Arrest the President

Already in November of 2018 Ice Cube was rapping for an arrest.
This is Ice Cube: Parental Advisory is in effect.

Mu isamaa on minu arm

I know little about Estonia and that naiton’s ability to resist oppression, but from what little I do know, music, particularly choral music has been instrumental in that country’s struggle to remain its own.
This song, from a recent festival, is just a sample of what those who attend the annual festival experience. Some say the song slipped by Soviet censors, and it apparently became a symbol of resistance to Soviet occupation, eventually outwitting the Soviets and binding the Estonians as a people.

Thanks to the person who provided a translation of the music for the Youtube video.

Those of us from the rock and roll generation can attest to the subversive quality of music, but Estonia set the example long before that..
This just scratches the surface of a phenomenon that builds on an activity that makes us humans and siblings: the magic of song.

Van Dieman’s Land

I’ve been a fan of U2 for as long as I can remember, particularly Bono’s stage presence, the band’s sheer musicality and power, and, Bono’s embrace of progressive causes.
Recently, I ran across U2’s performance of Van Dieman’s Land, a song that calls from memory the convict ships that brought forced settlement to the shores of what is now Australia. It’s older name? The title of this song.
John Boyle O’Rielly led an uprising in Ireland in 1848 and was banished to what was then the Aussie state of Tasmania.

U2’s version, written by The Edge, is based on an old Irish folk song, the River Is Wide.

I’ve included snatches of the lyrics of the tunes that follow.

Now kings will rule
And the poor will toil
And tear their hands
As they tear the soil
But a day will come
In this dawning age
When an honest man
Sees an honest wage.

Here’s the folk song The River is Wide

The water is wide, I cannot get oer
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.

Here’s the old Irish folk song by the same name of the U2 version.

The first day that we landed
Upon that fateful shore,
The planters came round us,
They might be twenty score.
They ranked us off like horses
And sold us out of hand,
And yoked us to the plough, brave boys,
To plough Van Dieman’s Land.

Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)

Woody Guthrie penned this song after 28 migrant farmers, who were being deported, died in a January 1948 plane crash near Los Gatos Canyon, California.

Here, Joan Baez sings the lament in 2017, as only she can, with great help from Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls.

 

“We died in your hills, we died in your deserts

We died in your valleys and died on your plains

We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes

Both sides of the river, we died just the same.”

 

Things haven’t changed that much.

My Thoughts Are Free

Pete Seeger delivers this old tune with emphasis accompanied by a trusty banjo

The operant phrase is translated “My thoughts are free”

I think as I please

And this gives me pleasure

My conscience decrees

This right I must treasure

My thoughts will not cater

To duke or dictator

No man can deny

Die gedanken sind frei.

Beware of Darkness

Among George Harrison songs on the 1970s All Things Must Pass, a masterful album, is this small gem. Among the boogeymen are greedy leaders, saved for the final verse, accompanied by a  sinister echo, appropriately.

Interesting line: “While Weeping Atlas Cedars.” Among fans, it has kicked off a lot of comment, better left to other posts by folks more informed than I.

Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While Weeping Atlas Cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness.

Don’t Let the Bastards…

…Grind You Down

The Toasters, an underground group, cut this tune in 1997, the lively ska beat carrying the protest along:

I’m living in a world where I don’t really fit
Every day walking through the same old shit
I’m gonna get my gun, gonna get prepared
I’m not impressed and I’m not scared.

…Get You Down

Kris Kristofferson, country/rock figurehead, cut his pointed take on the theme in 2003:

And I’ve just got to wonder what my Daddy would’ve done
If he’d seen the way they turned his dream around
I’ve got to go by what he told me, try to tell the truth
And stand your ground