songs for free men

The USSR anthem - Paul Robeson 

…The reasoning behind his persecution centered not only on his beliefs in socialism and friendship with the peoples of the Soviet Union but also his tireless work towards the liberation of the colonial peoples of Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, his support of the International Brigades…

istening to Paul Robeson’s album: Songs for free men… a very lovely basso profondo concert singer (he was one of the few true basses in American music), performing spirituals. Despite being a very famous and successful singer & performer, the man was kept under strict surveillance by US and UK governments for his international activities in Labor and Anti – Colonialist movements. It’s believed that he was unsuccessfully murdered by the CIA while in Moscow. He is now deserved a position in mainstream history by various posthumous recognitions.

In the background video above (1945 victory parade in Moscow), Robeson presents the Soviet Union’s national anthem with a translated English lyric (let read the verses). I think, though it’s a very subjective idea, the song is the best anthem in the world, much more impressive than French’s La Marseillaise. The music’s still used as national anthem in Russia now, with a new lyric.

Don’t know why, but the music reminds me of spaces in the mesmerized text of Ernest Hemingway’s For whom the bell tolls (yet another American activist). As a child, I adored Hemingway’s writing style, and remembered many excerpts from his novel by heart, the spirits of International Brigades! The paragraph quoted on the left had been given a wonderful Vietnamese translation, it describes El Sordo’s final fighting on a hill, his thoughts on life and death, yet another picturesque Song for free men!