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RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Discussion started by Pirate Queen , 18 June, 2020 14:16
RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Pirate Queen 18 June, 2020 14:16

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
LI Bohemian 18 June, 2020 23:18
Although I support England, I have always hated the song and was at the Middlesex sevens tournament when it was first sung.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
no17 19 June, 2020 11:15
Yes, I always thought it distasteful, to say the least, that a slave song about dying and going to heaven as a release from a life enslaved could become an English rugby anthem. I was also at the Middlesex Sevens in the late 80s and remember horrible racist abuse being directed at Martin Offiah and Andrew Harriman. It's a mad, bad world.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
P G Tips 19 June, 2020 14:27
That's one interpretation no17 but for most commentators it's slavery associations were about hope:

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is considered to be a code song or coded song, and is one of a handful of spirituals that refer directly to the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was neither a railroad nor underground, but was instead a loose and mysterious web of people and places serving the common goal of helping those bound by slavery to escape. Those fleeing slavery often moved northward from hiding place to hiding place under cover of darkness and disguise.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot was a favorite spiritual of Harriet Tubman (1820 - 1913), who escaped from slavery in 1849 and is widely considered to be the most famous leader of the Underground Railroad, the Moses of those seeking freedom from slavery. In the 1850's she made many rescue trips into Maryland to help about 300 slaves escape to freedom."

[www.manhattanbeachmusic.com]

Verse two runs:

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
(Coming for to carry me home)
A band of angels coming after me
(Coming for to carry me home)

The Jordan symbolises the Ohio river - dividing line between slave states and emancipated states. "Angels" were the guides who helped runaway slaves to find their way through hostile territory to cross into the emancipation states.

"The song enjoyed a resurgence during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle and the folk revival; it was performed by a number of artists. Perhaps the most famous performance during this period was that by Joan Baez during the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival."

So -the song represents a desire to escape slavery and a celebration of opposition to it. In 2002 the US Library of Congress honoured the song as one of the songs of the century for it's part in the civil rights struggle.

Rugby may have alighted on the song by accident, but I am not sure it should be embarrassed by singing it.

PG

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
GHA 19 June, 2020 15:34
Or singing ten words of it, PG?

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Ecksile 19 June, 2020 16:20
Quote:
P G Tips
That's one interpretation no17 but for most commentators it's slavery associations were about hope:
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is considered to be a code song or coded song, and is one of a handful of spirituals that refer directly to the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was neither a railroad nor underground, but was instead a loose and mysterious web of people and places serving the common goal of helping those bound by slavery to escape. Those fleeing slavery often moved northward from hiding place to hiding place under cover of darkness and disguise.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot was a favorite spiritual of Harriet Tubman (1820 - 1913), who escaped from slavery in 1849 and is widely considered to be the most famous leader of the Underground Railroad, the Moses of those seeking freedom from slavery. In the 1850's she made many rescue trips into Maryland to help about 300 slaves escape to freedom."

[www.manhattanbeachmusic.com]

Verse two runs:

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
(Coming for to carry me home)
A band of angels coming after me
(Coming for to carry me home)

The Jordan symbolises the Ohio river - dividing line between slave states and emancipated states. "Angels" were the guides who helped runaway slaves to find their way through hostile territory to cross into the emancipation states.

"The song enjoyed a resurgence during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle and the folk revival; it was performed by a number of artists. Perhaps the most famous performance during this period was that by Joan Baez during the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival."

So -the song represents a desire to escape slavery and a celebration of opposition to it. In 2002 the US Library of Congress honoured the song as one of the songs of the century for it's part in the civil rights struggle.

Rugby may have alighted on the song by accident, but I am not sure it should be embarrassed by singing it.

PG


Never let a good explanation get in the way of the desired interpretation. eye rolling smiley

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
LI Bohemian 20 June, 2020 00:00
I don't know if the song is a derogatory or a positive thing, I know why it was sung and I have never liked it, whether PC on not.
It to me does not represent english rugby, as such but a sort of casual drunken support associated to rugby, but that's just me.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
cjm. 20 June, 2020 07:57
I don't know what I will do if I can't tell you lot where to stick your chariots!

I love the game but I find most of the surrounding activity boorish. I think it is hard to blame this on casual drinking support, the drunkenness is core to rugby unfortunately.

I am completely fed up with all these pathetic attempts to re-write hundreds of years old history in today's terms. Much of it is beyond embarrassing and counter productive.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
mackemII 20 June, 2020 09:53
I was led to believe it was first heard when Chris Oti scored the second of his hat-trick of tries against Ireland in 1988.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
LI Bohemian 20 June, 2020 10:46
Quote:
mackemII
I was led to believe it was first heard when Chris Oti scored the second of his hat-trick of tries against Ireland in 1988.

I'm pretty certain it started in pockets of noise at the middlesex sevens 1985, it was mainly sung for the rude hand gestures that were performed whilst singing it, players sung it after games at my club way before that, just for the naughty school boy hand gestures, I'm sure that we all new it was an old slave song at the time, it had nothing to do with black players playing for clubs or England as far as I was aware at the time, but was an easy song to sing and remember, (with hand gestures). This is my version of the truth.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
SimonG19 20 June, 2020 13:33
Quote:
LI Bohemian
I don't know if the song is a derogatory or a positive thing, I know why it was sung and I have never liked it, whether PC on not.
It to me does not represent english rugby, as such but a sort of casual drunken support associated to rugby, but that's just me.

It's not just you!

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
ehfer 21 June, 2020 09:16
Quote:
LI Bohemian
I don't know if the song is a derogatory or a positive thing, I know why it was sung and I have never liked it, whether PC on not.
It to me does not represent english rugby, as such but a sort of casual drunken support associated to rugby, but that's just me.

Bang on in my opinion. Unlike other great rugby anthems (Fields; Flower of Scotland; Marseillaise; Sospan Fach etc.) it has nothing to do with England or even Great Britain.

What to sing instead? 'Heart of Oak' is marvellous in words and tune, and most appropriate - but expecting the casual drunken support at Twickenham to latch onto it would be an impossible ask... Perhaps our Eastie ex-trumpeter (Persins?) could be persuaded to go up to HQ to start it off? Too much to expect any initiative from the plodders at the RFU.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
cjm. 21 June, 2020 11:19
I agree with Dan Leo.
[www.telegraph.co.uk]

Many Scots, such as myself, hate Flower of Scotland. God Save the Queen has the line "and like a torrent rush,Rebellious Scots to crush". Many national anthems, funnily enough, have very "patriotic" lyrics.

As a student engineer back in the early 80s , swing low was sung when drunk along with aforesaid hand gestures. Nothing to do with rugby but very much to do with drinking.

If people start to stop singing it and it fades away ( which it likely will ) then fine. But this rush to distract from the real hardship faced by people in the now with virtue laced irrelevancies is pathetic.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
SixNineOne 21 June, 2020 12:09
Perhaps when theyíre consigning Swing Low to the politically correct dustbin, the RFU would do well to think about the anthem that is sung before Englandís matches. As we all know, God Save the Queen is the anthem for the United Kingdom, not England. So, for example, it is played at the Olympics when a Scots or Welsh or English competitor wins a gold medal. Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory are two contenders, although I havenít gone over the lyrics recently to check for politically incorrect references - the glorification of spears and swords might be difficult for those who are trying to tackle knife crime (?!!) - but I think they might be acceptable to most rugby supporters. As others have noted, other countries have their own anthem and Ireland has had to grapple with a far more difficult challenge with the introduction of Shoulder to Shoulder. So perhaps itís time for the RFU to show a bit of real leadership rather than just bending to the ever swirling breezes of public opinion.

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Xprop 21 June, 2020 16:24
When I used to play rugby (a very long time ago) there was much singing of songs in the bar afterwards, all of them vulgar. Swing low was the only one that that could also be sung in public.

I think that the Middlesex 7s was quite likely to have been the origin.

What would people suggest as an alternative for english fans to sing? What about Land of Hope and Glory?

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Florida 21 June, 2020 21:32
It makes me chuckle, there's a song that has no reference to rugby and nothing to do with England yet English rugby fans are getting all in a tiz.

I don't want to be too out there and radical, but... Could someone not just come up with a new song?

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Heaf 22 June, 2020 13:29
I like LOHAG

Re: RFU reviewing the singing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot
bigbitty 22 June, 2020 13:43
LOHAG - lots of Haig and Guinness?


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