Thursday, August 12, 2010

Keeping the Spirit of Joe Strummer Alive.

Buried between a trailer park, a car repair shop and horse stables rests Strummerville, a charity organization dedicated to keeping alive the spirit of Joe Strummer.

Strummerville helps young musicians who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to get their voices heard by supplying facilities, coaching and recording platforms for young bands. Tucked away under the Westway Highway, Strummerville has a far-reaching impact and a worldwide support.

“Our objective is to give opportunities through music to people that wouldn’t otherwise have them,” says Trish Whelan, the organization's director.

The hub of the operation is a ten-foot wide room (pictured above) with stacks of CDs piled on the ground, posters on the wall, and clouds of cigarette smoke. It looks more like a teenager’s room in the midst of this shantytown and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We support well over 200 bands through our programs and the ages really vary," Whelan says.

Joe Strummer, the late singer and guitarist for The Clash, died on December 22nd, 2002 from a heart defect. The Clash revived rock n roll and reinvented genres as he blended several influences at once to get their own unique sound. Their music has certainly never died, with The Clash being still amazingly popular today and still echoing in the ears of those that witnessed their music live in their heyday. The Clash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Strummer busked in this area before The Clash reached fame. The charity organizers wanted to stay close to their roots to keep their unique edginess in the charity.

- Text by Mark Lauterbach. Top image by Rick Kauffman. Bottom image by George Miller.

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