Bring Out the Banners
Victorian Trade Union Choir
Send $20 to PO Box 79, Carlton South, Victoria 3053 (buy five and get one free) or visit <http://home.vicnet.net.au/~vtuc/cdpage.htm>.
REVIEW BY ANNIE McGLADE
Bring out the Banners is a thoughtful and eclectic mix of vocal music reflecting the struggles of working-class people across a number of countries and eras.
It features original material from choir member Mary Caruana, songs from a wide range of well-known contemporary writers and traditional works from South Africa and the USA.
The arrangements are an interesting mix of classical choral-style with an undercurrent reminiscent of more traditional folk choral arrangements. I found this combination very apt given the strong thread in traditional music of the trials of the common people.
If the arrangements are occasionally a little ambitious, it is clear that Michael Roper, the musical director of the Victorian Trade Union Choir, has worked hard to produce an album of variety which provides clever light and shade while maintaining a cohesive feel.
The highlights are "Freedom Freedom", the title track "Bring out the Banners" and, for me, the pick is the haunting "Bread and Roses".
Overall, this is a collection of performances that will appeal to a broad audience. It is a definite must have for all those interested in the trade union movement.
[Annie McGlade is former secretary of the Folk Song and Dance Society of Victoria. She is winner of the Lawson Patterson Songwriting Award, Port Fairy Folk Festival, 1992.]
From Green Left Weekly, October 29, 2003.
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