What Is Your State Song?

usa-flag-map

If you live in the USA, you probably know that your state has a state bird, a state flag and a state flower. But did you know it has a state song as well?

You could probably guess that “Carry Me Back To Old Virginia” written in 1878 by James Allen Bland was the state song of Virginia. But would you expect Yankee Doodle to be the state song of Connecticut? Or Swanee (Way Down Upon The Swanee River) by Stephen Foster to be the Florida state anthem?

Then there are some states, like Tennessee, that are so musically inclined they have multiple tunes as official and unofficial anthems. Tennessee has the Tennessee Waltz, Rocky Top, plus 4 other noteworthy songs associated with their state.

state-songs-iconDo you know your state song? Visit this link to find out:

http://pdmusic.org/statesongs.html

Related Posts

National Instruments From Countries Around The World

https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/whats-the-national-instrument-of-bhutan-find-it-here/

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“Weeping”- An Anti-Apartheid Song Written By South African Songwriter, Dan Heymann

sowetoWe’ve just reviewed the new Bala Brothers cd on Warner Brothers records which showcases two of the most widely known anti-apartheid anthems.  Our last post shared the background of the song: “Something Inside So Strong”.  Here’s more about singer-songwriter, Dan Heymann and his powerful song: “Weeping” which appears on that same cd, but has also been covered by a host of artists both in South Africa and around the world.

Although it’s hard to find a great deal of information on the author of this song, we do know that Dan Heymann is a South African citizen who spoke out against apartheid and recorded a 1987 version of his song, “Weeping” with his band, Bright Blue.  That original version played on the radio in South Africa and included a refrain from the “illegal” anthem of the African National Congress.  Checking out Dan’s webpages, you can see he was actively involved with many artists, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Vusi Mahlasela, many of whom risked life and limb to express their desires for freedom and equality.  In 1999, readers of the South African Rock Encyclopedia voted “Weeping” the “All-time favorite South African Song”.

You can see two video versions of the song below.  The first is by popular American artist, Josh Groban, performing live on the David Letterman show.  The other is from Dan Heymann’s band, Bright Blue.


2008 – Josh Groban’s Performance of “Weeping” on the David Letterman Show

Bright Blue’s Version of “Weeping”

Lyrics – Weeping
Written by Dan Heymann/Copyright Bright Blue)

I knew a man who lived in fear 
It was huge, it was angry, it was drawing near


Behind his house, a secret place 
Was the shadow of the demon he could never face 


He built a wall of steel and flame and men with guns, to keep it tame 


Then standing back, he made it plain 


That the nightmare would never ever rise again


But the fear and the fire and the guns remain

It doesn’t matter now 


It’s over anyhow 


He tells the world that it’s sleeping 


But as the night came round 
I heard its lonely sound


It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping

And then one day the neighbors came


They were curious to know about the smoke and flame


They stood around outside the wall 


But of course there was nothing to be heard at all 


“My friends,” he said, “We’ve reached our goal 


The threat is under firm control 


As long as peace and order reign 
I’ll be damned if I can see a reason to explain”

What Does The Lyrics Mean?  

Although it’s easy to grasp the concept behind the song, the author explains the symbolism behind the lyrics in his own words:

“I’ve been asked many times about the symbolism in the Weeping lyrics, so maybe I should say something here. The man referred to in the Weeping lyrics is the late P. W. Botha, one of the last white leaders of South Africa before the end of the Apartheid regime; The demon he could never face (in the Weeping lyrics) refers to the aspirations of the oppressed majority, while the Weeping lyrics also refer to the neighbors, literally the journalists from other countries who were monitoring the situation in South Africa.”

Check out Dan’s webpages, resources and other songs which can be found at the links below.  He is an incredible writer with a wealth of talent as well as powerful songs and valuable cultural resources.

Resources

Dan Heymann’s Webpage for “Weeping”
http://www.weeping.info/index.html

Dan Heymann’s “Compressed History of Apartheid”
http://www.weeping.info/anti-apartheid-movement.html

Background of the Song: Something Inside So Strong

https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/something-inside-so-strong-a-powerful-anti-apartheid-song-and-much-more/

The Bala Brothers – New CD release on Warner Brothers Records
https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/do-you-know-the-bala-brothers/

“Cap In Hand” – A Song For Scottish Independence

sunshineAlmost everyone is familiar with a group from Scotland called the Proclaimers. Comprised of twins; Craig and Charlie Reid, they are probably best known for a song with the chorus “I Would Walk 500 Miles” that appeared on their “Sunshine on Leith” album and became popular all over the globe.

Recently, however, this pro-independence musical pair have been back in the spotlight as a song they wrote back in 1988 called “Cap In Hand” has been rising rapidly on the download charts. Activists seeking a Yes-vote for Scottish independence have been behind an enthusiastic social media push to drive the song up the Amazon download chart as a way of voicing their opinion on the referendum.

Although the song speaks about Scotland in particular, the lyrics are oddly reminiscent of any country or group that has risen up and sought self-rule.  Among some of the most poignant lyrics are:

We fight – when they ask us
We boast – then we cower
We beg
For a piece of
What’s already ours

I can’t understand why you let someone else rule your land, cap in hand
I can’t understand why we let someone else rule our land, cap in hand
I can’t understand why you let someone else rule your land, cap in hand

Although it’s not clear which way the vote for Scottish independence will go, it is certain that music is allowing people to express their opinions, their frustrations and feel that their voice and point of view are heard.

Here’s a video of Craig and Charlie Reid singing “Cap In Hand”.

“El Son de la Negra” – The Second National Anthem of Mexico

Mexican flagThis classic song from mariachi repertoire is so popular it is sometimes called the “second national anthem of Mexico.”  Composed by Blas Galindo in the late 1800’s, this song from Jalisco, Mexico has many versions and variations but is loved and appreciated everywhere as an important part of Mexican folk culture.

What Does The Song Mean?

Since there are numerous variations in the lyrics, it’s hard to tell for certain what the song means.  Clearly, it’s a sad song about lost or separated lovers.  Here’s one popular version of the lyrics in Spanish.

“El Son de la Negra”

Negrita de mis pesares,
hojas de papel volando.
Negrita de mis pesares,
hojas de papel volando.

A todos diles que sí
pero no les digas cuándo.
Así me dijiste a mí;
Por eso vivo penando.

¿Cuándo me traes a mi negra?
Que la quiero ver aquí
con su rebozo de seda
Que le traje de Tepic?

In the lyrics, the singer is asking about the woman that brings him sorrow.  He says that she has told everyone “yes” but will not tell him “when”.  That she has told him “yes” and because of that, he is suffering.

The last verse asks : “When will you bring my “negra”?  I would like to see her here.  In her silk shawl.  That I brought from Tepic (the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Nayarit).

Who Is “La Negra”?

The title and the use of the word “negra” in this song actually created a stir about a year ago on an English-speaking t.v. channel in the USA.  A mariachi group was asked not to play this song because they felt the title used a derogatory term for a black woman (negra).  However, most Latin American Spanish speakers recognize the words “negro/negra” as an affectionate term for a sweetheart, a phrase better translated as “my darling” or “my dear”, not as “black man or woman”.

You can read more about this controversy and see one excellent explanation/translation of the lyrics here: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/la-negra-black-woman.html#ixzz35s6oWqzd

Mariachi Music For Kids

We’re big fans of the website – KID WORLD CITIZEN that recently published an introduction to mariachi music and Mexican culture for kids. You can read more about that here:

http://kidworldcitizen.org/2014/06/19/mexican-mariachi-music/

Ballet Folklorico del Mexico Performs “El Son de la Negra”

Last but not least, here’s the Ballet Folklorico Mexico’s verison of “El Son de la Negra”.

The National Anthem of Russia

russian anthemOne major cultural highlight of the closing ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a large group of children singing Russia’s moving National anthem.  Formally known as “The State Anthem of the Russian Federation”, this powerful patriotic song was adapted from the National Anthem of the Soviet Union, composed by Alexander Alexandrov with original lyrics by Sergey Mikhalkov and Gabriel El-Registan.

The history of national anthems in Russia is a bit complex.  Before 1944, Russia and all other member states of the Soviet Union considered the song “The Internationale” as the national anthem of the USSR.  At that point, the USSR saw a need for a national song that spoke more about the Soviet experience and the National Anthem of the Soviet Union was adopted.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia adopted a new instrumental piece of music as their national anthem.  It was composed by Mikhail Glinka and titled “Patrioticheskaya Pesnya”.  When that melody failed to inspire and no perfect set of lyrics could be found, Vladimir Putin reinstated the old Soviet anthem and sponsored a contest for updated lyrics.  This new anthem, in its current form, became official in 2000 and you can read the lyrics below in Russian, transliterated Russian and an English translation.

The music is powerful and moving and you can hear two choral versions of the song here:

Lyrics In Russian

Россия – священная наша держава,
Россия – любимая наша страна.
Могучая воля, великая слава –
Твоё достоянье на все времена!

  • Chorus:
  • Славься, Отечество наше свободное,
  • Братских народов союз вековой,
  • Предками данная мудрость народная!
  • Славься, страна! Мы гордимся тобой!

От южных морей до полярного края
Раскинулись наши леса и поля.
Одна ты на свете! Одна ты такая –
Хранимая Богом родная земля!

Широкий простор для мечты и для жизни
Грядущие нам открывают года.
Нам силу даёт наша верность Отчизне.
Так было, так есть и так будет всегда!

——————————————

Lyrics –  Russian (Transliterated)

Rossiya – svyashchennaya nasha derzhava,
Rossiya – lyubimaya nasha strana.
Moguchaya volya, velikaya slava –
Tvoio dostoyanye na vse vremena!

Chorus:

Slav’sya, Otechestvo nashe svobodnoye,
Bratskih narodov soyuz vekovoi,
Predkami dannaya mudrost’ narodnaya!
Slav’sya, strana! My gordimsya toboi!

Ot yuzhnyh morei do polyarnogo kraya
Raskinulis’ nashi lesa i polya.
Odna ty na svete! Odna ty takaya –
Khranimaya Bogom rodnaya zemlya!

Shirokii prostor dlya mechty i dlya zhizni.
Gryadushchiye nam otkryvayut goda.
Nam silu daiot nasha vernost’ Otchizne.
Tak bylo, tak yest’ i tak budet vsegda!

—————————-

Lyrics –  English Translation

Russia – our sacred homeland,
Russia – our beloved country.
A mighty will, great glory –
These are your heritage for all time!

Chorus:

Be glorious, our free Motherland,
Age-old union of fraternal peoples,
Ancestor-given wisdom of the people!
Be glorious, our country! We are proud of you!

From the southern seas to the polar lands
Spread are our forests and fields.
You are unique in the world, one of a kind –
This native land protected by God!

Wide spaces for dreams and for living
Are opened for us by the coming years
Our loyalty to the Motherland gives us strength.
Thus it was, thus it is and thus it always will be!

O Canada – The National Anthem of Canada

Every citizen of a country feels a special pride when they hear their own national anthem.  “O Canada” is a beautiful song that has special meaning to everyone who calls Canada their home. And since July 1st marks the celebration of Canada Day, it’s a great time to share two video versions of this moving anthem.

Below are videos in English and French as well as the official French and English lyrics and a translation for the original French version.

Happy Canada Day to all!

———————

“O Canada” With lyrics in English

“O Canada” With lyrics in French

————

Lyrics – Official French Version

Ô Canada!
  Terre de nos aïeux,


Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!


Car ton bras sait porter l’épée, 
Il sait porter la croix!


Ton histoire est une épopée


Des plus brillants exploits.
 Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,


Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.


Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Lyrics – Official English Version

O Canada!
  Our home and native land!


True patriot love in all thy sons command.


With glowing hearts we see thee rise,


The True North strong and free!
  From far and wide,


O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.


God keep our land glorious and free!


O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.


O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Translation of Original French Lyrics

O Canada!
  Land of our forefathers,


Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.


As is thy arm ready to wield the sword,


So also is it ready to carry the cross.


Thy history is an epic.  Of the most brilliant exploits.


Thy valour steeped in faith
, Will protect our homes and our rights


Will protect our homes and our rights