Collingwood Ukulele Players

Politics and Song

I grew up in the era of political songs: folk music, protest songs, the satire of Tom Leher and others from the late 1950s through the 1960s. It makes me appreciative of political songs and humour in music,and of the power of music to spread the word and help bring about change.

The Harperman song is one of those songs. It has become a hit song during Canada’s election campaign. It became a national media story when its author and singer, Tony Turner,  was suspended from work for performing the song on YouTube by a government intolerant of dissent and challenge. Which made the song even more popular! It has had hundreds of thousands of hits already, and the momentum is gaining.

Turner’s group of singers was called “Canada’s Pussyriot,” referring to the Russian protest band that its intolerant leader, Vladimir Putin had jailed for singing songs about him and his autocrats.

As noted in the Ottawa Citizen, the issue is really about Turner’s Charter of Rights guarantee of freedom of speech:

The federal scientist whose impartiality is under scrutiny for writing and performing the protest song Harperman to get rid of the Conservative government has the same Charter rights to free speech as all Canadians, says the union representing him.

“The Charter rights of Canadians shouldn’t be different between the private and public sectors,” said Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service. “The right to participate in the federal election is the same and so is the right to free speech.”

It’s an easy song with four chords (A, A7, D and E7). It’s arranged in A, but it could easily be played in F (F, F7, Bb, C), G (G, G7, C, D) or C (C, C7, F and G).

You can download a PDF of the song, with chords, here.

I’d like our group to consider joining in the video challenge and doing our own version of the song. Or for members to participate in the Cross-Canada singalong:

The Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along – A cross-Canada event taking place on Thursday, September 17th will include a “Harperman” sing-along on Parliament Hill at 2:00 pm Eastern. There will be public “Harperman” sing-alongs in every province on that day, and there will be opportunities for people to participate online from anywhere in Canada.

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