We Shall Overcome by Simon Thacker – A Seminal song of hope!

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Simon Thacker is known for bringing together musical elements from across the world. His widely appreciated compositions have a distinct flavor of a heady, yet seamless mix of rhythm and music that leap over geographic boundaries. In our present times, when the COVID crisis still has a substantial hold, it has become almost necessary to cut across physical and spatial boundaries. And thus, Simon Thacker’s music shines even brighter when his compositions not only resonate, but also showcase the musical symphonies and instruments from different countries of the world.

A number of creative attempts have been made to lift the human spirit and to create positivity and hope. Artists have given expression to their creativity in unique ways using technology as the bridge to lessen the physical distances. Simon Thacker in his trademark way brings to us his latest creation, a ‘revelatory take on We Shall Overcome’ which is now available on YouTube ( https://youtu.be/q9EOKKyKy54 ). An apt rendition of one of the most loved songs across the globe, this wonderful creation strikes a familiarity that is comforting in such times of drastic change. 

We Shall Overcome – Simon’s creation

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Simon has got together 19 leading musicians from 9 different countries ‘to share the message of solidarity in the time of COVID 19. We Shall Overcome features a vocal lineup of India’s Paban Das Baul, Parvathy Baul and Raju Das Baul, Bangladesh’s Farida Yesmin, from the mystical Bengali Baul spiritual tradition along with India’s much loved singer songwriter Raghu Dixit, Polish world music diva Anna Witczak-Czerniawska, Bangladeshi folk singer Prokash, Pakistani classical masters Javed Bashir and Akbar Ali, and Persian classical singer Farzad Moradi. Each verse in this epic transformation is preceded by breathtaking instrumental interaction between Thacker on classical guitar, Jehad Al Halal (cello) and Salah Alawi Sharakhat (bass) from Bahrain, Bangladeshi flautist Mainuddin Khan Sayonto, Chennai based tabla maestro Praveen Narayan, Rubin Shrestha (flute) and Siddhartha Maharjan (percussion) from Nepal, and virtuoso Iranian qanun exponent Yasaman Najmeddin.

Simon began the composition and collaboration of this musical journey in April. ‘He took inspiration from each of the respective traditions of the performers as well as the immense legacy of a song known around the world in many languages’. 

About We Shall Overcome

We have grown up singing this iconic song, which is as old as 1900, according to some sources. I remember singing it in school in different languages. We Shall Overcome or Hum Honge Kamyaab or any of the different language renditions have stayed with us over the years because of two things. First, the wording of the song is exceptionally motivating and second is its soulful tune. The words sway in harmony as the music soothes, at the same time inspires. When one first thinks about Simon Thacker re-creating this age old song, it might sputter some doubts about whether it would do justice and remain true to the original. But once you start hearing his new creation, the rendition takes a new form. The amalgamation of different languages and voices, the euphony of the multiple instruments and distinct string of Simon’s guitar doesn’t disappoint. Further, the words of this landmark song ring truer in the testing times of the pandemic. 

As Simon himself points out, “For me, this version of We Shall Overcome is a beautiful testament to the force for positivity and unity that music will always be. We hope it will lift your spirits during the time of Covid 19.”

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