisions are rife, where we only hear talk about walls, real or imagined, rather than of building bridges.

Such songs of freedom shouldn’t still be necessary for the modern age, but if there is still a need for them, then Doctor Ravan is the man for the job.

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