Music adapts to the emotion of the people for whom it is meant. While Music can be the language of love, it is also the language of protest. Protest songs gain an instant appeal since they capture the mood of the…
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Protest Music has always effectively captured the mood of the era and every movement in the US has been accompanied by protest songs whether it was the slave movement, anti-war sentiment or the feminist movement. It is however in the 1960s during the Vietnam War that Protest Music came forward as a major jolt to the government and the public. It was singers such as John Lennon with his ‘Give Peace a Chance’ who created uproar within the music industry and the general public. Their songs became mantras for the public. Later Hip Hop came forward to express the repressed anger of the Black Americans towards the biased attitude of the government towards their race. Hip Hop became so popular that it was warmly accepted by even White Americans who felt for the cause of these people.
In this paper, we attempt to understand how music can be an effective platform of protest. Some believe that protest music is nothing more than propaganda aimed to turn the public against the government. They believe that protest music can gain nothing through its unorganized way of dealing with community issues. On the other hand, there are some who believe that protest music creates a sense of bonding and awakening within the public. The public understand that they are not alone and once they join together through music, they can attain a lot.
The Hutchson Family Singers were the first protest singers in the history of US that came forward during the mid 19th century. They took up various causes that the public was suffering with such as abolition of slavery, women suffering, the temperance movement etc. The Hutchson Family created a name for themselves with songs like ‘Escape at Sunset’ that focused on the issue of slavery. The Hutchson Family also sang for the President, John Tyler and became friends with Abraham Lincoln. It was the Hutchson Family Singer who inspired many with their protest songs such as Woodie
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The differences in genres (folk and rock vs. hip-hop), the performance venues, and the methods of distribution with attention to the audience will be discussed.
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The songs are Merl Haggard’s Okie from
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