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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
sing4peace Folk Song Past & Present as Social Activism (29) RE: Folk Song Past & Present as Social Activism 14 Nov 09


A couple of things came to my mind on this:

An example of using music as a form of activism - Malvina Reynolds' song "The Judge Said". It was a reaction to a comment made by a judge in a sexual assault case. He said "boys will be boys" and a few other cliches and was lenient with the attacker. Malvina wrote this song, it was made into a 45 record (remember those?) and packaged with a petition to recall the judge. It worked.

At the risk of controversy here, I am of the opinion that the younger generation's culture of rap, hip-hop, etc. IS a genre of folk music. A lot of younger activists - esp. those involved in the anti-globalization protests - do sing, they do rap, they dance in the streets and create off the top of their heads. Lots of them are men and they are doing this sometimes under extremely hostile conditions.

For the most part, I do not care to listen to this style of music or poetry - it has an angry, techno edge that hurts my spirit. Isn't it often the case that the older generation doesn't think the younger generations' tunes are music? I know it was certainly true of Bob Dylan.

I may not like rap but I do have a respect for it and I do recognize the authentic voice of our younger brothers and sisters who are bringing their truth to power - even if it is in a different time signature than I'm used to. Props are due.

There are a lot of musicians/actors/artists of many stripes who are risking their "commercial" interests by taking a stand on the important matters of the day. We just have to look outside of the expected places for them.

Charlie King, Fred Small, Magpie and so many others are still out there using their music to break down walls and build bridges. We are often referred to as "throwbacks to the sixties". Charlie has written some very funny songs about that.

My response to folks who say I remind them of the "sixties" was to put together a program called "A Century In Song". I use songs from the 1860's through the 1960's to illustrate the continuity of social struggle and the songs that came with them. Just the melody to "John Brown's Body" can take us through the Civil War and Abolition into the women's suffrage movement where the song becomes "Woman In Her Sphere". The women's movement helped to birth the labor movement and the song became "Solidarity Forever"...

I know this - songs are powerful. They engage us through our hearts and minds and can cause us to unite for just a moment in a group experience. We can educate through songs, we can liberate through songs.

I think the song "Kumbaya" or "Come By Here" must be a particularly powerful liberation song because it inspires so much ridicule. Maybe we should start a Kumbaya fight back movement. ;-)

OKee. Gotta go now. Nice gabbing with y'all.
Gotta go foment some Evolution...
Joyce


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