5 Protest Songs By York Artists

It is often said that the silver lining on any period of political turmoil is that it inspires so many good protest songs. No doubt the years ahead will prove this adage. In the meantime, we thought it would be good to look back at some examples coming out of York in recent years.

By Graeme Smith

Feature photo: The Beggar’s Bunce by Ruth Hunter

1. Vinnie Whitehead – We Shall Overcome

Only released this month, Vinnie’s effort sits firmly in the political zeitgeist. The singer/songwriter originally from Hull but who now calls York his home delivers a simple but powerful message of love over hate and the irrepressibility of us all. The song is available now on iTunes.

2. These & The Other Guy – Where Did My Children Go?

This track features on These & The Other Guy’s eponymous album. Written for the benefit of the charity War Child, the song tells the under-told story of child abuse during war time, including the recruitment of those to fight when they are not old enough to understand what it means.

3. Magnificent Seven – Welfare Is a State

Featured on Magnificent Seven’s recently launched E.P. The Good, The Bad and The Drunk, this song is another attack on austerity, and particularly the Conservative Party. The messy punk anthem takes up with The Specials’ Ghost Town left off and is a perfect antidote to the growing gulf between rich and poor and the decline of public services seen over the past decade.

4. The Beggar’s Bunce – The Silent Revolution

Inspired by Iceland’s response the banking crisis in which no bank was deemed too big to fail, this folk track features on the album of the same name by The Beggar’s Bunce  and is a dignified protest to austerity and the expectation of the many to pay for the failures of the few. It’s as relevant today as it was then.

5. Pewter City Punks – Picket Line Song

A traditional effort which is part-cover, part-original from local folk-punk outfit Pewter City Punks, this song shows its solidarity with the unions. Originally performed by Evan Greer, it invokes the age of miners’ strikes but unions have not disappeared and continue to fight today, something that’s easy to forget.