Thursday, 5 February 2015

Gareth Sager: Symphonies For The Devil

Never mind … “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie, Dylan’s “With God On Our Side,” Marley’s “Exodus,” the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The UK” and ”Forces Of Oppression” by The Pop Group …
Long before these chants against evil oppressors were penned, deep in the bosom of the good folk of Europe and further afield, there were rallying calls to arms. Rallying calls or the basic blues moan of the servant against the master …
National anthems have become the stock soundtrack to events judged to be of national importance, a sort of aural wallpaper that is so familiar to us now that we’re in danger of overlooking what they really are.
And the point is this: National anthems are folk songs pure and simple, and not only that, folk songs that are bellowed out millions of lungs all over the world, with gusto, passion and an earnest commitment that most folk singers could only dream about.
Like all good folk culture, the national anthem is adaptable and co-opted to a multitude of ends: an out-of-tune sing a long before a football match or a call to revolution for the French with the “La Marseillaise.” In the 1970s and ’80s, “Amhran na bhFiann” became a test of subversion and loyalty for the Irish—anyone not standing when it was sung in the inevitable lock-in in London’s Irish pubs risked prompt defenestration...
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