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Protest in Harmony!
This summer, Edinburgh-based Protest in Harmony and Glasgow socialist women's choir Eurydice combined with other political choirs for the “Rise up Singing” Faslane 365 blockade.
One of Faslane 365's aims was to bring people together to impede the nuclear base where Britain's nuclear weapons are deployed. The choirs' blockade achieved this by assembling many singers who were new to the peace movement and witnessing nonviolent direct action for the first time.
They will be coming together again for the Big Blockade, celebrating the end of Faslane 365's year of actions, on 1 October.
Everyone can sing
Protest in Harmony meets monthly on Saturday mornings and is open to everyone. People can dip in and out, fitting singing and protest into busy lives. Singers participate as musicians, decision-makers and organisers.
Jane Lewis is one of a team of political singers that teaches the choir new songs in this dynamic environment. She was arrested as part of the singing blockade and described how the detainees sang their way into the police cells and most of the way through the night.
Action in song
Jane says “One of the special things about Protest in Harmony is that it is such a large and varied network of people. It has supported its members to become more active politically, in whatever way best suits them. When we started many people had never sung on the street before, and some had never been on a demonstration.”
“Song is a very powerful way of getting a message across and often appeals to people who would maybe walk past other forms of protest.”
We all express ourselves in different ways. For those of us who love music, protesting through song is a wonderful, moving and empowering way of making our voices heard.”
And in the rain?
Protest in Harmony is primarily a street choir. Be it May Day celebrations or a commemoration of Workers' Memorial Day, singing outdoors connects protesters with the world outside the movement for change. If you are planning to join a demo in Scotland, look out for the Protest in Harmony or Eurydice banners - you will be welcome!
Political choirs in Scotland:
Protest in Harmony, 0131 477 0817; http://www.protestinharmony.org.uk
Eurydice socialist women's choir, Glasgow, 07855 089 684;
Wildfire women's choir, every Wednesday, 7.30pm, Pilrig Church, Leith Walk, Edinburgh. Contact Lisa, 07794 425593;
Lesbian and Gay choir, http://www.loudandproudchoir.org;
Centre for Political Song at Glasgow Caledonian University http://polsong.gcal.ac.uk
Raise Your Banners! The festival of radical political songs is taking place in Bradford in various venues from 9-11 November . Details: 01274 593 585; http://www.raiseyourbanners.org