Monday, 14 March 2011

Brian Moore Labels English Rugby Anthem a Negro Spiritual Dirge

An Englishman comments on English song choices
My recent post (Do the English Know Who They Are?) on the debate concerning the English anthem at rugby matches raised some (English) hackles, even though at least one of the sites (by English patriots) that linked through to it, lobbies for an English anthem in a way that mirrors exactly what I said (though some people had tried to make out I was being anti-English).

Now at the time I said nothing about the other "English anthem" (albeit unofficial) of English rugby, 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'.

As that isn't official in any sense, it's not for me to "tell" English fans what they should or shouldn't sing.

But on live TV yesterday Brian Moore - during a very exciting and intense match (England V Scotland) - asked why on earth England had adopted a "negro spiritual" (his words, not mine) and I believe he also labelled it a "dirge."


Now, Brian is English and a sporting legend. So no doubt the "controversialists" who lined up to have a pop at my comments will maintain a revered silence?

Probably not.

As it happens I tend to agree with Brian, but as I say, it is for the fans to decide what their anthem is. We in Wales have our own (one things of Calon Lan, Sospan Fach, Bread of Heaven and of course our beautiful anthem) all steeped in Welsh history and tradition.

Perhaps Brian Moore believes the English should do likewise instead of copying a UB40 chart hit, manufactured at the time (if I remember right?) of the rugby World Cup, with no connection to England, its traditions and history.

Answers on a postcard to Brian Moore c/o BBC TV.

I used to dislike Brian Moore for his one-sided commentaries on the TV, but since hearing of his autobiography and his overcoming sexual abuse as a child, I do believe he is someone who should be admired for getting through such physical and mental torment.

Like many others I now enjoy his one-sided approach and his "speak first, think later" approach which can add a bit of colour to a game and get us "armchair experts" shouting at the TV!

1 comment:

  1. England fans have been singing "Swing Low" for years aand years, much longer ago than the Rugby world cup. Growing up(as I did) in Home counties England ,friday afternoons at school meant singing practise and all the books contained "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and usually "Go Down Moses" as well as "Ilkley Moor ba'ht Hat" "Widdecombe Fair" and various others that I have thankfully forgotten, an eclectic mix ,chosen from the popular songs of the previous 150 years and more. Coming from various different schools (public and grammer etc) the typical rugger crowd would have shared this background and in return to the chapel going Welsh and having a background of community singing of a more secular type they responded with what they knew and what was easy.
    If you listen "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" is the same sort of easy melody as the new Welsh "anthem" of the suporters "Hymns and Arias" as almost no-one goes to chapel any more they cant sing the actual hymns any more. The Scots have "Flower of Scotland" from the 1970's too,not sure what the Italians and Irish sing, but the simple answer to why "Swing Low" they all know it and the tune sounds good when thousands of men (and some women) bellow it!


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