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Australia and the Spanish Civil War

DigiTrad:
FREIHEIT
HANS BEIMLER
LA QUINCE BRIGADA
LOS CUATROS GENERALES
SI ME QUIERES ESCRIBIR
VENGA JALEO
VIVA LA QUINCE BRIGADA


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GeoffLawes 05 Apr 10 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Gerry 06 Apr 10 - 12:05 AM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Apr 10 - 07:59 AM
GeoffLawes 06 Apr 10 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Gerry 06 Apr 10 - 07:55 PM
GeoffLawes 07 Apr 10 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Gerry 07 Apr 10 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,warren fahey 07 Apr 10 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,Gerry 08 Apr 10 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Gerry 09 Apr 10 - 02:06 AM
GeoffLawes 09 Apr 10 - 12:23 PM
freda underhill 09 Apr 10 - 12:35 PM
freda underhill 09 Apr 10 - 12:41 PM
GeoffLawes 09 Apr 10 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Gerry 10 Apr 10 - 08:29 AM
mikesamwild 19 Apr 10 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,warren fahey 19 Apr 11 - 01:33 AM
GeoffLawes 20 Apr 11 - 06:03 PM
Fergie 20 Apr 11 - 08:24 PM
GeoffLawes 22 Apr 11 - 10:30 AM
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Subject: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:56 PM

Are there any songs about Australian International Brigaders or about the Aussie involvement in that war? Do people in Australia sing songs about the SCW?

There were at least 66 volunteers from Australia Aussies in The Spanish Civil War by David Leach.

Surely there has been some impact of this event upon the Australian cultural landscape given that there was in Britain, Ireland and USA? I am running a perma thread called Songs in English about the Spanish Civil War in order to collect as many titles, and as much information about the songs and their performance, as I can: but as far as I can tell there have not been any any posts from people living in Australia.

If there is no sign of any impact in Australian Folk music this would be an interesting phenomenon in itself and I would appreciate it if some of you Aussie Mudcatters would report back on this. ( Also someone might tell Eric Bogle that there is a gap in the market).
Regards, Geoff


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 12:05 AM

Therese Radic, Songs Of Australian Working Life, has the song, Freiheit, and these notes:

"Although only a handful of Australians volunteered and fought alongside the Spanish republican forces, the inspiration of the International Brigades gave a new significance to the songs of the socialist movements of many countries. Right up to the 1950s songs such as 'Freiheit', from the German International Brigade, 'The United Front Song' (Brecht/Eisler), 'The Peat Bog Soldiers', and the Spanish song 'The Four Generals' were popular as a confirmation that the Australian labour movement was not isolated."

So it appears there was an impact, but the extent of it was an appreciation of the songs written by others.

(I am not an Aussie, but I play one on the internet).


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 07:59 AM

Gerry, surely you've been living here long enough to be an Aussie?

sandra


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 05:32 PM

Thanks Gerry, It sounds like the Ernst Busch's record, Six Songs for Democracy, reached Australia then.

Anything more anyone?


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 07:55 PM

23 years, Sandra, but I don't have the accent, nor the passport.

GeoffLawes, I've also had a look through Warren Fahey's book, The Balls Of Bob Menzies, subtitled Australian Political Songs 1900-1980, but haven't found any mention of the Spanish Civil War.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 05:44 PM

Thanks for looking Gerry. Has anyone got 'Australians in the Spanish Civil War' by Almirah Inglis and if so does she refer to any songs about the SCW?


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 06:20 PM

We have that book in the Macquarie University Library. I'll try to have a look at it sometime if no one on Mudcat has it.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,warren fahey
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 09:42 PM

Sandra alerted me to this subject. It's something I have never thought about but it is a great question. The short answer is that Australia's left-thinking, including all branches of socialism (incl communism) were very interested in the Spanish Civil War and viewed it as an international 'freedom fight'. Whilst I can't recall any particular songs there were several SCW songs included in early Socialist Songbooks published here. I have also seen such songs in socialist newspapers and magazines from the period. The fact 66 Aussies went over has sent me looking. Warren Fahey


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 06:46 PM

I've skimmed most of the Inglis book and found only one reference to an Australian song. A Sydney University songbook, Dirt Cheap, from 1938, had the lyrics of Non-Intervention, to be sung to the tune of Waltzing Matilda. Bits and pieces are given (page 26):

Once a jolly Franco started up a civil war
Liking himself as the top dog you see
....
Aeroplanes from Italy are raining bombs on wrecked Madrid
Gunners from the Volga side are firing merrily
And the League still declares, with the simple faith of infancy
Non-intervention's a reality.

Apparently the song had a go at all the parties to the dispute, but above all, the League of Nations.

Unllikely I'll find anything else in the book, but if I do I'll file another report


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 02:06 AM

Found nothing more in the Inglis book, except this from the Preface. The Preface begins with the lyrics of "The four insurgent generals," then continues,

Eight years after the Spanish Civil War had ended, around vacation campfires, socialist and communist students sang of the defense of Madrid. We sang the Spanish Republican 'Hymn to Riego,' of Hans Beimler, the commissar; we sang 'There's a valley in Spain called Jarama' and 'The Thaelmann Column.' Then, almost 25 years after the war ended, a group of us sang them again, to the piano accompaniment of Tom Lehrer, an American, who knew every word as we did.

I note that this would have been slightly before Lehrer recorded Folk Song Army, and it suggests he knew whereof he sang. In the notes at the end of the book, the author cites "Rebel Songs, edited by Edgar Waters and S Murray-Smith for the Australian Student Labour Federation (1947)" as containing SCW songs.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 12:23 PM

Gerry you are a star! The song , Once A Jolly Franco, is a great find even though it is not complete. I have not come across a song before which is specifically about non-intervention. I am running a Mudcat perma thread which I started some time ago which you might have seen: it aims to build an archive of 'Songs In English About The Spanish Civil War'.LINK HERE
In that thread, in my initial post, I have put an alphabetical song list which operates as an index with links to relevent posts to be found within that thread. I could copy and paste your song from this thread to the other one but I like to make it clear where the credit lies so would you make a post to the bottom of that thread which explains where you found the song and then add the lyrics? I will then put the song in the index and make a link to that post.

The information which you dug out about the singing of songs after the end of the SCW is also very interesting, particularly with regard to Tom Lehrer. I have a Topic index in the other thread in which there is a link to the section which provides links to the section called 'Other Mudcat Threads Dealing With Spanish Civil War Songs' and I shall make a link there to this whole Australia thread.I shall also add a note to the section about Tom Lehrer's song The Folk Song Army, which I will credit to you.

Thanks again for the effort you have put in to this.

Regards, Geoff


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: freda underhill
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 12:35 PM

Check pages 75 and 76 of this well researched paper from the university of southern QLD AUSTRALIAN LITERARY RESPONSES TO THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR . At least three Australian songs from the Spanish Civil War are referred to.

One song commemorates the Australian International Brigader Ted Dickinson. He was jailed in Australia for editing Direct Action, he moved to London where he helped found the anti-Mosley International
Freedom League before leaving for Spain. As second in command of No.2 Company of the Anglo-Irish Battalion based in the Jarama Valley, he was taken prisoner and in the process was heard to say 'If we had ten thousand Australian bushmen here, we'd drive these dogs into the sea.' As a result he was immediately put before a firing squad ? but momentarily before execution he clenched his fist and calmly said 'Salud, boys, keep your chins up!' Communist balladist James O'Sincerity used the format of a traditional IWW song, but purged of its political content, to memorialise Dickinson:

Bolshie, a rebel ?
They dubbed him so ?
Out on a soap box
Years ago!?
There flashes the news
Of him again ?
Now for the toiler
In Bloody Spain. (O'Sincerity)

Dickinson's story was so resonant that even the Returned Servicemen's League celebrated him as an avatar of the ANZAC spirit (Inglis 91). Australian Brigader Bill Young received similar tributes that likewise made an honorary Communist of a non-
believer. In 'Salute to a Comrade', the Communist poet 'F.R.' made Young a hero of Communist internationalism and radical Australian nationalism:

We who are foreigners in our own land,
We who are strangers to our toil,
Glad did we spend our dust
On Spanish soil.
Now 'neath some olive tree
The scent of wattle blows,
And into the bloody Ebro
The River Murray flows. (WW 17 February 1939)

Here's another song p95:

Jack Franklyn, a prominent activist in the Seamen's Union, veteran of the Great War and many city street-battles for the rights of the unemployed, was unintentionally helped on his way to the International Brigade when he was deported by authorities from Darwin to Fremantle. He took a decidedly different view on war, avoiding the usual fatalism, sentimentality and triumphalism of the other poets ? instead, he emphasised loss. His ballad 'Spain' opened: 'A rough and ragged country,/ Red poppies growing wild/ An emblem there in splendour/ Where proletarian died' (WW 6 December 1938). In Spain, Franklyn also composed the unglamorous but now famous 'Song of the International Brigades' in collaboration with the American brigader Joe Frankel, a piece beloved by volunteers at the time:
We have come here from far away
countries,
Bringing nothing with us but our hate: ?
To hell with the Fascist Bourgeoisie.
How they longed to parade thru' our
city!
But we were prepared; they came late!
Then go forward, you soldiers of Freedom:
Our rifles are speaking our hate. (North Queensland Guardian 4 June 1938)


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: freda underhill
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 12:41 PM

As well, here is an interview with John Meredith, Australian folklorist, on Spanish Civil War songs
that he learnt in Sydney in the 1940s. Rob Willis is doing the interview.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:25 PM

Thank You Freda The Phd Thesis looks as if it will be very interesting.

The first song by O'Sincerity is not one I have encountered before and if anyone knows the traditional Industrial Workers of the World song it is based on I would like to know.
I am not sure that 'Salute to a Comrade',the second, was actually a song rather than a poem but I would be pleased to be wrong if anyone knows for sure.

The third song,'Song of the International Brigades'is as the author says , a well known song but I think he was a bit misleading in saying it was composed by Jack Franklyn and Joe Frankel: I think they may have translated it from German because I think it was written by Erich Weinert (but again I am not sure)Here is a YouTube Link to Song of the International Brigades sung by Ernst Busch and on this site are the german Lyrics attributed to Weinert
Original ? German lyrics , Erich Weinert,

Your link to the interview is very interesting and it is a pity it would be so hard for me to get hold of but the song list given is very interesting. Most of the songs are ones which the German singer Ernst Busch recorded in Spain with a few, probably Russian, songs. The songs called Morning Comes Early,and Walking at Night. are completely new to me, Does anyone else recognise them - did they come out of Spain/

Thanks again Freda,: great detective work.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 08:29 AM

There's a song called Morning Comes Early at http://www.reasoninrevolt.net.au/pdf/d0111.pdf
The book was published by the Eureka Youth League, and is divided into Folk Songs and Songs of Struggle, but Morning Comes Early is in the first part. Still, you might find something of interest in the book.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: mikesamwild
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 02:33 PM

I have a book by a fellow sheffield University graduate, Des Speight. It's called -Australia's Spanish Knight 2004 about Richard Bryant ( previously Smith) who took up Australian citizenship. He died 2003 and was an ambulance driver in Spain.61 years after he served he was invested by Juan Carlos I as a Caballero de la Orden del Mérito Civil.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GUEST,warren fahey
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 01:33 AM

The various socialist songbooks published in Australia usually carried songs about the SCW but they were all international songs and for that reason I left them out of my books on political folk song. They were usually for choral arrangements, relatively musically uncomfortable to sing.
W


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 06:03 PM

Thank you Warren. It is worth knowing that someone who has looked as thoroughly as you have, has only come up with the well known international songs and not found any well-known, specifically Australian, SCW songs. So far then the only home grown Oz contribution to the genre seems to Once A Jolly Franco which Gerry found in fragment form in the book by Amirah Inglis. If anyone can add to that it would be good.


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: Fergie
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 08:24 PM

Hi all

I was a member of the Young Socialist League in Sydney when I was a young Irish emigrant to Australia in the mid 1970s. To my best recollection there were at least two songs celebrating Aussie members of the CPA & the SPA that had fought on the side of the republic in the Spanish civil war. I'll try to make contact with some of my old comrades and see if they can recall the words and melodies.

No pasarán.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Australia and the Spanish Civil War
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 10:30 AM

Thank you Fergie. That is great news. Do you remember the names of the Brigaders celebrated in the songs by any chance?


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