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