Who Breaks a Butterfly upon a Wheel? A Tribute to Pussy Riot

by Turn Me On, Dead Man Recordings

/
  •  

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.

about

Update (February 21, 2014): When Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were released from prison they made it clear they would not go away quietly. shortly after their release they reiterated their opposition to the regime of Vladimir Putin. Then earlier this month, after traveling to Asia and Europe, they performed at an Amnesty International benefit concert in New York with a variety of notable celebrities. The trip also included a memorable appearance on the Colbert Report (www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/432806/february-04-2014/pussy-riot-pt--1?utm=share_twitter). Pussy Riot has also made their presence known at the Winter Olympics, now underway in the Russian city of Sochi. They were detained by the police, allegedly for stealing from their hotel. On February 19th Pussy Riot released a video called "Putin Will Teach you How to Love". The video shows members of Pussy Riot being harrassed by security forces at the Olympic Park in Sochi. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjI0KYl9gWs) The video demonstrates that Pussy Riot's incarceration has done anything but silence them. Their commitment to freedom of expression, environmental protection and gay rights is stronger than ever and their status as global symbols of freedom and human rights continues to grow.

-------------------------------------------------------

Original liner notes (December 23, 2013): Three members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested following a performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow on February 21, 2012. Pussy Riot performed "Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away," a song critical of church support for President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator. They were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility" and sentenced to two years in prison. The case drew international attention and many noteworthy public figures called for their release. In declaring Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International pointed out that Pussy Riot's protest had been peaceful, they cooperated with church officials when asked to leave, and they caused no damage. Though their protest may have been offensive, the right to freedom of expression applies in all cases.

In 1967 William Rees-Mogg wrote an editorial in the Times of London entitled "Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?" in which he argued that Mick Jagger's sentence of three months in jail for drug possession was not just. Rees-Mogg's point was that Jagger received this sentence because he represented a threat to society rather than on the merits of the case. Apprehensions about the influence of the Rolling Stones seem quaint now given how much more permissive Western society has become since the 1960s but rock & roll was dangerous then. The case of Pussy Riot, as much a confrontational performance art collective articulating their views through musical performances as they are a punk rock band, demonstrates that there are places in the world where rock & roll is still dangerous.

The question asked in the title of Rees-Mogg's editorial is actually more applicable to Pussy Riot's case than to Jagger's. "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" is a line from "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot," a poem written by Alexander Pope in 1735. The stanza containing that line is in response to a warning about those in power taking offense to satirical attacks. Beneath the colorful balaclavas, Pussy Riot presents a forceful feminist challenge to those at the highest levels of power in Russia, as well as to Russian society as a whole.

A few months after their convictions, Samutsevich's sentence was suspended on appeal, but the sentences of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were upheld. With less than six months left on her sentence Tolokonnikova disappeared for several days after going a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. Three weeks later her family was informed that she had been taken to a prison camp in Siberia. And then, in a strange twist, on December 19, 2013, a new amnesty law passed in Russia that applied to those "who haven't committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children." Though the amnesty law included a number of activists, the wording of it indicates that it was directed primarily at the members of Pussy Riot. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, both young mothers of small children, were freed today, December 23, 2013, less than three months before their scheduled release from prison.

This compilation collects songs recorded by fellow musicians in support of Pussy Riot during their incarceration. These songs are cover versions of Pussy Riot songs, expressions of solidarity, and calls for their release. From prison Tolokonnikova wrote, "I am grateful to everyone who said, 'Free Pussy Riot!' We are all making history--an important political event--and Putin's system will find it harder and harder to control us." In granting pardons Putin expressed no remorse about Pussy Riot's treatment. His actions were not motivated by conscience, but rather by the politics of the moment. Russia will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics and such cases cast the country in a poor light. Pussy Riot may also have benefited from political intrigue and other high-profile pardons carried out at the same time, or perhaps the pardons were just an attempt to improve Putin's image. Still, had it not been for the public outcry of those concerned about the denial of their civil liberties, as well as a steady stream of statements of support from fellow musicians all over the world, the members of Pussy Riot might still be in prison. Even if Putin had no awakening in regard to the treatment of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the calls to "Free Pussy Riot" did not go unnoticed.

credits

released 23 December 2013

All of the songs on Who Breaks a Butterfly upon a Wheel? have been contributed by the artists under an Attribution-NonCommercial-
NoDerivs Creative Commons license
Liner notes by Todd Gardner
Cover by Asha

tags

license

feeds

feeds for this album, this artist

about

Turn Me On, Dead Man Recordings Washington, D.C.

Turn Me On, Dead Man is an internet radio station on Live365.com playing garage, punk and psychedelia from the last five decades.

contact / help

Contact Turn Me On, Dead Man Recordings

Download help

Track Name: Irreverend James & The Critical Mass Choir - Punk Prayer
Lyrics adapted from Carol Rumens’ English translation

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, impugn Putin, oppugn him,
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, throw the book at Putin, we pray thee!

Congregations genuflect
Black robes brag gilt epaulettes
Freedom's dead and gone to heaven
Gay Pride's chained and in detention

KGB's chief saint descends
Guiding punks straight to the pen
Don't upset His Saintship, ladies
Stick to making love and babies, please

Shit shit so steeped in shit
Shit shit sanctimonious shit
Shit shit self-righteous shit
Shit shit this holy shit

Bless our festering bastard-boss
Let black cars parade the Cross
As preachers school the middle class
Meet them there, and pay in cash
Patriarch Gundy* believes in Putin
Who the hell do they think they’re foolin’?
24 years – how many more?
Vilify every troublesome whore
Bless our rights, forget the rite –
Join our protest, Holy Virgin, please

Shit shit this holy shit
Shit shit self-righteous shit
Shit shit sanctimonious shit
Shit shit this papal bull-
Shit shit self-serving shit
Shit shit this holy shit
Dierdmo Dierdmo Dierdmo Llorda
Dierdmo Dierdmo Dierdmo Llorda
Shit shit this holy shit
Shit shit self-righteous shit
Shit shit sanctimonious shit
Shit shit this papal bull-
Shit shit self-serving shit
Shit shit this holy shit
Dierdmo Dierdmo Dierdmo Llorda
Dierdmo Dierdmo Dierdmo Llorda

*Solo

Virgin Mary, Mother of God
Holy feminist, we pray thee
Virgin Mary, Mother of God
Be a fucking feminist, set Mother Russia free

*Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow, born Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev
Track Name: Alice Bag - Free Pussy Riot
Balaclavas
Bright colors
These pussies don't purr
They scratch eyes and ruffle fur

A punk prayer
Caused a scare
They're incarcerated
But they're underestimated

Cause all around the world
There are women and girls
Ready to shout
We're tired of being quiet!

All around the world
Women and girls
We want them out!
We stand with Pussy Riot!

Set them free!
Set them free!
Set them free!

Balaclavas
Bright colors
These pussies don't purr
They scratch eyes and ruffle fur.
Track Name: R. Stevie Moore - Free Pussy Riot
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Track Name: Barbara Browning - Punk Prayer
Saint Mary, virgin
Drive away Putin

Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners crawl to bow
The ghost of freedom is in heaven
Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB is their saint
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend the holy
Women have to give birth and to love

Holy shit
The shit of the Lord

Saint Mary, virgin
Become a feminist

The church praises the rotten dictators
The holy procession of black limousines
In school you meet with the teacher-preacher
Go to class, bring in money!

Patriarch Gundyayev believes in Putin
Bitch you better believe in God
Chastity belt can't replace general assembly
The protests of our virgin Mary

Holy shit
The shit of the Lord

Saint Mary, virgin
Drive away Putin
Track Name: Baby Bry Bry & The Nighttime Adventure Society - Already Winning
The lyrics to "Already Winning" are based on Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's letters from detention last summer. http://freepussyriot.org/content/6th-letter-detention-nadia-written-eve-verdict

Are you there God? It's me, Putin
Coming to confess my sins
I have been punked by a trinity
Of righteous hooligans
Progoni Putin
Progoni Putin

This is the 21st century
And you can be what you want to be
And you can say what you want to say
And you can play what you want to play
In this world we're living in
There's no iron curtain
You can hide your face behind

The unbelievable is happening
We are already winning
We have learned how to be angry

Scared by a bunch of pussies

This is the 21st century
And you can be what you want to be
And you can say what you want to say
And you can play what you want to play
In this world we're living in
You know dissension is not a sin
And the F word is not a crime

The unbelievable is happening
We are already winning
We have learned how to be angry

Scared by a bunch of pussies
Totalitarian is criminal
And the private is political
We are all making history
Track Name: Acrid Fluff - Pussy Riot
lyrics from the poem "Hope" by Sarah Anne Cox

My mother used to say
no, I will not calm down
rinsing the roots of a coconut palm
here, frost divides the pine needles
and snowflakes aren’t special
just unrelenting
a case of conviction
sewing camp
red vestigial machines
line in sewn
in mouths
Not even
the smudged glass
centuries of appeal
to the painted lady
hot breath whispered
etched in silver
the court room box
can escape iconography
Track Name: Poets of E.L.A.N. - I Won't Call It
(For Nadezhda, Maria, & Yekaterina, with love)

I won't call it alteration
But it's an alternate thing
I won't call it conversion
But I'm going to convert the King!

If you would allow me to…

Put the stone down, right where you found it
Don't be the ending to ourselves

I won't call it a cathedral
But it could be a steeple
Jetting out of the Kremlin
I'm not tryin' to craze thee
I'ma just praying to yuh lady

Please drive your lords away!

All your punks are praying...
Track Name: The New Sex and Drugs - Free Pussy Riot (Start a Revolution)
KGB coming back
Soviet broken back
Kremlin man
with a five-year plan
occupation in Kazakhstan
2 years
a labor camp
for a Punk Rock band
State Police with baseball bats
attack
we stand
United 'till we all fall down.

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
For a revolution
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Vladimir Putin
Free Pussy Riot!

There's rigged elections here
cheap, strong beer
yesterday I rocked
now I'm rollin'
Like Ivan Denisovich.
Putin
Stalin
Expletive
Racist
Fascist
War-Pig
Gonna get a gun
Gonna start a revolution

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
For a revolution
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Vladimir Putin
Free Pussy Riot!
Track Name: El Hombre Percha - Free Pussy Riot
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!