One of the brief uncomfortable moments at Monday night's vigil at the foot of Mount Royal in memory of Jack Layton was the interminable version of "This Land Is Your Land" by a group of well-intentioned Anglophone musicians. The song's a good one, but even though they sang the Canadian version (not "from California to New York islands" but "from Bonavista to Vancouver Island") I wondered about the choice. It was written by folk music legend Woodie Guthrie, whom I revere, but, damn it, he was American. In addition, the group didn't have a song in French prepared and it was up to a few stalwarts Monday night to start a rendition of "C'est à ton tour" by Gilles Vigneault (also called "Gens du Pays.)"
Perhaps the Guthrie song was one of Layton's favourites, and that was the reason for the choice. I don't know. But I'm pretty sure he'd have loved a series on protest songs by Radio Nederlands which I just came across. Here's the link to the part about Brazilian protest music, featuring my hero Chico Buarque.