To quote Jack Black from the movie School of Rock – “One great rock song, can change the world!” 🎸
Poets and songwriters often use their lyrics to convey the views, positions, ideas and perspectives of other individuals or groups – i.e. TO GIVE THEM A VOICE.
- WILFRED OWEN gave a VOICE to the young soldiers of WWI in his poems – “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, “Disabled”.
- “Strange Fruit”, a poem written by ABEL MEEROPOL, gave a VOICE to African Americans and exposed racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. BILLIE HOLIDAY later recorded the poem as a song.
- BOB DYLAN gave a VOICE to Rueben ‘The Hurricane’ Carter in his song “The Hurricane” where he protested the boxer’s innocence.
- In his rap “The Storm”, EMINEM gave a VOICE to anti-Trump supporters as he lashes out at the American president.
- Aussie band MIDNIGHT OIL gave a VOICE to the workers at the Wittenoom asbestos mines (who contracted various asbestos-related diseases) in the song “Blue Sky Mine.”
- In “Beds Are Burning”, MIDNIGHT OIL gave a VOICE to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert, and encourage the return of native Australian lands.
- And finally, "The Saints Are Coming". GREEN DAY and U2 collaborated on this song to give a VOICE to the people of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The song protests the inaction of the US government following this disaster.
We could go on forever!
Poetry, song and rap allow us to have a VOICE – whether we choose to speak for ourselves, or for someone else, is entirely up to us. It can be fulfilling and life-changing!