Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Gary Shearston: 9 January 1939 - 2 July 2013

Gary on songs of struggle:

JIM LOW:   Many of the songs you wrote and sang in the 1960's were labelled 'songs of protest'. They covered a range of issues including attitudes to Aboriginal people, war and capital punishment. How important do you consider songs are in being able to inform people and influence their attitudes and behaviour?

GARY:   The Anglo-French historian, essayist and novelist, Hilaire Belloc, once wrote, "It is the best of all trades, to make songs, and the second best to sing them." I've always appreciated that observation. If I were to expand on it, I would probably say, "lt is the best of all trades, to make songs that inspire hearts, minds and souls to make the world a better place for every single human being inhabiting it, and the second best to sing them and hear others singing them." That's probably a bit long-winded, but you may get my general drift. Songs born of struggle invariably inspire ways of resolving the struggle that gave them birth. 'Songs of protest' can reveal hidden agendas, stamp them clearly in the consciousness of people from all walks of life, and lead them to consider, or re-consider, all sorts of ideological positions adopted by one crew or another. The truth will always out and, more often than not, the truth rings truest when carried on the wings of song.

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