Dave Randall (musician)

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Dave Randall is a British musician, writer and political activist. He is best known for his work as guitarist with Faithless and for his own band, Slovo. His playing credits include Sinead O'Connor, Dido, Emiliana Torrini and 1 Giant Leap. He is author of the book Sound System – The Political Power of Music (Pluto Press 2017).[1] He lives in Brixton, South London.

Musical biography[edit]

Randall joined Faithless in 1996 and remained in the band until 1999, when he left to form Slovo. Their critically acclaimed debut album nommo was released in 2001. During this period Randall also recorded and toured with Dido, Emiliana Torrini, 1 Giant Leap and others. He rejoined Faithless in 2004 and remained with the band until 2011. His solo album, Eight Stories, was released under the artist name Randall in 2004 and a second Slovo album, TodoCambia,[2] followed in 2007.

He then formed the Paris-based experimental band Sleeping in Vilna with vocalist Mike Ladd, drummer Dirk Rothbrust and clarinettist Carol Robinson. In 2012, they released the largely improvised album Why Waste Time. Randall also took up guitar duties with Sinead O'Connor, touring throughout Europe and the US. Recent projects include the eclectic Cosmonaut Volkov with oud master Khyam Allami and the West African inspired guitar duo Abioye & Randall. He currently performs with Roland Gift (Fine Young Cannibals) and the Slovo Sound System.

Randall has also composed music for stage and screen including scores for two feature-length documentary films: Rebuilding Hope (2009) and Witness Bahrain (2014).

Political activism and writing[edit]

Randall has been associated with a number of leftwing campaigns and organisations. He was a member of the Socialist Workers Party (Britain) from 2004 until 2013 and has performed for the Stop The War Coalition, Love Music Hate Racism and the People's Assembly. He is also a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Often Randall has attempted to combine music and politics. He wrote and produced the campaign song "Freedom for Palestine" by OneWorld in 2011 and contributed music to Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership campaign videos in 2015. His own Slovo albums also explore themes of social justice and political struggle.

Randall has given talks about music and politics at a number of universities and festivals and has written a book on the subject, Sound System – The Political Power of Music (Pluto Press 2017).

Tom Robinson's (BBC Radio 6 Music) endorsement of the book describes it as: "A passionate first-hand exploration of the propaganda value of culture - and the ways in which music and politics have always been inextricably linked. Dave Randall traces that link across continents, cultures and centuries since the dawn of recorded time. His broad sweep encompasses everything from the world of today's touring musician to the struggles of Billie Holiday and Fela Kuti, the skewering of Shostakovich by the CIA and the political origins of the Caribbean steel pan. This engaging, hugely readable book describes aspects of the musical world I recognise - alongside other, deeply shocking aspects of which I'd never been remotely aware. It should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the state of the world - and in the essential, life-affirming role music can play in changing it for the better."[citation needed]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Dave Randall interviewed about Slovo's Todo Cambia album". Socialistworker.co.uk. Retrieved 9 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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