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Opinions please: Protest Singers

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kendall 02 Jan 04 - 02:06 PM
Rapparee 02 Jan 04 - 02:11 PM
Clinton Hammond 02 Jan 04 - 02:16 PM
DebC 02 Jan 04 - 02:18 PM
Charley Noble 02 Jan 04 - 02:23 PM
Kim C 02 Jan 04 - 02:31 PM
Ed. 02 Jan 04 - 02:43 PM
Cluin 02 Jan 04 - 02:46 PM
pdq 02 Jan 04 - 02:47 PM
fat B****rd 02 Jan 04 - 02:50 PM
Clinton Hammond 02 Jan 04 - 02:54 PM
Cluin 02 Jan 04 - 03:05 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Jan 04 - 03:14 PM
harpgirl 02 Jan 04 - 03:17 PM
Ed. 02 Jan 04 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 02 Jan 04 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 02 Jan 04 - 03:27 PM
Kim C 02 Jan 04 - 03:29 PM
Ed. 02 Jan 04 - 03:32 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Jan 04 - 03:34 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Jan 04 - 03:36 PM
Amos 02 Jan 04 - 03:38 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Jan 04 - 03:43 PM
Ed. 02 Jan 04 - 03:51 PM
pdq 02 Jan 04 - 03:55 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Jan 04 - 04:01 PM
Cluin 02 Jan 04 - 04:09 PM
C-flat 02 Jan 04 - 04:28 PM
Cluin 02 Jan 04 - 04:35 PM
Charley Noble 02 Jan 04 - 04:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Jan 04 - 04:56 PM
Kaleea 02 Jan 04 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Les B. 02 Jan 04 - 05:34 PM
Mooh 02 Jan 04 - 05:43 PM
freda underhill 02 Jan 04 - 05:54 PM
SINSULL 02 Jan 04 - 06:04 PM
plum 02 Jan 04 - 06:06 PM
PoppaGator 02 Jan 04 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Chip2447 02 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM
Alaska Mike 02 Jan 04 - 06:55 PM
Gareth 02 Jan 04 - 07:07 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Jan 04 - 07:13 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 02 Jan 04 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,si 02 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,heric 02 Jan 04 - 08:10 PM
Mark Clark 02 Jan 04 - 08:12 PM
MAG 02 Jan 04 - 09:14 PM
Big Mick 02 Jan 04 - 09:26 PM
Fred Miller 02 Jan 04 - 09:40 PM
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Subject: Opinions please
From: kendall
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:06 PM

I don't know what thread heading this should be in, so, I didn't use one. My question is this:

Back in the 60's when our government was out of control, there were more protest singers than you could count. Now, as far as I'm concerned, it is even worse, yet there are no rebels to prove the pen is mightier than the sword. Why?


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:11 PM

'Cause there's no air time, a LOT of apathy, and no money in it. Sorry if I sound a tad bitter and cynical.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:16 PM

More likely cause it didn't change anything then... So why would it be expected to change anything now?


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: DebC
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:18 PM

Hi Kendall,

There are a few. We just aren't hearing about them. Here are four names:

Joe Jencks
Anne Feeney
Chris Chandler
Steve Earl (a wee bit more well-known)

I am sure there are many others, but these are the ones that came to mind just now.

All the best,
Deb Cowan


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:23 PM

About the only political/satirical songs I hear are the Capitol Steps on National Public Radio, and that's pretty lite and only happens once a year. Maybe, Kendall, you'll have to write one yourself, release it, and see who shows up at your door.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Kim C
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:31 PM

I think they're out there - we just don't hear them on the radio. As someone else already said, it's not profitable. Supposedly.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Ed.
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:43 PM

Sadly, the pen isn't mightier than the sword.

Small power the word has, and can afford us
Not half so much privilege as the sword does

Anonymous Pamphleteer, 1649


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:46 PM

Because our society has ADD. Things move faster and faster; nobody stops long enough to listen and are mostly wrapped up in their own little worlds because when they look out they are blinded by all the flashy light thingies going off everwhere all the time. The centre cannot hold.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: pdq
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:47 PM

Rap is protest music, Kendall...I'll send you some...and some ear plugs...


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: fat B****rd
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:50 PM

Good point pdq, Rap seems, of all genres, to enrage some 'catters.
I think the late Joe Strummer made a good point when he said that he tried to persuade people not to vote for the wrong person and if they didn't learn then - then they're not going to now.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 02:54 PM

" The centre cannot hold."

That implies there ever was a centre...


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:05 PM

I blame the media.

And the church.

And my parents.

And Elvis.




But not William Shatner.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:14 PM

Rap used to be be more protest than it is now... seems like the primary protest is now that guys aren't getting enough

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: harpgirl
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:17 PM

Kendall, for my money, John McCutcheon fills this bill but as he notes, the songs that we call protest songs don't pay the bills because they aren't popular. But you can hear some of his wonderful Protest songs on his website.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Ed.
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:18 PM

Jerry,

I'm not a rap fan myself, but your comment is uninformed and prejudiced.

I'd have expected better from you.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:26 PM

Hey Ed

I'm informed and not really prejudiced.

Rap sucks. Jerry's right.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:27 PM

I just found out that Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine ("a politically charged rock band" and my grand daughter's favorite group) until they broke up and now playing in Audioslave, has recently begun performing folk songs as the Nightwatchman.

This, he says is "..an extension of my politics. Then again, some of the songs are not explicitly political... Once you prick the vein you never know what is going to come out."

Two years ago he formed Axis of Justice, an organization to "…bridge between progressive-minded musicians, fans of rock & rap music, and local grassroots organizations."

There's an interview in the January 2004 issue of The Progressive and that's where I got all this.

He says "People will read a book or pamphlet only once, but a song they can sing again and again in their heads."

Sounds to me he's on the right track; I want to check him out farther.

And it seems to me it's the men with pens who give instructions to the men with swords. For instance, all our soldiers in the Near East didn't just suddenly decide to go there on their own; our Fearless Leaders are well known to have "other priorities" than using the sword themselves. And they're dangerous.

clint


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Kim C
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:29 PM

I'm not going to side with Jerry or with Ed but I have to say, that most of the rap music I have been hearing on mainstream radio in my particular market (Nashville, TN) is, in fact, sex-related. (Nelly... 50 Cent... Missy Elliot) I do realize, however, that's only a small part of what's being recorded and sold.

Regarding Missy Elliot, though, it's kind of interesting to hear a woman addressing subjects that have been traditionally addressed by men. But that's another story.

Back to regular programming.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Ed.
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:32 PM

Rap sucks

Does it? I hate it myself, but loads of young people love it. Who are we to argue with them?


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:34 PM

I would also add John Flynn to the top of Deb C's list, as well as people like Rod MacDonald, SONia, Ani DiFranco as well as the "old guard" such as Tom Paxton, Kim & Reggie Harris, Utah Phillips and many others who are out there on the lines. I hear numerous "protest" or "topical" songs from a variety of artists, not all of who specialize in that type of music.

I think selective memory also tends to cloud our memories. I would turn Kendall's question around and ask "who were the protest singers in the 1960's?"    Sure I remember songs from people like Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Peter LaFarge, Peter,Paul & Mary and Buffy Sainte-Marie, but even these artists did more than just sing. They appeared in demonstrations and worked for change.   If we think back on the 1960's, there were LESS outlets for this type of music in the media. Certainly top-40 radio wasn't playing the protest songs of Phil Ochs. The outlets were the WBAI's and college radio stations of the day, and the same outlets exist today.

I challenge that there are just as many artists today involved in such causes. Folk music may not be as "mainstream" as it once was, but there are still musicians singing about important issues.   As for the pop music world, it isn't just Britney and Justin. There are messages getting out from some artists, just as they did in the 60's.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:36 PM

I don't hear much rap in which I can hear the societal concerns so present in 60s protest (folk-style) music. But true I find modern rap much harder to listen to musically than I did the first steps into rap, in which, even with an outsider's ear, I could hear the rythms.

But I was going to say that I do find that one of the few things that is nice about the present UK government (and I would have guessed much the same about the US) is that so many of the songs I learned when I was first revolting ("the students are revolting") are now again very relevant.

Let's see - just a few -

Eve of destruction (change refrain to "Tony believes they had the means of destruction")

Masters of War.

We shall overcome.

(True traditional folk) Rigs of the times.

Shoop Shoop (the vote song).

Times they are a-changing.

All my trials.

Streets of London.



The venality of central government has not changed. The greed of mainstream society has not changed. Do we need new protest songs, or wil the old ones do?


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Amos
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:38 PM

Well the musicians in the 18-24 range that I know disdain it as highly unmusical and under-disciplined.

And I agree with them!! :>)


A


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:43 PM

Talk about thread drift - now we are getting on the "is rap music" thread which was talked about ad nauseum. Can't we stick to the subject and agree to disagree about rap??


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Ed.
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:51 PM

Ron,

I fear that you're missing the point if you wish to 'unentagle' rap and protest songs.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: pdq
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:55 PM

Ron...even if the subject of Rap is not always protest oriented, the attitude is. We have "protest overlaod" condition, and people are no longer listening.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 04:01 PM

PDQ - First, I have nothing against rap. I agree that rap has strong political content and attitude. I am not a fan of style, but I do appreciate what the artists are doing.

I see your point about "protest overload", but I'm not sure if I agree.   I think part of the issue is that most protest songs tend to preach to the choir.   That isn't a bad thing, but it does tend to create an "overload" of sorts.   

Ed - I guess I am missing the point because I don't understand what you are trying to say.   My "point" was that this discussion should not turn into an arguement for rap music, pro or con.   That has been discussed in other threads.   The "rap is music" discussion really doesn't have anything to do with Kendall's request for a discussion of where are the protest singers.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 04:09 PM

I would say more "attitude overload" rather than "protest overload".


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: C-flat
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 04:28 PM

The music business is largely concerned with youth culture and the truth is that todays youth are less politically minded than those of the days of the protest-song-era. Even without neccessarily understanding the issues, it was difficult not to get swept up in the many student movements that were around then. Maybe it was the excitement of discovering that the young actually had a voice and maybe that fact is taken for granted today, to the extent that it isn't used much.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 04:35 PM

It's mostly the idealism of youth needed for popular protest and they are mostly watching the T & A and washboard abs paraded about on MTV, to a mind-numbing industrial backbeat.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 04:43 PM

It's about time to clear the air here!

What rhymes with "Bush"?
What rhymes with "liar"?

Maybe it don't need to rhyme...

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 04:56 PM

If the generation from the "protest-song-era" was more politically motivated, then how did the world get so messed up? If we were really that much more involved, don't you think some of the problems we face today would have been solved a long time ago? This is a generation that protested the Vietnam War yet managed to get Richard Nixon elected president. I don't mean that as a complete knock, I am just trying to point out that apathy is not a new phenomenon in 2004.

The youth of today are doing their part. When I look at the faces in the crowds that protested the war last year, the majority appears under 25. When I see groups helping to feed the homeless, I see young faces pitching in. They are out there.

MTV? Have you watched more than just TRL?   MTV has produced some excellent documentaries dealing with important issues. Tune in January 14 to see Gideon Yago's documentaries on Iraq where he has interviewed Iraqis as well as American soldiers on how the war is affecting young people.   MTV also is heavily involved with Rock the Vote which has helped get young people to the voting booth.

Sure, those of us over 45 might not care for the music, but I don't think we are paying attention to what is really being said and rely on sterotypes that have been perpetuated.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Kaleea
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 05:05 PM

Kendall,
    You are right! The gov't is worse, world & national conditions are worse, & there does not seem to be the big thrust among our youth to protest as in the 1960's. Instead, they are taking college courses about the 60's! I have heard "protest" of sorts songs from the youth of today, and most of them have their own they-recorded-it-themselves CDs for sale on they-built-it-themselves-but-it-ain't-mainstream websites, which is good but not in the public eye. Much of it may not be within my normal musical tastes, but little current music is--due to my geezerosityness syndrome.
    While much of the music tends to be in the "drop out, tune out & turn on" genre, I have heard songs which suggest that the listener actively march, sing, petition, etc. for whatever cause. I agree that there are fewer protest marches & sit-ins & anti-whatever rallies. There tend to be more organized events inside a building, but a few are held outdoors. I have found a few websites for various peace, environmental, & special interest causes which tell of local events.
    When my nephew became active in the world peace scene, I taught him some good old protest &/or peace songs. He invited me to a regional--which led to a national--meeting of youth. The youngsters were quite receptive to this old gray gal with hippie-ish ideals of peace. I taught them some of the old protest songs & a few international songs including a couple of Chants by an (India) Indian Guru, & suggested that they ask their grandparents about the protest rallies & sit in's etc of the "olden days," & that they should ask their grandparents to participate alongside them. They shared some of their songs with me & a few hundred of our closest youthful friends. My nephew & I heard back from many of the kids that their grandparents, indeed, were willing to work side by side with the kids for the cause of peace. Amazing, huh?
    Sooooo, if you have a fav cause, talk to your kids, grandkids, nieces/nephews, kids you know, or do a search & check out the websites & get your arthritic backsides out of your recliners & find a local group & help the youngsters know the power of the pen & the guitar (or whatever) & voice! You might want to take your celebrex along.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 05:34 PM

Kendall - I suspect it's because the media isn't as enamoured with today's protestors as they were in the 60's. Back then seeing cute hippy chicks stuff flowers down the barrels of National Guard guns was a good "human interest" bit on the evening news. And, if the cameras happened to catch some earnest youngsters strummin' and singin' for all they were worth in front of a crowd of hundreds, then the protest singers got their brief moment in the sun.

Now, the station owners - radio & TV - are generally hard-nosed businessmen who'd rather have right wing mouths like "Rush" espousing business oriented issues (sometimes indirectly)


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Mooh
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 05:43 PM

Protest singers? You gotta be kidding! There are lots of them as already listed here, but corrupt-big-business-corporate-hate-and-war-mongering-polluting-thieving-imperialist-bastard-elitists have another agenda. Even the lowly Dixie Chick who makes one timid remark gets blackballed, and they're pretty establishment compared to real protest songers.

Take a look around, how many of anyone wants their greed-driven lifestyles and comfort zone threatened by outside thought?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: freda underhill
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 05:54 PM

In Australia we have a number of choirs around the country whose purpose is to turn up to sing protest songs at rallies, marches & various community events. These include The Solidarity Choir, the Sydney Trade Union Choir, the Illawarra Trade union choir, the People's Chorus (just in NSW) & more.

The Solidarity Choir was the first of these choirs, formed in 1987, when Oliver Tambo, then President of the African National Congress, came to Sydney on a speaking tour. Sydney-based anti-apartheid activists brought together ANC members and Australian supporters to learn the anthem Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica and other freedom songs to sing at a public meeting at Sydney Town Hall on 30 March. It was so much fun that the members decided to continue singing together. And so the choir was born!

The Solidarity choir does about 40 gigs a year, at rallies, fund-raisers for a wide range of community groups and solidarity movements, and folk festivals. Some of performance highlights over the years have been:

Our first performance in 1987, singing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika for Oliver Tambo and the African National Congress
Performing Miguel's original choral piece 'No Wealth From War' at a demonstration protesting against the AIDEX arms exhibition in Canberra in 1991
Singing with four other choirs for Nelson Mandela's visit in 1992, at St Mary's Cathedral and on the steps of the Opera House in front of 10,000 people
Singing for Bishop Desmond Tutu's visit in August 1993
Performing at the 1994 and 1998 National Folk Festivals in Canberra - both on our own and with six other trade union choirs from around the country
Singing at Petersham Town Hall in 1994 to celebrate the election of Nelson Mandela to the South African presidency
Singing for an anti-gun rally in the Domain, Sydney, in 1996
Performing at the opening of the 1997 ACTU (Australian Trade Union) Congress in Brisbane, as part of a massed choir of more than 100 voices from eight trade union and community choirs - premiering a new composition written for the event
Singing at the Australians for Native Title (ANTAR) rally in support of the historic Wik decision, in the Domain, Sydney, in October 1997
Perfformances at the Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland (over 90,000 attended the festival)
Singing at the party for Mick Dodson, aboriginal activist and former Social Justice Commissioner, on his retirement from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission
Closing (with the Sydney Trade Union choir) the mass rally in support of the Maritime Union of Australia at Sydney Lower Town Hall in February 1998, and singing at crack of dawn picket lines throughout the waterfront strike
Supporting the Song Company at the Sydney premiere of the 'Quito' East Timor song cycle, Newtown Theatre, in August 1998
An evening of choral music for International Women's Day, St Stephen's Church, in March 1999
Premiering Miguel's arrangement of Grandola Vila Morena at the Portuguese National Day Festival, Portuguese Club, Sydenham, in June 1999
Entertaining the participants at the National Social Policy Conference dinner, Water's Edge, Sydney in July 1999
Opening a series of citizenship ceremonies for South Sydney Council, at Paddington Town Hall and Redfern Park
The mass rally in support of East Timor, Hyde Park, Sydney, in September 1999
Supporting Kavisha Mazella at the Three Weeds, Rozelle, in September 1999
The inauguration of the Korean Tilers' branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Campsie, in November 1999
Supporting Roy Bailey at the Three Weeds, Rozelle, in April 2000
Singing for the mass rally in support of East Timor, Hyde Park, Sydney, in September 1999
Singing at a midnight vigil in Sydney on the eve of the East Timorese independence referendum, September 2000
Singing at the Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge in May 2000
Touring the UK and Ireland in July 2001 -- including performances at the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival, the Social Policy Association conference dinner in Belfast City Hall and the Sidmouth International Folk Festival, plus other highlights too numerous to mention!
Singing at the rally in support of asylum seekers and refugees, Villawood Detention Centre, September 2001 ..and more.

these choirs are really inspirational, sing very well, and are great fun. they have been part of a social movement of music to uplift and motivate people in whatever cause they are working for. the solidarity choir went on tour to the UK in 2001 and met some similar choirs in London and Wales.
(I have to learn how to do those blue clickies)


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 06:04 PM

There is no draft. Young people forced to fight whether they agreed with the cause or not and their parents and friends and wives were a group receptive to the peace message.

How ironic that the young men with exemptions (union members whose work was critical to the war effort...the government's claim, not mine) proudly waved the flag in the faces of those who were marked to go. The middle class could take refuge in a college exemption. The poor could not. Were the draft to be reinstituted today not only would that same middle class be unable to hide their sons in colleges but their daughters would be prime meat for the slaughter as well. And then the protests would go mainstream.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: plum
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 06:06 PM

i think that the problem is that if we choose not to let it bother us, all the bad stuff going on won't affect us. For a lot of people, wars far away have no physical impact of them, a child starving in Africa has no impact on their lives, people being exploited doesn't affect them. And this may be a cynical point of view, but i think a lot more people would be protesting if it was about they themselves being hard done by. i don't see too many young protest singers in mainstream culture protesting on behalf of others. its often they are protesting for themselves, but it also happens to be an issue in other people's lives too.
I think many of us in western culture are so caught up in our problems we choose to ignore the plights of others who are much worse off. so is the question that we don't care enough anymore? Because if we don't care, how much impact will it have on you? For a lot of people, only a guilty conscience, which they will ignore as best they can.
but you know if anyone was screwing them over in even the smallest way, they'd be the first to moan and complain about it.
So to answer where are all the protest singers, and particularly the young ones, maybe they aren't bothered enogh to protest. And i know this doesn't apply to everyone, but a lot of people from my school went on the anti war marches not cos they were desperately against the war, but because they want to be some cool peace loving john lennon-esque hippy. Because lets face it, going on a march was quite a trendy place to be for a lot of young people, and their reasons for being there may not have been the best ones.
i'm not trying to say all young people are ignorant, uncaring idiots all caught up in themselves and their image, cos i'm 16 and i don't think i'm like that and i know many people who aren't either, but a fair few are and i think many children are growing up learning that they can get away without worrying about others, so they won't be protesting.

And i'm sorry it took such a long time to get that all out.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 06:13 PM

Back in the 60s, being subject to military conscription (the draft) made "protest" extremely personal for huge numbers of young men in the US. Factor in the girlfriends, siblings and (sometimes) parents of guys who could be involuntarily inserted into a kill-or-be-killed situation, and you had a critical mass of highly concerned people.

However screwed up and and dangerous the current world situation might seem to you or me or some hypothetical young person, the same life-or-death immediacy (**MY** life or death, that is) just isn't there.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: GUEST,Chip2447
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 06:42 PM

Maybe its because the World isn't as bad as some of us think. Perhaps, the ideas and mores of society havent been offended enough to warrant protest by the general public. Maybe we've become jaded, or maybe its only a fraction of the population who feel like things are going to hell in a handbasket. Perhaps people are tired of naysaying and doom mongering and want to look on the brighter side.
Personally, I think that there is more to the situation than can easily be explained.

Chip2447(not even an amature sociologist)


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 06:55 PM

Don't you worry Kendall. As soon as Dubya's minions reinstate the DRAFT, all those 18-25 year olds will suddenly become VERY political. Once that age group opens their eyes to the danger they are in, I believe protest songs will once again hit the TOP 40.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Gareth
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 07:07 PM

Hmmm ! - Speaking from the UK side of the pond I would dispute the statement "our Government is out of control" - Your government may be, but at least amongst all the crap, lies and direct encouragement to anti working class enactments that GWB Jnr espouses, there is one beacon of decency, the removal of Saddam Hussain.

Not that this outways his other sins.

I suggest that the removal of the draft might be a cause for the downsizing of musical protest.

But then no one, not even DougR, can claim that GWB Jnr volunteered to put his own life on the line in Viet-Nam. That is a pity for if GWB Jnr had been in that position, mixing with conscripts etc., seeing life from the fire line, his attitude might be different.

But on the subject of "RAP", I fear that I must sympathise with the views of Kin Howells MP. Any music that treats firearms as "fashion accessory" is out of order. - At least in Country & Western the young Cowboy who "took his guns to town" tended to die with his boots on, either meeting a faster gun, or dangling on a rope.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 07:13 PM

Les B. hit on a good point. In the 60's the anti-war movement (and other movements) made for good television. There were also much better spokepeople. Abbie Hoffman made for great theater. He knew how to work the media unlike many of the activists today. Whenever you hear a spokesperson or a singer today, they are USUALLY (emphasis on usually because there are no definites) very somber and try to get out as much information as possible in the brief time the camera is turned on. IT IS BORING.   As much as I detest the bile he spits out, Rush Limbaugh knows how to work his audience. The left does not have anyone like that today. Sure there are very good speakers, but I have yet to see one that can reach across an audience they way an Abbie Hoffman could. It is one thing to have an anti-war protest, but it is another to levitate the Pentagon. Are the cameras going to follow someone who is holding a placard or someone who is creating a moment.

Likewise, if you ask someone with only a casual interest in music to name an anti-war song from the 60's, I would bet the majority would first name "Feel Like Fixin to Die Rag" - even if they don't know the name of the song. It's sheer irreverance grabbed the listener and they couldn't help but join in.

Again, to get back to the original topic, I think the youth of today have things well in hand, probably better than we did at their age. All of us weren't hippies in the 60's and not everyone protested the war. We had our share of slackers and people who only cared about getting high or saving their own ass. Life hasn't changed, just the clothing. Come to think of it, even that hasn't changed radically.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 07:28 PM

Universities, which were a center of protest in the 60's, are totally different institutions nowadays. Liberal arts education in which students are encouraged to ask tough questions has largely been pushed aside by business and computer science programs. Most students today are looking for whatever job skills they need to be able to afford a BMW and a wide-screen TV, not answers to perennial moral questions. Why would today's university students want to protest against an Establishment that most of them are only far too eager to go to work for?

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: GUEST,si
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM

Protest singers since the sixties? Those who spring to mind who have used their voices to express their opposition to differing issues, would be ------Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, Joe Strummer, Bono, Peter Gabriel,John Lydon, Shane McGowan, Frank Zappa.

Maybe Zappa would count as sixties too though.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM

Sorry Bruce, but it was the generation that attended those universities in the 60's that made the demand for the BMW's and widescreen TV's you talk about. Who do you really think is buying them?    The universities of the 60's were only centers of protest because that is where the kids were hiding out from the draft.

Let's be honest here. Apples never fall that far from the tree. It seems that a lot of people are blaming the kids for not caring enough, but they are just emulating their parents. I think the blame that is being aimed at today's youth is coming from an older generation that is really angry at themselves for selling out.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 08:10 PM

I buy Ron's theory above. Further, I imagine there are more protest singers than ever, as with any item, but that the massive diversity of available products makes them less visible. Back in the day (the sixties => seventies), marketers were focusing their talents on the demographic which just happened to be the "protest" generation.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 08:12 PM

I confess I passed over this thread several times thinking of Clint Eastwood's line, in one of those Dirty Harry films, about opinions.

I understand exactly what you're asking, Kendall. I sang, and still sing, a great many of the old labor and protest songs. I was proud to march with Dr. King, I was proud to be on strike, I was proud to be a voice of dissent at labor conventions and, at the time, I felt as though we were making some progress. I didn't go to Woodstock 'cause it was only a rock festival and I thought, at 27, I was pretty well beyond that. I didn't see rock and roll as being about peace, I saw it as being about money.

The young leftists were either competing to see who could become the most radical or, like Jerry Ruben, chucked the movement and joined Wall Street. They lost track of making the world a better place and settled for just attracting attention. As Charity suggests, a lot of people joining marches may merely have been curious and not really thinking for themselves at all.

At the time, we thought we were working to make society live up to its potential. We'd been raised to think citizens had some responsibility in that area. We didn't really mind taxes, they were just the price of having this amazing country. We thought mainstream society had lost its bearings and needed some help getting back on track. The situation today is far, far worse than our worst fears of forty years ago. Begining in the '70s and lasting into the '90s our society abandoned its focus on the success of the larger group and replaced it with a completely narcissistic veneration of ego. Everyone was admonished to "do your own thing" without regard to consequences or the needs of others.

We (Kendall, me and others of our advanced age) were raised on quaint slogans like "I am third" and actually took the golden rule seriously. We thought having such amazing relative wealth also came with certain responsibilities. Today, it's everyone for himself and damn the rest.

No one today really believes that a protest will have any effect. Perhaps it began in Ohio at Kent State. It was completely unthinkable that troops would actually shoot unarmed students, but there it was. We were back in Ludlow Colorado or the 1913 Masacre. We wondered how soon people would be hanged in Haymarket Square.

Fuled by undreamed of avarice, unbridled capitalism together with organized crime has literally purchased or stolen everything on a global scale. Our governments, our representatives, our watchdogs, our media, our natural resources, our religious institutions… everything.

Forty years ago, the idea that regular folks could just make their own music was radical for most city people. We'd come out of the social straightjack of McCarthyism, we'd figured out that ducking under our desks wasn't going to protect us from a nuclear (nucular?) blast. We'd seen, through Ghandi and King, that a large mass of peacful protesters could have an effect and we were in the midst of that short period during which governments thought twice before pulling the trigger. All we had to do was remind people of their best instincts and let them see what they were condoning by inaction. Once they saw the connection, most people were, to some extent, behind the movement.

The value of protest was in how it was viewed and reported by the media. If police were photographed beating people because they wanted to vote or go to school, there was outrage among nearly every segment of society. People could be persuaded to vote for the best interests of the whole society. Today's "me first" electorate can't see beyond the two SUVs in the driveway.

I don't know how to fix any of this stuff but I keep thinking Canada and France look pretty attactive.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: MAG
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 09:14 PM

One younf reservist I know is trying real real hard to get out of it. She is of the generation that didn't yet understand the War Machine and how perpetual it is.

Now that young Americans are dying the enlistment rate is going to plunge, and then we'll see. I imagine the re-up rate will sink, too.

There is a reason I was singing Zeke Hoskin's "Freedom Toast" at every song circle in my vicinity. Humor with a point. Put Zeke on your list and no, he doesn't get any air time either.

At one song circle where I sang the song Hank Kramer was also. I greatly admire his singing and playing, and I also hate his politics.
(From his time in special ops: "Rio Coco is muddy and wide, alleluia; Sandinistas on the other side...")

The protest songs just need to be better than the flag-waving crap.

Pete Seeger's whole life is a shining example.

Oh, and all us boomers were coming of age in the 60's and    70's. We will ALWAYS be the pig in the python.


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Big Mick
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 09:26 PM

Kendall, in my solo career I consider myself a protest singer. I try to peform songs and write lyrics that draw attention to injustice the way that Rick Fielding did in Voices of Struggle, Eric Bogle did in a number of songs such as Chains and Green Fields of France, etc. Anne Feeney gets a strong credit from me. There are a fair amount of social activist singers out there, but airplay is non existent. We rely on our live performances. I am trying to put the bucks aside for a CD of issue related original and others stuff, but I know it will not make any money. It will be more of a statement. That is fine.

The key, as Ron pointed out, is being more of an activist who performs than the opposite.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Opinions please
From: Fred Miller
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 09:40 PM

I'm not sure which is worse, there being no money or media attention in protest songs, or there being money and exposure in it. After all, it's not really that hard to rhyme "Bush" or "liar" (he burned his tush/his pants were on fire) and even "Osama" makes an easy rap rhyme for "yo mama." I'd rather not see again the equivalent of Rob Reiner as a hippie singing "blowin' in the wind" on an episode of Gomer Pyle, which I really did see. Rap began as a very crude, homespun and innovative style with lots of interesting artistic implications and anecedants, and its popularity has rapidly turned it into a stupid cartoon parody of itself.
My opinion is it's a good thing to be able to throw a rock and not necesarily hit a political protest singer, because it's artistically easy to fake it, to make your loose stuff look tight, and to make yourself think you're doing something important by cynically cashing in on a trend--just ask Bob Dylan about Masters Of War.


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