Folklore: Let The People Sing
Subject: Folklore: Let The People Sing|
From: Martin Dardis
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 12:10 PM
Some of you will probably be familiar with the following story that happened to a man playing Wolfe Tones songs close to an orange order march in Northern Ireland. The following is from Brian Warfield from The Wolfe Tones who makes his point very well and I for one agree with him.
Let The People Sing, a composition from the pen of Brian Warfield, was written to remember the balladeers and bards, the ordinary people of Ireland, who were forbidden from singing their own songs and telling the story of their country through the only medium available to them, their songs. In generations gone by, it was considered treason to sing an Irish song, and many Irish people paid the ultimate price for singing about their country.
Here we are in 2010, and we are still witness to attempts to silence the Irish ballad and The Wolfe Tones. The Wolfe Tones were shocked to learn of the story of a young Derry man who was handed out a 3 month suspended jail sentence, a £250 fine and a criminal record into the bargain for playing The Wolfe Tones in the vicinity of an Orange Order march!
Sentencing him, District Judge Barney McElholm said it was a forlorn hope that anyone who goes around playing the Wolfe Tones all day could ever have sense talked into them as there senses had probably been hammered into submission. Now what does he mean by this statement? What about the bigots in that sectarian Orange Order parade, what kind of music were they playing, is this not triumphant and purposely provocative to the Nationalist people who are in the majority in Derry.
Remember, The Wolfe Tones music is not sectarian, we call ourselves after an Irish protestant leader, Theobald Wolfe Tone, whose objective was to unite all peoples in Ireland regardless of religion. We do not sing anti Protestant songs, in fact we have many songs heralding the great protestant Irishmen in our history, songs like the Protestant Men, Bold Robert Emmet, United Men, The Sash to name but a few so you get no bigotry from The Wolfe Tones. Our songs reflect the history of our country, history is history, it happened and cannot be changed. The Wolfe Tones are proud to remember the history of Ireland in song.
So in 2010, the song 'Let The People Sing' is as appropriate as it was in centuries past. Remember our history, sing our songs and always Let The People Sing!