The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104999   Message #2163473
Posted By: sian, west wales
04-Oct-07 - 06:45 AM
Thread Name: African American Protest Slogans & Songs
Subject: RE: African American Protest Slogans & Songs
I was just thinking that the protests of the '60s in the USA were certainly fuel for protest planning in Wales - mostly linked with independence or legislative devolution for Wales or Welsh language rights. I wasn't here at the time so I don't know what specific songs were used, although Dafydd Iwan certainly made his translation/ adaptation of "This Land is Your Land" hugely popular (and it remains so to this day). That may not 'count'; I don't know if it played any role in African American protests.

Welsh poet Gwyn Thomas translated the "I have a dream" speech which was set to music by Dr Meredydd Evans, an active nationalist and language campaigner as well as one of the great song tradition bearers of Wales. It was then made hugely popular by singer Heather Jones.

And the clenched fist salute is often seen at Welsh rock and 'pop' festivals - usually late at night, involving a fair bit of alcohol, and by people who are probably too busy in their every-day lives to pull their fingers out and do something constructive for the cause in question. Possibly don't even vote. Weekend rebels.

Singing was certainly a big part of the Greenham Common community in Britain, protesting at the American air base. I wonder if songs are not so prevalent in marches any more because of the sound bite culture of the media - you can pack a lot of message into a few seconds of a chant where no news report would be long enough to include enough of a song to get a message across. Perhaps it could even be argued that in the '60s and '70s songs would never have been well-known if it was just a matter of hearing them on marches; I learned the ones I know because my 'pop' music of the day was Baez, Collins, etc. Might even include Gordon Lightfoot, as "Black day in July" was big with my crowd; possibly not so much so in the States - if memory serves, it was banned, at least in some USA Media?