As protestors take to the streets across the world, to demand economic and political change, one thing has stood out: their songs.
Last week, protestors in Lebanon began to sing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in Arabic (video on top). Lebanese citizens are protesting against government corruption and austerity measures.
The Lebanese protestors had already demonstrated their musical talents earlier in the week, when some of them calmed down a toddler by singing him a children’s tune called Baby Shark.
Around the same time, tens of thousands of protestors in Chile burst out into Victor Jara’s The Right to Live In Peace. They were protesting rising living costs and growing economic inequalities.
Victor Jara was a Chilean folk singer and political activist who was tortured and killed by a military dictatorship in 1973.
The chorus inspired Chilean musicians around the world to set up a video collaboration to record another version of Jara’s anthem.
Earlier this year, protestors in Hong Kong adopted Do You Hear the People Sing? from the musical Les Miserables as an anthem. They were protesting against the Chinese authorities undermining the territory’s autonomy.
Last week, the global sonic connections got more entangled. Thousands congregated in Hong Kong’s Central business district on Thursday in a rally in support of separatist Catalonian politicians were recently jailed by the Spanish authorities for running a 2017 referendum without approval from Madrid.
The Catalonian anthem was performed.
It came full circle as Catalan demonstrators in Barcelona gathered outside the Chinese consulate to sing Glory to Hong Kong. The Cantonese tune is a perfect reflection of the internet age: it was composed earlier this year by a musician under the pseudonym “Thomas dgx yhl”, with contributions from a group of Hong Kong residents who are members of an online group called LIHKG.