Music used for political and protest purposes
By Tony Copple
I have been teaching music to children aged 8 - 10 for the last three months, one lesson a week. Instead of the traditional approach of learning an instrument, I am using a different concept, aimed at increasing their enjoyment of music. In my view this is more important for a lifetime of musical happiness than being able to play an instrument. But I also believe that if they catch the music bug they will be self-motivated to learn to play. So for the 12th lesson we considered other uses of music than just for pleasant enjoyment. A key example is protest songs, and songs used for political and nationalistic purposes. We listened to 29 examples, including a subset of anti apartheid songs. After playing each song up to its punchline we discussed what was the objective or agenda of the song. The rap genre has brought a huge increase in protest songs, and I included several raps. I also know that my choices are skimming the surface, and you would probably have selected others. But as Rick Nelson sang, "You see, you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself.' Some listeners may discern a theme common to some of the songs - advice for life. Not all protest aims to tear down - some builds up.
On the Worcester Report on 10 May 2017 (our six month anniversary of landing in South Africa), I replayed 30 seconds of each song. I wonder how many artists and titles you identified as you listened in.
1 5th Symphony Beethoven 2 This land is your land Woodie Guthrie 3 Blowing in the wind Bob Dylan 4 We shall overcome Pete Seeher 5 Eve of destruction Barry McGuire 6 Universal soldier Buffie St Marie 7 Biko Peter Gabriel 8 Ohio Crosby Stylls Nash & Young 9 I'm going to say it now Phil Ochs 10 There but for fortune Joan Baez 11 Revolution The Beatles 12 Bomb the world Michael Franti 13 The Hurricane Bob Dylan 14 8 Mile Eminen 15 The clashing of ideologies Billy Bragg 16 Meanwhile in Afghanistan David Rovics 17 Here's to the state of Mississippi Phil Ochs 18 Here's to the leaders Tony Copple 19 Decoration day M.L. Leibler 20 Earth song Michael Jackson 21 When a tree falls Bruce Cockburn 22 War-peace L-A Copple 23 People like me K'naan 24 Senzeni na 25 Pasopa verwoerd Miriam Makeba 26 Sobashiya Abazali Ekhaya Omkhonto weSizwe 27 Somlandela Luthuli 28 Bakleli bonke etilongweni Miriam Makeba 29 Everyone deserves music Michael Franti
Listen to the radio broadcast here.
Copples Western Cape