Songs of Working People
In May 1997, a nervous, exhilarated bunch of amateur singers mounted an outdoor stage at Seattle's popular Northwest Folklife Festival. Facing a huge late-afternoon audience, backing up folk legend Pete Seeger, the Seattle Labor Chorus began nearly a decade of spirited, thought-provoking performances. Music has been an inseparable part of the fight for economic justice for as long as the world has been divided into bosses and workers. From the dim and distant past, when the first humble slave dared to raise his sweating brow and look into the beady eyes of the master, until that cold and windy November in 1999 when Seattle said Hell No! To the greedy bosses of the WTO, you can be sure someone was always around to write a song about it, and the Seattle Labor Chorus is proud to keep that heritage alive. What's kept us singing is the satisfaction of 'having buckets of fun using music to wake the sleeping giant of the American conscience'. At countless union meetings, rallies, marches and picketline demonstrations, the chorus has inspired workers with songs of beauty, rage and humor. Striving to reflect current issues, we've built a large and varied repertoire. Some milestones in our history: our tenth Folklife Festival performance this year; singing down the barriers of the 'no protest zone' as we rallied against the World Trade Organization; performing in concert with Utah Phillips, Charlie King and Linda Allen; our Vancouver Folk Music Festival debut; wowing crowds at the Washington, D.C. Great Labor Arts Exchange; a musical memorial to the immortal Paul Robeson at the US- Canadian border; our now-annual public singalong; and even our Best Chorus trophy from Seattle's annual street-corner caroling contest. As of 2006, the chorus has about 50 members and our black shirts and colorful scarves have become a familiar sight around the region. Our most important work is in the union halls and on the picket lines. We're ever busier because people are increasingly eager for our message promoting social and economic justice, and the right to organize to secure a living wage. We're now professional rabble-rousers, working even harder to support hope in these hard times, because you, our audience, deserve the best. We don't recommend trash-can fires indoors but we do hope you'll sing along with this CD and carry along our message. If you'd like to sing with this no-audition chorus in person, find our next live performance or just get more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.