July 13, 2020

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The Magnificent Mr Burton


By Daphne Anson


Image credit: Middle East Eye/Ali Harb

What a sad and sorry shambles these recent days have been and continue to be:
– For those of us who remember such events as:the American race riots of the 1960s, and the hope of a new dawn engendered by the Civil Rights Movement and the stance and oratory of Dr Martin Luther King;
For those of us who recall the tragic death of young Australian Jewish scholar Yankel Rosenbaum, so tragically killed amid racial tensions in Crown Heights in 2010;
For those of us who respect America and are grieved to see that country tear itself apart in the wake of the shocking needless death of George Floyd;
For those of us who love Israel and see the way that the enemies of Jews and Israel have been exploiting Mr Floyd’s death for their own propaganda ends, as in the Washington protest pictured above, and in the targeting of synagogues in Los Angeles.

Much has been written on the antisemitism that lurks within sections of the Black Lives Matter movement and within Antifa, and about the lawlessness and looting that has erupted in many American cities (take a look at this video drive-through of Manhattan to see the incredible number of “high-end” stores that were victimised, cleaned out, and are now boarded up!)

In 2015 the superbly gifted and highly likeable young Afro-American bass-baritone Dashon Burton, he of the charismatic  presence and rich deep velvety tones, recorded Plain-Chant for America, a confronting piece that has assumed a fresh relevance now. 

If you have not yet discovered Mr Burton (whose former college roommate and other friends confirm in YouTube comments that he is every bit as kind-hearted and charming as online interviews with him suggest) the first place to make his acquaintance might be this beautiful and hauntingly poignant spiritual from his album Songs of Struggle & Redemption:

Known particularly as a performer of Baroque music, especially Bach and Handel, Mr Burton is very versatile, as his participation (2013) in Lori Laitman’s Holocaust, 1944 shows:
And here’s Mr Burton’s triumphant rendering (2012) of Handel’s rousing The Trumpet Shall Sound, a performance that clearly had many members of the choir enraptured:

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