Songs and stories of Australians at war


Songs and stories of Australians at war

When the Poppy Blooms ... Australian Songs of World War One
By Denis Kevans & Sonia Bennett
ABC-FM Stereo. April 24, 11.30 a.m.

This program is 12 new songs by, and about Australians in World War I. Words of six of the songs are by Australian diggers, who were a very articulate group. They left novels, plays, poems, diaries and letters.

"The Sleepercutters' Camp" was censored in 1917 and is sung on air, for the first time. "Billy Hughes" is the only full song surviving about that PM; the words are by Russ Singleton, "a former digger bloke".

John O'Brien's poignant poem, "The Riderless Horse", is heard for the first time. There's the first ever song about Irish-Australian misgivings about imperial policies in Ireland, "Grandson of the Famine".

"Coquelicot" has the words of a beautiful poem, by an unknown French person, dedicated to the Australian volunteers. "Mitchell" is the only song, or literary work, about Australian prisoners of war in Germany. It broaches the forbidden subject of Australians making friends with the dreaded "Hun".

With extra backing by Vinegar Hill Bush Band, a unique program.

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