Notes from the Away Team in the Studio:
“All the People” ©2010 The Away Team, song by Penny Little
This song brought out of me my love for African Electric Guitar and musicians...In particular, Ali Farkar Toure. He has since passed away but has left an imprint on my being...For this I would like to dedicate my guitar playing on this piece to him.
I also took the liberty and went a little "Ladysmith Black Mambazo" on the vocals as I wanted to keep it "native" sounding and add that "world music" feeling. I also did a little "Aaron Neville" on the "crying" part...
This song contains a strong message relevant to the world today. The people in charge who are largely above the law, often act outside of the law and get away with it because they can. There has to be a better way than this. This song is political and addresses a centuries’ old problem from a slightly different angle.
Both Penny & I worked on drums and various keyboards. I added the bass to the mix, in 12/8 rather than 6/8, so it feels like it’s going across the beat, but it’s not really. Then I came up with a little marimba ostinato riff in 13/8 to weave around the vibe part which Penny was doing in 12/8. They create an interesting interaction like a tapestry in the minimalist tradition as used by the likes of Steve Reich, etc. The way we end the song live takes those same riffs and play them together until we are playing in unison. It’s an interesting technique very rarely used in pop music.
I didn’t really write this to be a political song. I just wrote it straight from my heart one morning singing over the marimba part. I truly believe that we are the power, that we must claim it, we must dream it, give up our fear of dying, begin living, take the risks, believe in ourselves, to create the world we want to live in. I guess that’s political. We’ve performed this at several anti-war rallies, and the song made it into the set on the Unconventional Tour 2008. I wanted the song to feel more “organic” and less electronic than some of our tunes, so I recorded some live shakers and some live congas to mix in with the electronic drums. Ben added exactly the feel we were looking for, plus some great "tribal" vocals.