The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67546   Message #1132206
Posted By: Felipa
09-Mar-04 - 01:14 PM
Thread Name: Protest Songs at Greenham Common
Subject: RE: Protest Songs at Greenham Common
You can't kill the spirit ... it goes on and on and on... .... I read that one of the activities in Ireland to celebrate International Woman's Day this week is a protest at Shannon airport against US military use of the airport.

Like Boab and Liz, I was only a brief visitor at Greenham; I went there when I was in the area to interview fiddler Lucy Farr. I was more active in CND than in specifically women's anti-war activities (the latter were not confined to Greenham Commons). It was mostly the women's groups, however, that I remember singing. And the songs we sang were more feminist than pacifist. A couple of other songs that I remember from women's demonstrations against Cruise and Pershing were one with a hymn-like tune -
Woman power, woman power, woman energy
We are rising, no surprising, far as the eye can see.

and an adaptation of a well-known old song -
Oh, sister don't you weep don't you moan
Oh sister don't you weep don't you moan
Women's army is marching [orWomen together are marching],
Oh sister, don't you weep.

with verses such as
God gave Noah the rainbow sign - She said, "No more fire, it's the women next time"
Women's army is marching, Oh sister don't you weep.

I can't vouch for the singing of these two songs at Greenham Common specifically, but it seems likely that they were. "Women's Army" pre-dates the Greenham occupation; lyrics are published in the Hackney & Islington Music Workshop songbook "New Songs New Times" with this preface, "The origin of this song is unknown. The tune is taken from an old spiritual:'Oh, Mary, don't you weep.' Women have sung 'Women's Army' on women's day marches and other marches throughout the country. It has been made widely known by the Stepney Sisters, the women's rock band."

I had a cassette tape of Greenham songs. It had a rainbow on the cover. It may have been called "Bringing Greenham Home".* I didn't have the tape long, it got lost serving the cause. I lent it to the sound man to play in-between acts at an outdoor gig for peace and we couldn't find the tape at the end of the day. Derry Anti-Nuclear group organised a couple of these events, with local bands plus guest speakers (one of whom was Peadar O'Donnell, who had been a founder member of Irish CND)

* not too sure about that title - but Peggy Seeger composed a song called "Carry Greenham Home" and there's a video also called "Carry Greenham Home"

It sounds, Glynis , like you are doing a research project, or writing something or producing a programme. Kindly fill us in on some details.