Thursday, July 03, 2008

I don't get it

There has been a big uproar here in Colorado about the lyric of a song that was sung by a local jazz singer

Just because I didn't really understand the uproar, I went and got a copy of the lyric so I could read it

Here it is:

Lift ev'ry voice and sing,
'Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on 'til victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast'ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
'Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

(James Weldon Johnson)

I find nothing offensive here.

I'm not offended by the fact that it was sung to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner -- after all, Francis Scott Key appropriated that tune from a commonly sung English drinking song (ok, maybe that explains why its so difficult to sing -- you need to be drunk?)

maybe I'm missing something -- but I still don't get it!


Rain said...

Where the offense came was that the artist didn't sing what they had agreed to sing. I think she did it for publicity which she did get. She knew if she told them what she planned, they wouldn't let her do it. It is nothing wrong with those lyrics. It was the deception that riled people up.

Bear Naked said...

I don't understand either.

Anyway--have a Happy 4th of July


Kay Dennison said...

I don't get it either even with Rain's explanation. James Weldon Johnson is one of the early well-known black poets and I really admire his work/