Video: Michelle Shocked Plays Reggae For Rallying Thousands, Firefighting Bagpipers Chime In

Michelle Shocked photo headshot

Yesterday’s 04.04.11 National Day of Action encouraged cities across the U.S. to host rallies commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, and inspire voter engagement on labor issues. The movement, hosted on the date of Dr. King’s Memphis assassination, and inspired by the current struggles of union workers to retain collective bargaining rights across the nation, saw various politicians, musicians, and celebrities speak and perform at nation-wide events.

Here in Madison WI, Michelle Shocked, backed by local disco band VO5, dropped in to lend her unendingly enthusiastic voice to an attentive crowd of thousands. We just can’t help but post this quirky moment, caught by journalist and musician Emily Mills, as Ms. Shocked invites bagpipers from the local firefighters union on stage to collaborate on a reggae riff.  The kilt-clad musicians take a second or two to prepare as the spontaneous volunteers hop on stage and inquire what key to play in, and then, they nail it. Now if that isn’t an allegory for the power of collectivity, we don’t know what is.

If you’d like to see Jesse Jackson’s moving speech from the evening rally please see talented videographer Tona Williams’ video clip here.

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