Chad Urmston recorded a version of his band Dispatch’s anti-war song “The General” in Russian. The lyrics paint a picture of a decorated military general (based on the story of Robert E. Lee) who told the soldiers to stop fighting and go back home to their families and live normal lives. The song, which has become the anti-war anthem for his millions of fans across the globe, is specifically aimed at a Russian audience wanting to wage peace between nations. Watch the recording below:
Musicians are often singing about current events in one way or another. Songs that deliver a message of peace help us all overcome a world torn apart by conflicts and music is beneficial to connecting communities. Translating a song can be difficult and almost always requires a native speaker. This practice helps bring people together over the news and is a great way to get in touch with other people and cultures. Asking someone to translate a song, or making a translation yourself, is a great way to bridge the gaps between knowledge and power, peacefully.
Journalism sometimes looks like writing a song, while other times it’s some person behind a desk with a confident voice. Music allows complex topics to be thought about through the lens of rhythms and melodies. News networks use hypnotizing graphics to institutionalize corporate dominance subliminally. Writing a song at home and broadcasting it yourself can sometimes even be more effective than the newscasters themselves if your audience is engaged enough.
Chad is used to playing sold out shows across the globe to crowds of over 100,000 people at times with his rolling ensemble of band members, some who have their own massive followings such as Matt Embree, notably of the the band the RX Bandits. This kind of media attention attracts international press from far and wide to capture their own soundbites and photos of the musicians. One role of the press is to lead public inquiry, which means to ask people questions that engage communities. Recording a song is a great way to discover your creativity or capture someone else’s music.
Find a song that represents similar ideas of peace and cover it as a journalist. Think critically about the ideas presented in the song, its melodies, lyrics, tones and rhythms. Ask others to listen to it and get their feedback. Ask the artist for an interview and get to the bottom of what the inspiration behind the composition was at the time of writing the song. Think about how the meaning behind a song can differ between the artist’s interpretations and an audience’s interpretation.