The Power of Song as the Voice of the People

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The Power of Song as the Voice of the People
Margaret Bennett
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scotland

There are few political speeches that effectively match the power of a song in keeping alive issues of social justice or freedom. In the seventeenth century, Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun proclaimed: ‘If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation.’ As in Fletcher’s day, there is no telling if a song of protest will bring about change – nevertheless, it is still the most powerful tool to give voice to those with enough conviction to take a stand. Of equal importance, songs are our most harmonious and peaceful ‘weapons’, effective outside the context of conflict as well as on the picket line or demonstration.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium IX
EditorsKi Adams, Andrea Rose
Place of PublicationSt John's Newfoundland
PublisherMemorial University, Newfoundland, Canada
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 2013