Silent Centenary: Australian voices questioning the war of 1914-18

Our regular correspondent, singer-songwriter, Tony Smith, has sent us a CD wrangled by himself and musical and poetical colleagues. It is called ‘Silent Centenary: Australian voices questioning the war of 1914-18’. It includes a mixture of sung songs, recited poems, and snippets of history. The featured artists are Grace Karskens, Lyn Doherty, Gavin and Moir Holmes, and Gene and Tony Smith.

The highlights for me were ‘The Australian Hymn of Freedom’, sung and strummed by Grace Karskens (which brought tears to the eyes during our trip down the Clyde Mountain to the coast last weekend) and any slight whiff of ‘I didn’t raise my son to be a soldier’: there is something about that line, ‘to kill some other mother’s darling boy’, which gets me every time and which would work in any language.

There are 22 items altogether. You can get an idea of the sort of thing by checking out Tony’s material here, anti-war songs here, the lyrics on Mark Gregory’s website, Tony’s piece on Maggie Thorp, ‘the Peace Angel’, and his paper to the 2016 national folklore conference.

Copies of the CD can be got from Tony for $15 at smithty@ix.net.au. There will be an official launch of the CD at the Gulgong Folk Festival over the New Year.

David Stephens

16 December 2016

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