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ABCDEFG

Released March 1st 2010.

Seven letters to hint at what Chumbawamba have spent their adult lives doing: fashioning something
weird, funny, eccentric and challenging from a seven-note Do-re-mi of possibilities. Or by another
name, music.

This, the band’s 17th album, is another concept album


(‘concept’ as in ‘idea’. Above all, ideas is what
Chumbawamba thrive on), an album full of ideas
specifically about music. Music both good and bad,
music celebrated and music ridiculed.

Music. Since they’ve been banging away on biscuit tins


and twanging bits of string attached to tea-chests for
the best part of 25 years, it’s probably about time
Chumbawamba turned their attention to this huge,
sprawling, hydra-headed monster. Its history, its
stories, its heroes and its villains. A sweep through
several hundred years of what music means to people
and what it means to the band.

ABCDEFG is musically eclectic and wide-ranging,


from acapella to pop to folk to jazz, a mix-up of ideas to reflect its subject matter. That subject matter
includes a gentle hymn to teenage under-the-pillow discovery of music heard on late-night transistor
radio; a celebration of the marching songs written by soldiers in the First World War; the story of how
people had to battle against State Communist ideology to play their music; a poke at the folk world’s
obsession with collection and authenticity; the story of the concentration camp survivor who disrupted
the first playing of Wagner in Israel by swinging a football rattle.

There’s a lot of stuff on this album – both literate (Chumbawamba love to use music to talk about
history, politics and philosophy) and funny (Chumbawamba would be the first people to poke holes in
the seriousness of this history, politics and philosophy). The stuff on this album is played on a battery of
instruments (by the band) and augmented superbly by contributions on various songs from:

Chopper of Oysterband on cello


Jon Boden of Bellowhead on fiddle
Belinda O’Hooley (ex-Unthanks) on piano

… and various others who don’t get mentioned in the press release because they’re not famous enough.
It’s the music business, what do you expect? An industry built on the ideas of art and ego, entertainment
and communication. Where else other than on ABCDEFG can you hear a song about Metallica’s
sanctioning of their music being used as a Guantanamo torture method? About Stalin’s cultural war
against Shostakovitch? About the ubiquitous iPod headphone tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk drowning out
the birdsong?

As a bonus, the album also features a song written and recorded by Chumbawamba in conjunction with
the No Masters Collective, ‘Dance, Idiot, Dance’ – a response to the right wing British National Party’s
decision to infiltrate English folk music and ‘reclaim it’ in the name of racist bigotry. A lovely
opportunity to ridicule the neo-fascists while rhyming ‘cold lasagne’ with ‘Britannia’.

www.chumba.com • chumba@chumba.com

Released by No Masters Co-operative


www.nomasters.co.uk • info@nomasters.co.uk