miércoles, 7 de octubre de 2015

The Red Flag - Billy Bragg

In 1889, Irish socialist and trade unionist Jim Connell wrote "The Red Flag", a song that was to come to be an anthem for international socialism.

The song "The Red Flag" has an interesting history of its own. Its lyricist, Jim Connell, was a migrant Irish worker in London when he wrote the song. He initially set it to the popular tune "The White Cockade". This is not the tune most people associate with the song. It is a lively, "folky" romp, more appropriate for a solo or small group performance than for community singing. It was this requirement for something that could be sung by a large number of singers that led to "Tannenbaum" becoming the standard tune for "The Red Flag".
"The Red Flag" Sung to "Tannebaum"

It was standard practice for socialist songs and anthems in the late 19th and early 20th century to be set to very familiar tunes. This way crowds, and in even choirs and singers, could learn and sing a song without being able to read music. Working-class school children were taught the "tonic sol-fa" system of learning tunes in elementary schools once such schooling became the norm (from 1870 onwards). However, it took some time for students equipped with this skill to make it to socialist gatherings, and by that time, the practice was declining.

TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.billybragg.co.uk/press/story.php?ID=99

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