Revolutionary songs stimulate youth to make change
'Crises create innovation': creating music that spurs on change. Yankee Doodle was a American revolutionary song.
Many enthusiastic nationalistic songs have been produced over the last weeks to support the youth revolution and boost the protester’s confidence.
In the protester-named ‘Change Square’ at Sana’a University, people chant, dance and play with these songs that reflect the demands of protesters. The lyrics are derived from the revolutionary slogans that are chanted at the square, often strongly criticizing the president and the current regime.
Al-Khattab Al-Rowhani, a youth activist, said that Yemenis in the all the ’Change Squares’ across the various governorates need these songs to remain enthusiastic and motivated.
“These songs fire Yemenis with enthusiasm,” he told the Yemen Times. “The recent revolutionary songs displayed a big improvement in Yemeni art. I was surprised that this number of songs have been produced in such a short time.”
“Crises create innovation,” said Al-Rowhani. “Those singers were repressed before the revolution, but they have been able to introduced their innovations at this time.”
He said that people in the ‘Change Squares’ are chanting these songs with enthusiasm. “They are very keen and very stimulated to continue their struggle because of these songs. Yemeni history will record these songs that united Yemenis against the president and a corrupt regime,” he said. “These songs have become a major part of the revolution.”
Al-Rowhani indicated that the singers of the revolution are threatened with dismissal from their jobs and receive other threats from officials. However, “The regime cannot stop them singing for the revolution,” he said.
“Revolution... Revolution... People live free with struggle!” This is a part of a famous song by Yemeni singer Saleh Al-Mozallem, who has been repeatedly threatened by officials from security because of his recent songs.
Speaking to the Yemen Times, Al-Mozallem said that he received a generous offer to sing for the president, but declined the offer.
“Although I always receive threats, I will produce several songs for this revolution and I’m ready to sacrifice my life for this revolution. Yemenis need our songs these days,” he said.
Asked if he received money in exchange for his songs, he said: “I paid for these songs from my own pocket. I don’t seek money in exchange for producing these songs because it’s our duty to contribute to this revolution.”
“The revolution and the martyrs have inspired us to do our best. I think that our songs will last forever because they don’t glorify specific people. Our songs are produced for our country only,” he explained.
Al-Mozallem has composed three songs for revolution so far and he is preparing other songs. “Our contribution at this time is very important. If we didn’t contribute to the revolution at this critical time, when will we contribute for our country?”
He called on other Yemeni singers to record songs for the revolution. “The singers [who didn’t sing] will regret not contributing towards the revolution.” He conveyed a message to those singers: “Shame on you singers! You have disappointed your fans’ hopes.”
A fresh graduate student, Khaleel Al-Haimi, occasionally comes to ‘Change Square’ outside Sana’a University to enjoy time with the youth there. “The most interesting thing in this revolution are the nice songs that make me very enthusiastic about change,” he told the Yemen Times.
“I live away from Change Square, but even if I couldn’t get there, I listen to songs from the TV. The makers of these songs have really done a great job,” he said.
Singer Fawaz Shehab has recorded one song and composed four for the revolution. His famous song says: “Peaceful... Peaceful... Our revolution is of the youth. Popular... Popular... Our revolution is civilized.”
Shehab told the Yemen Times that Yemenis react strongly to these songs. “They ask us to produce more songs at this time,” he said. When composing a new song now he focuses on the people’s slogans at the sit-ins, like ‘people want to overthrow the regime’ and remake it as a song.
“We convert their political slogans into songs,” he said. “We want to keep the spirit of revolution among the protesters.” Shehab urged other singers to take part in the revolution, indicating that Yemeni singers will be the first beneficiaries of this revolution as they are currently marginalized by this regime.
“The singers will take what they deserve after the revolution. They will be highly respected and more confident,” he said.