Song Of The Coats

Barbara Dane
Language: English

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Original music and words in vietnamese by Xuan Hong, Việt cộng fighter in southern Vietnam.
English words by Barbara Dane.
Dall’album “I Hate the Capitalist System”, Paredon Records, 1973.

I Hate the Capitalist System

“Written in the southern part of Vietnam in the early '60s, this song was printed in a little pocket songbook carried by the NLF fighters [ossia il Việt cộng] as one of their first gifts to people in the newly liberated villages. It celebrates the dedication of the people working in the little jungle workshops even under the constant threat of bombings and strafings to supply the needs of the fighters. I have had the privilege of singing it in Paris at the giant Tet celebration held in 1972 by the Vietnamese community there, in this English version, and while doing volunteer work with a group of Vietnamese women on a large farm in Cuba when I only knew how to sing the melody without words. Both times I was struck by the power of a song to seal the bonds of solidarity, to communicate love and respect for other people's culture. Just the humming of the melody together said more than any words. This beautiful arrangement was made collectively by the artists who play it. Tim Scott’s cello part was born when we performed it together in Montreal, at a conference with Vietnamese students. Andy Pitt on guitar, Robbie Merkin on Fender electric piano, and Dave Ellman on the Chinese bell and tom-tom, worked out just the right simple but eloquent counterparts.”
(Nota introduttiva al brano dal libretto che accompagna l’album)
Brothers brave the rain and sun,
Heat of day and cold of night.
Coats we sew for everyone
Help to warm your will tofight.
Brothers risking death each day
As winter hurries on its way,
Oh know that we will do our best.
Faster, fingers, take no rest.

In the forest dark and green,
Like a stream of silk our vengeance runs.
Little speedy sewing machines
Move as one with distant guns.
Oh my fingers, nimbly sew,
That our fighter warmly may go.
Oh know that we will do our best.
Faster, sisters, take no rest.

Winter is come, the coats are done.
One to warm each fighting girl and boy.
We 've sewn our love in every one,
Filling them with courage, hope and joy.
Early to the front they'll fly.
But while we hold them in our hands,
With every coat we pledge our lives
To drive the invader from our land.

Early to the front they'll fly,
But while we hold the coats in our hands,
We pray the sun
Soon will rise on free Vietnam.

Contributed by Alessandro - 2010/3/17 - 11:54

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