The thoughtful chorus

This is a week of choirs and causes. Last Saturday I went to a fundraiser for Médecins Sans Frontières’ ebola programs, and next Saturday I’ll be going to a climate change #OnMyAgenda soirée in the lead up to the G20 meeting. Choirs are a feature of both events.

The ebola fundraiser doubled as the annual concert for Sydney gospel choir the Honeybees. This is one of the songs they sang.

‘No room at the Inn’ was also high on their playlist. I took this as a clear dig at our government’s current protectionist migration policies, which include banning migration from ebola-affected countries. I couldn’t find a Honeybees version of the song, but Mahalia Jackson will send shivers down your spine.

Another Sydney choir, the environmentalist acapella group Ecopella will be singing at the #OnMy Agenda soirée. Perhaps they will sing this song about climate change.

And perhaps they will sing this more optimistic piece, apparently inspired by a 500 year old tree, which our short-sighted, coal-bound politicians would do well to listen to.

Both gigs highlight the disappointment, anger and shame that I, and many other Australians feel, about the actions of our government in relation to not only climate change and ebola (until recently they were refusing to send on-the-ground-support to West Africa), but also the treatment of asylum seekers, and a host of domestic issues such as health, education and unemployment entitlements.

However, the gigs also highlight ordinary people’s resilience and determination that the mean-spirited actions of our government will not get in the way of us acting with compassion and foresight.

Coincidentally, sandwiched between the Honeybees and Ecopella are two other musical events — a gig that I went to straight after the Honeybees, and a party I may drop in on before #OnMyAgenda — which both feature the West African sounds of Chosani Afrique. This final video isn’t the greatest quality, being shot live at an Australia Day concert, but for me, it’s what ‘Team Australia’ is and should be about: joy, generosity, diversity and plenty of rhythm.

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6 thoughts on “The thoughtful chorus

  1. Having an awful time here with my task bar.

    While I pretty well detest Christianity and other monotheistic belief systems, a bit of gospel doesn’t go astray, and Bernadette really raised the rafters.
    This is an old favourite of mime before the cassette died.
    Save my Child – The Jackson Southernaires.

    Will take the liberty with another post if the you tube link takes.
    Thnx

  2. Sublime vocals and you can read all about the Southernaires in The New Yorker – April 17 1995 – and hopefully it is digitised.

    Another past favourite was The Evolution of Gospel by the Sounds of Blackness. Discogs provides all the details. Heavily produced with funk and hip hop elements framed by a large choir. Incidentally, Ann Nesby who handles most of the vocals also portrayed Mahalia Jackson in some musical.

    Having just wired up some decent speakers, having a love affair with this by Aretha.

    However, you would probably hate my other choice.

    I Idolise You by Ike and Tina Turner. Great old clips on you tube before they hit the mainstream —- raunchy, sexy and very profane. The Ikettes have invaded my dreams.

  3. Not called Queen of Soul for nothing! Thanks for sharing. And I don’t think you can go wrong with Tina Turner 😉 I’m going to go look for those old clips now.

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