A Capella Monday #1: March 16, 2020
Give Your Hands to Struggle by Bernice Johnson Reagon
A beautiful and powerful song written by Bernice Johnson Reagon, an American musician, scholar, and activist who was one of the founding members of the Freedom Singers of the Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee during the civil rights movement. Check out the version of this she recorded with a bunch of singers for the Smithsonian Folkways album of the same name. It's stunning.
A Capella Monday #2: March 23, 2020
The Joy of Living (Ewan MacColl)
This is a song from one of the main curators of the British folk revival, Ewan MacColl, but I first heard it from the wonderful Rory McLeod. I hadn't heard this for years, but it just popped right back into my head last week. It's a song about preparing for death, and if you consider the fact that death is really just a transition and a transformation, and that all major transitions and transformations feel like a death, it's maybe not surprising that it returned to me amidst the unprecedented change that Covid-19 has thrust upon us. It's a breathtakingly true and beautiful song, and I can't even think about the lyrics without welling up.
A Capella Monday #3: March 29, 2020
I Am Not As Small As You Think, Mister (me)
It had to be a political one this week for an Albertan like me. Our United Conservative Party government has been assaulting us with corrupt and inhumane legislation ever since they took office a year ago, but the last week or so has been a DOOZY. I made up this song quick-and-dirty style. It's scrappy AF, but I hope it emboldens. And there's dodgy leadership going on all over the place right now, so maybe this is relatable further afield. (I'm looking at you, US and UK.)