Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for... Chumbawamba

It's Friday, and that's the perfect time for another earworm of the day!

Chumbawamba were a British alternative music band that had, over a career spanning three decades, played anarcho-punk, pop-influenced music, world music, and folk music. The band's anarchist politics exhibit an irreverent attitude toward authority, and the band has been forthright in its stances on issues including animal rights, pacifism and later regarding class struggle, feminism, gay liberation, pop culture and anti-fascism.

The band is best known for its song "Tubthumping". Other singles include "Amnesia", "Enough Is Enough" (with MC Fusion), "Timebomb", "Top of the World (Ole, Ole, Ole)", and most recently, "Add Me".

Over the years, band members have been asked many times what "Chumbawamba" really means. While there are many speculations, they themselves gave different answers on multiple occasions. According to Chumbawamba's official FAQ:

"Chumbawamba doesn't mean anything. At the time we formed (early '80s) there was a rush of bands with obvious names. It was the time of ‘peace punk' and you couldn't get across a youth club dance floor without bumping into a Disorder, a Subhumans, a Decadent Youth or an Anthrax t-shirt. We liked the sound of Chumbawamba because it wasn't nailing ourselves down. Thatcher On Acid were a good band but it's lucky for them that Thatcher stayed in power for 11 years. If her influence had only lasted 18 months Thatcher On Acid's sell-by date would have come and gone a lot sooner. We wanted a name which wouldn't date."

Members of the band have also given other explanations. On an episode of BBC Two's pop music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks the answer to the question was that they got it from what a monkey wrote on a typewriter when an experiment took place involving monkeys and typewriters (as in the infinite monkey theorem).

In an interview on a German website with Nutter and Whalley, the members claimed that the "Chumbawamba" was the mascot of a football team, Walford Town, which they found in the Rothman's Yearbook, a collection of old facts and figures about British football. Whalley said, "...And we just thought it was funny, so we used the name". There has never been a team in English football called Walford Town, although the name has occasionally been used to represent the local team in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.

In Whalley's autobiography, he says that the name was derived from the chanting of African street musicians which he and Nobacon heard while busking in Paris. However, in a footnote he goes on to state that this is a lie, as is every other explanation that the band have given over the years. According to a Pop-Up Video on VH1, the name "Chumbawamba" is derived from a dream that one of the members had, wherein men were called "chumbas" and women "wambas".

In July 2012, Chumbawamba announced its decision to end the band. On its website the members stated "That’s it then, it’s the end. With neither a whimper, a bang, or a reunion.".

And now... here's today's earworm:

 What does tomorrow bring?

Will it be Depeche Mode?  Diana Ross?  The Divinyls?

or maybe "Dancing On The Ceiling"?  "Dear Rosemary"?  "Drops of Jupiter"?

or perhaps a genre - Disco? Dubstep? Drinking Songs?

Tune in to find out! 

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