Political Music

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md0
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Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-02, 11:24

I thought we could have a thread to share political music. Not as in ideology-affiliated necessarily, but having to do with social (ie political) issues. Any language. Any time period. Describe the theme briefly.


----
Greece has a rich history of political songs due to their circumstances, but I'll start with something from Cyprus:

 (el-cy) (tr) Gavur İmam İsyanı (Dolama) [The Revolt of the Infidel Imam] / Το σύστημα [The System]
1880s uprising against the Ottoman tax authorities. The Turkish Cypriot version is the original.

 (el-cy) Η Στολή του Μπάτμαν [Batman's Uniform]
Anti-clerical

 (el-cy) Πατρίδα [Fatherland]
Anti-war, anti-nationalist

 (es) Clandestino [Illegal Migrant]
immigration

 (fr) On Lâche Rien [We don't give up]
Protest song, immigration

 (el) Μπήκαν στο χωρίο τα ΜΑΤ [The Anti-terror squad invades the village]
Environmentalism, civil disobedience

 (el) Ο Αχιλλέας απ' το Κάιρο [Achilles from Cairo]
homosexuality in the 90s, marginalisation


 (el) Εδώ μωρή θα λέγεσαι Μαρία [Here, bitch, your name will be Maria]
Human trafficking, sexual violence against women

 (el) Sarajevo
Anti-war

 (el) Διακοπές στη Μεσόγειο [Holidays in the Mediterranean]
anti-militarism, Balkan and Middle East wars. Cover of the above.

 (el) Βαλκάνια [Balkans]
antiwar, antinationalism, antiborders

 (el) Φάνης [Steve]
Prison industrial complex, criminalisation of drug addiction, sexual violence against men

 (el) Η Ασφάλεια [The Intelligence Agency]
Privacy, police-stateism

 (el) Τα Κανονικά Παιδιά [Normal Children]
Normativity, social roles

 (el) Το Αιρετικό [Heretical]
Anti-clerical

 (el) Φυσάει Κόντρα [Opposing Wind]
Refugees, global migration, anti-racism

 (el) Ο Φασισμός [Fascism]
anti-fascism
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Re: Political Music

Postby Varislintu » 2014-04-02, 11:58

This is a highly ideologically affiliated blast from the past, because I just can't resist. :P There was a communistic movement in Finland in the 70s and 80s, that produced a good deal of ideological music. As someone who was never personally touched or threatened by communism, I find these songs aesthetically peculiar and strangely appealing artistic specimens from the past that I can't take quite seriously but in whose naive and unyielding ideologism I can delighfully bask a minute or two every now and then.

Here's a pretty good one, because it is kind of good advice, and so little actual communism that it's palatable and you can just enjoy the style:

Agit Prop: Oppimisen ylistys
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBU5OwPCczc

I'll translate below (click to view): :D

Oppimisen ylistys
The Praise to Learning

[hide]Opi perusasiat
Niille joiden aika on tullut
Se ei koskaan ole liian myöhäistä

Learn the basics
For those, whose time has come
It is never too late


Opi kaikki aakkoset
Se ei riitä, mutta opi ne
Älä anna sen harmittaa vaan ala jo
Sinun täytyy tietää kaikki
Sinun täytyy astua johtoon

Learn the alphabet
It's not enough, but learn it
Don't let it annoy you, just start
You will have to know everything
You will have to take charge


Opi mies yömajassa
Opi mies vankilassa
Opi vaimo keittiössä
Opi kuusikymmenvuotias
Sinun täytyy astua johtoon

Learn, man in the shelter
Learn, man in prison
Learn, wife in the kitchen
Learn, 60-year-old
You will have to take charge


Mene kouluun koditon
Hanki tietoja vaikka palelet
Nälkäinen, tartu kirjaan
Se on hyvä ase
Sinun täytyy astua johtoon

Go to school, homeless person
Get information even if you are cold
Hungry person, grab a book
It's a good weapon
You will have to take charge


Älä pelkää kysyä, toveri
Älä usko kuulopuheisiin, ota selvää
Mitä itse et tiedä, sitä et tiedä
Tarkista lasku
Sinun täytyy se maksaa
Laske sormesi joka erälle ja kysy
"Miksi tämä on näin?"
Sinun täytyy astua johtoon

Don't be afraid to ask, comrade
Don't believe in hearsay, find out
What you don't personally know, you don't actually know
Check the bill
You are the one paying it
Count your fingers every turn and ask
"Why is this like this?"
You will have to take charge
[/hide]
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-02, 12:46

I wouldn't immediately understand that was a communist song. But apparently it's Brecht.

I also have a peculiar relationship with communist music, being decisively libertarian. This is why I didn't include something flatout communist in my initial list. But I can enjoy and empathise with those old songs.

It is perhaps because Greek partisan songs were honest narrations by people who fought against Nazism and domestic fascism, and wanted to create a popular republic in the days of imposed monarchy. It wasn't Soviet mass-produced propaganda. And that's evident when you listen to the songs where they lament the wrong turns of communism abroad. Perhaps the fact that the partisans lost the Greek Civil War allowed them to be critical of the atrocities in the USSR and elsewhere, and those who betrayed their ideals.

This is a very characteristic poem by Katerina Gogou, set to music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Euu3lewbz7c

«A, ρε σύντροφε»
Dammit, Comrade

Ά ρε Σύντροφε πόσο μας λείπεις...

Dammit, Comrade, we miss you so

Ο καιρός σκουλήκιασε
πυρηνικές δοκιμές, λαϊκά μέτωπα,
μπορντέλα και πολυεθνικές,
δεν μας αφήνουνε ν' αγαπήσουμε.

The time has rotten
nuclear tests, popular fronts
bordellos and multinationals
they won't let us jut love


Ά ρε Σύντροφε πόσο μας λείπεις...

Dammit, Comrade, we miss you so

Τα ξέρεις, τι να σου πω.
Και μετά συνεργαστήκανε.
Στην Κίνα, Γενάρης του '77, σφάζουν εργάτες

You already know, I don't have to tell you
In the end, They worked together
In China, January of 77, they slaughter workers


Ά ρε Σύντροφε γιατί δεν πρόσεχες
γιατί δεν πρόσεχες πιο πολύ;

Dammit, Comrade, why weren't you careful,
Why didn't you pay more attention?


Εδώ, τα ίδια. Κρύβονται στο καβούκι τους οι άνθρωποι.

Here, the same old. People hide in their shells

Αχ και να 'ξερες ρε Σύντροφε τι βαρύ φορτίο κουβαλάμε...
Έτσι καί λίγο φανείς μπόσικος πέρασες απέναντι.

If you only knew, Comrade, how heavy is the legacy we have to carry
If you let your guard down for a moment, you'd cross to the opposite side


Ά ρε Σύντροφε γιατί δεν πρόσεχες
γιατί δεν πρόσεχες πιο πολύ;

Dammit, Comrade, why weren't you careful,
Why didn't you pay more attention?


Ά ρε Σύντροφε που δεν πρόδωσες
ζούμε την βαρβαρότητα.

Dammit, Comrade, you didn't betray us
we now live the barbarism


The original poem is longer, and explicitly attacks Stalin (and his Socialism in One Country and the purges), more explicitly criticises Maoism etc
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Re: Political Music

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-04-02, 13:19

It's not a genre that I know very well.

 (it) Il mio nome è mai più (My Name is Nevermore)
anti-war

 (it) La guerra di Piero (Piero's War)
anti-war

 (it) io sono un eroe (I'm a hero)
about the working class

 (it) Homo Europeus
a criticque to the middle/upper class...

 (it) i cento passi
about mafia and Peppino Impastato

 (it) El Presidente
anti-Berlusconi

(basically any song by Modena City Rambles is political)

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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-02, 13:31

Oh, when it comes to Italy, we have to mention the song of the Italian Resistenza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CI3lhyNKfo

------------

Posting a very special version of The International to.
In Pontic Greek (with the appropriate Pontic lyra), from the Caucasus Republics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsDG0edoMuk
Last edited by md0 on 2014-04-02, 13:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Political Music

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-04-02, 13:42

meidei wrote:Oh, when it comes to Italy, we have to mention the song of the Italian Resistenza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CI3lhyNKfo


Oh yeah of course, I took it for granted :)

Also these ones btw:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeLAGblQhZQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAXoGxLx6yk

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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-02, 13:49

IpseDixit wrote:Also this one btw:

:)
"Three letters enlighten our Hellenic generation, and they show us the path to liberation [...] Long Live the EAM"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc9jwcfIxl4
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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-02, 14:14

Now, to some political comedy, by  (el) Yioryos Marinos (an openly gay artist during Greece's dark dictatorial years, to summarise)

Here, he pokes fun at the Greek Junta, from the album "Μαθήματα δικτατορίας άνευ διδασκάλου" ("Teach Yourself Dictatorship")
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8rlaZiLEwc

"Greece for Greek Orthodoxs"

Take a dozen tanks, a trowel and a slab,
and after exorcising Marx, establish a slogan.
Pick a bird, if possible one that's double headed
and put it up on Mt Hymettus, with its feathers like a fan

Greece of Greeks Orthodoxs
Sans Parliament and elections
That's how the Nations only live on
tarata-dum tarata-dum

Establish Santorini's pretty boy as a Prime Minister
and don't worry about what's to come, the crime is one-off.
Meetings are permissible for a maximum of a single person
and thus you avoid years in prison and the dislocation of a shoulder

Greece of Greeks Orthodoxs
Sans Parliament and elections
That's how the Nations only live on
tarata-dum tarata-dum

Arrests are allowed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday
But you might as well start already, to keep them down.
A nice day for all of those, one of the many in April
Get on it early in the morning and you will be done by the afternoon.
Last edited by md0 on 2014-04-03, 0:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Political Music

Postby dorenda » 2014-04-02, 20:10

Welterusten, meneer de president [Sleep well, mister president] (1966)
Wishing the president (of the USA) sweet dreams while forgetting about all the suffering he's causing with the war (in Vietnam).

Over de muur [Over the wall] (1984)
About communism and capitalism, which both have their good and bad sides.

Protestsong (1995)
"This is not a protest song, so I will not sing about the environment, the prime minister, war, injustice, sorrow..."

Da's toch dope man [But that's dope man] (2006)
About the hypocrisy of the Dutch drugs policy: it is allowed to buy and use weed, but not to grow it. (Featuring the mayor of Maastricht!)
нехай мій гаманець порожній
моя дорога невідома
я стану вільним, подорожнім
найголовніше вийти з дому

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Re: Political Music

Postby linguoboy » 2014-04-02, 20:45

It's amusing to me now to look back on songs I listened to when I was younger that were overtly political in ways that I was completely oblivious to. It's inevitable, I guess, given that I listened to a lot of British music without any deep understanding of the political situation at the time.

Some examples (links to be added later):

"Blue" by Fine Young Cannibals. On the surface, a lament about decay and hopelessness where the singer lives. What I didn't realise was that blue is the colour associated with the Conservatives, which made this song so polemical that it was banned from BBC radio.

"Stand down, Margaret" by The Beat. We don't have the idiom "stand down" for "refuse to run for re-election" in the USA, so I didn't recognise this as the call for Maggie Thatcher's resignation that it was.

"Ghost Town" by The Specials. Similar in content to the FYC song, but its popularity coincided with the riots of 1981, which gave it very raw political edge for listeners in the UK. To me, it sounded more like a novelty song.

"Invisible Sun" by The Police just speaks to me about wanting out of the shitty situation that you're in. But because it mentions a rifle with the brand name ArmaLite (favoured by the Provisional IRA), it also got banned from BBC airplay.

"Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six" by The Pogues. Although the Troubles got a fair amount of coverage over here, the attacks in Guildford and Birmingham happened a decade before I started paying attention and I had no idea that, nearly twenty years later, innocent people were still rotting in prison as a consequence. Also banned from the BBC.
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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-03, 6:44

"If you like your clause structure, you can keep your clause structure"

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Re: Political Music

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-04-03, 7:23

An anti-nuclear weapons song; this version is from 1950. I've got a thing for dark humor, so this really got me when I first heard it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v48Rp4tl0o
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Re: Political Music

Postby linguoboy » 2014-04-03, 14:43

Other songs addressing Northern Ireland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM4vblG6BVQ
U2, "Sunday Bloody Sunday". I can't count how many times I've shouted along to this song. It was a huge hit in 1983 and motivated me to start reading up on the history of the Troubles. ("Bloody Sunday" is a reference to an incident in 1972 when British Soldiers shot to death unarmed teenaged protesters in Derry.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0zGVVcsbPgPaul McCartney and Wings, "Give Ireland Back to the Irish". Written and recorded the day after news of Bloody Sunday broke. Banned not just from the BBC but from all radio play in the UK.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rg7FzffUVoSimple Minds, "Belfast Child". Written in response to the horrific Remembrance Day bombing in Enniskillen which proved a major blow to support for the Provisional IRA.
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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-03, 15:02

Greeks were historically always pro-Irish, so the following cultural exchange isn't suprising
The poem "The laughing boy" by Brendan Behan lamenting the death of Michael Collins was translated into Greek in 1961 by Basilis Rotas. In October of the same year, Mikis Theodorakis composed the song "Tο γελαστό παιδί" ("The laughing boy") using Rotas' translation. The song was recorded by Maria Farantouri in 1966 on the album "Ένας όμηρος" ("The hostage") and became an instant success. It was the soundtrack of the movie Z (1969). "The laughing boy" became the song of protest against the dictatorship in Greece (1967–1974) and remains to date one of the most popular songs in Greek popular culture.


"Z" is a fictionalised account of anti-war activist Grigoris Lambrakis' assassination by the Greek deep state, so the song based of the Irish poem is thought to refer to Lambrakis, even though the lyrics refer to "the bullet of an Englishman" etc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGKTl0Qrx3g
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Re: Political Music

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-04-03, 16:10

On that vain
in that vein*

I don't want to post Youtube links since I find scrolling through them very tedious and annoying. Instead I'll just post the titles and you can look themselves up, you lazy bum.

Nena - 99 Red Balloons (antiwar, antinuclear, Cold War)
Scorpions - Winds of Change (Cold War)
Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia (anticommunist)
Dead Kennedys - Nazi Punks Fuck Off (antifascist)
System of a Down - Holy Mountains (genocide denial)
System of a Down - Prison Song (War on Drugs, prison-industrial complex)

I'll post more if I can think of them. These are just what came to mind.

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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-03, 16:25

Yes, I initially wanted that to be just plain old links, not embedded videos.

Let's do that from now on. No embeds, only links.
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Re: Political Music

Postby Lada » 2014-04-03, 17:19

In Russian language you can find tons of such songs, some bands mainly their lead singers openly show their political and social position.
It all started in 1980s when rock music flourished in Soviet Union and as rock was officially forbidden, it bacame music of protest. All leaders of cult Russian rock bands were arrested, some of them several times. Now they are still rocking and still protesting.

The most politically active band is DDT imho:
On March 3, 2008, DDT performed at the Dissenters' March in St. Petersburg to protest the controversial election of Dmitry Medvedev as President of Russia. Subsequently, Shevchuk received considerable media attention following a pointed dialogue with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in which he openly confronted him (on state television) with questions regarding such controversial topics as democracy, freedom of speech, assembly, and freedom of the press in Russia.


One of the main band's songs is "Don't shoot"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is1dp9FjDxw
Lyrics with translation
Other songs:
Гражданская Война, Путин едет по стране, Я пил у генерала ФСБ и др.

And one of the most revolutionary and undead songs, written in late 1980s - Changes! by Kino.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg7BFXss1hE
Lyrics with translation

And just some other bands and their songs that come to my mind now:
Гражданская Оборона - Все идет по плану
Lumen - Государство
Машина Времени - Марионетки

And of course all last albums by Belorussian band Ляпис Трубецкой are very protesting.

Патрислав Андреевич

Re: Political Music

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2014-04-13, 14:07

So.. Polish political and protest songs were produced mostly during the communist regime. Because of the censorship they were also full of metaphors which makes them universal. Here are my favourites.

 (pl) Kult - Arahja
Against the Berlin Wall. It uses a metaphor of “my house divided with a wall” and the distinction of two sides: the right side that “never sleeps” and “lights with neons” (democratic), and the left side that “never wakes up” and where “the lights are shut down” (communist).

 (pl) Ballada o Janku Wiśniewskim by Kazik (from Kult) or Krystyna Janda
About the protests in 1970. You can read more about it here.

 (pl) Jacek Kaczmarski - Mury
This is a very interesting song. It was inspired by a Catalan (extra points?) protestsong  (ca) L'estaca by Lluis Llach. Kaczmarski saw how the song became “stolen” by the masses to serve as their anthem or symbol.

The song is about an artist who creates a beautiful song. He sings it and masses love it, they then see how many of them there are and create a mass social movement. “Who’s alone is against us” they shout while singing that song. But the original artist also happens to be alone...

In a way this song predicted its own future. Because of the “falling walls” the Solidarity movement saw it as referring to the communist regime and it became their anthem... Ironic. Especially because at the end of the song, “the walls are growing”. It’s a critique of mass social movements that create a similar regime after the old one is destroyed.

 (pl) Jan Pietrzak - Żeby Polska była Polską
A beautiful patriotic song. “For Poland to be Poland.”

 (pl) Jacek Kaczmarski - Jałta
Criticizing the Yalta Conference using irony.

 (pl) Dla Narodowych Sił Zbrojnych
Praising the NSZ (Polish anti-nazi and anti-communist paramilitary) and threats to the communist traitors. :whistle:

There are many more of course.. but I chose these.

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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-16, 11:27

Back on the 'political disappointment' songs, a very catchy song by Haris Alexiou, with a clumsy translation provided by stixoi.info


 (el) Τίποτα δεν πάει χαμένο (Nothing is wasted) - Χάρις Αλεξίου
Almost fifty years
of hardship and persecution
Now this black sickness,
inequitable payment
Your rightful combat
deprived you of many things
but life is a woman in labour
she gave birth to hopes.

Nothing lost or wasted
in your thrown-away life
I revive your dream
And your every "why"

You never say that fate
has been unjust to you
but only History
spoke to you differently.
Hunched over in the café
deep in thought in the streets
but yesterday in the demonstration
you walked by smiling.
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Re: Political Music

Postby md0 » 2014-04-16, 13:30

After something that happened in Greece last week, this oldish song was brought up

 (el) Παράτα τα (Give up) by Νικόλας Άσιμος

It actually has an all-around anarchist message: anti-centralised education, anti-wage slavery, anti-religion, anti-political parties, anti-bureaucracy, anti-militarism.
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