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Occupy Radio: The Power Of Song In Protest

When Pete Seeger died, a sense of the impermanence of life increased my urge to ask Ysaye Maria Barnwell, a Grammy Award winning, 34 year member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, to speak on Occupy Radio about the importance of song in social protest. I had met Ysaye when I attended one of her Building a Vocal Community workshops, where she riveted the room with a warning and an instruction. "Learn the old protest songs and spirituals," she said. "You're going to need them." Ysaye mentioned in our radio interview that when she went to Occupy Wall Street, she found that few people knew the old songs, and there weren't many new ones, either. Chanting and drum circles dominated the vocal space, but these are different than song.
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