Greentea Peng won’t let London become a Ghost Town
Greentea Peng shares her new video for Ghost Town alongside an open letter about the ongoing gentrification of London and struggles of working people in the UK.
Greentea Peng is known for her spiritually-minded approach to music. Born in Bermondsey, the singer’s work blends neo-soul, reggae and elements of jazz together in a heady concoction designed to soothe the soul. Don’t get it twisted though, just because she’s tuned in to some higher consciousness doesn’t mean she’s uninterested in the earthly realm that surrounds her.
Case in point is her new single Ghost Town, a lament against the gentrification sweeping through London and, it seems, nearly every major city in the world. Inspired by The Specials’ track of the same name, the track sees Greentea declare “you can’t take my city from me”, her voice gentle but defiant over a bass-heavy dub instrumental.
Alongside the new track and Melody Maker-directed video, which we’re premiering today, Greentea has shared an open letter elaborating on the song’s meaning and decrying the ongoing disruption to the lives of working people in the capital and beyond. Watch the video and read her letter in full below.
“Ghost Town is inspired by a Dub Judah dubplate I heard at an Iration Steppas gig and by the Specials’ Ghost Town, but also just by the utter dire straits of our city and the conditions in which our people are being forced to live in. Not just physically but the effects it has on us mentally and spiritually too.
The complete lack of respect for the environment and the people who make London what it is at its actual heart, in the actual ends, that bring the actual character to this place. Not just the tourist attractions but the streets, the public spaces that bring this place to life.
It’s about my feeling of the lack of colour both literally and metaphorically, it’s about the feeling of being in such a big wild city but not being able to actually live in it.
I have mates working two or three jobs and they’re still just about covering their rent. It’s about how difficult it is being a young person in this country, with no prospect of owning a yard, or even having a kid because, why would you? This song is an expression of a feeling of discontent towards the powers that be, it’s a microcosm for what is happening all over the world. The priority of money and wealth over the people, and the repercussions of that. From kids killing kids on the streets for iPhones, to disabled people being forced into work, to the mums having to work extra night shifts so they can afford their kids’ train fares to school.
It’s about teachers having to use food banks, it’s about turning our schools into academies with under-trained and under-qualified teachers and it’s about the misseducation and the lies. Ultimately it’s an observation of the failure of the government. They are failing the young, they are failing the old they are failing the working man.
You only need to open your eyes to see the disproportion and the struggle. Ghost Town is my ballad to London and its people, to all the people to remind them of their place and its magic.”
Greentea Peng plays the Crack Magazine stage at Love Saves the Day on 23 May