A revolutionary record label led by a white American woman who sung the blues, hung out with Fidel Castro, and spread the global sound of protest

In 1969, Barbara Dane founded Paredon Records, a label that embodied the (ongoing) struggle for women's rights, racial justice, and the power of protest to force the hand of control. The Paredon Records story began when Dane visited a friend in Cuba, met Fidel Castro on the heels of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and hung out at his Encuentro Internacional de la Canción Protesta (International Gathering of Protest Music). From a transcript of Smithsonian's Sidedoor podcast about Dane and Paredon Records (listen above):

Sidedoor: When they weren't playing music or playing ball with Castro, the group had long conversations about how to bring this revolutionary fervor—and music—back home.

Barbara Dane: One of the things we talked about at these meetings was—we're all doing the same thing in different ways, in different countries. And we're all trying our best to, to unite our various peoples, with music with ideas. Well, how do we help each other do this? And how do we create a worldwide movement out of this?

Sidedoor: So Barbara got the idea of starting a record label on behalf of her new revolutionary friends—to publish their music, on their terms.

Barbara Dane: I thought, "Okay, it's time for somebody to just put this stuff on records and make it available. And if it goes only so far and doesn't go to this ocean of people, that's okay, too, because a little bit is a seed and a seed can grow."