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Swing low sweet chariot

  • 19-09-2015 12:13am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 19,117 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Why? It's a song for slaves wishing for death to release them from their suffering. Why has it been the only song the English sing at rugby matches?

    How do they justify having it as their anthem?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,318 ✭✭✭✭ NIMAN




  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 ✭✭✭ rrpc


    Akrasia wrote: »
    Why? It's a song for slaves wishing for death to release them from their suffering. Why has it been the only song the English sing at rugby matches?

    How do they justify having it as their anthem?

    You could make the same case against the fields of athenry. Almost identical themes really.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭✭ JoeTheMuss


    the Fields of Athenry are in Galway so theres a direct connection to the Irish rugby team, what bloody connection have the britts got to the cotton fields of America???


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 27,836 ✭✭✭✭ ThisRegard


    Akrasia wrote: »
    Why? It's a song for slaves wishing for death to release them from their suffering. Why has it been the only song the English sing at rugby matches?

    How do they justify having it as their anthem?

    Low lie the fields of Athenry anyone?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,326 ✭✭✭✭ Dozen Wicked Words


    They are both annoying, Swing Low seems to be the only song England fans ever sing though.

    Rugby fans have no imagination with songs.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 ✭✭✭ rrpc


    JoeTheMuss wrote: »
    the Fields of Athenry are in Galway so theres a direct connection to the Irish rugby team, what bloody connection have the britts got to the cotton fields of America???
    A very tenuous link there. Galway's in Ireland so therefore it's about rugby?

    Both songs are about oppression and loss. Really not the kind of themes to lift your spirits.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators, Regional West Moderators Posts: 6,715 Mod ✭✭✭✭ connemara man


    There is something odd about singing the fields of Athenry playing against Australia though...


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,573 ✭✭✭ degsie


    Look like it's getting knocked on the head, 'bout time!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,075 ✭✭✭ OldRio


    Best not mention or go into the song 'Hold them down you Zulu Warriors' whilst performing the dance of the flaming arseholes.

    Could never finish that pint.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,780 ✭✭✭ Paul Smeenus


    It's a pun based on the fact that they used to have a player called Martin "Chariots" Offiah - as in "Chariots of Fire".


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,780 ✭✭✭ Paul Smeenus




  • Registered Users Posts: 11,791 ✭✭✭✭ Richard Hillman


    I don't know if people actually think that banning a beloved fan anthem will help the cause or further drive people away.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,553 ✭✭✭✭ errlloyd



    This seems a reasonable reason why it was sung in Middlesex, but doesn't explain why they started singing it for Oti.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,641 Dog Botherer


    doesn’t bother me either way, but the talk of banning it is making a lot of truly awful people insanely mad so i say crack on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,307 ✭✭✭✭ lawred2


    degsie wrote: »
    Look like it's getting knocked on the head, 'bout time!

    how is it going to be knocked on the head?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,075 ✭✭✭ OldRio


    It's a pun based on the fact that they used to have a player called Martin "Chariots" Offiah - as in "Chariots of Fire".

    Well it was sung in club houses and changing rooms in the 1970s well before Offiah was born.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,780 ✭✭✭ Paul Smeenus


    OldRio wrote: »
    Well it was sung in club houses and changing rooms in the 1970s well before Offiah was born.

    But not at games?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,743 ✭✭✭ Heres Johnny


    They should sing "send the buggers back" instead


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,780 ✭✭✭ Paul Smeenus


    errlloyd wrote: »
    This seems a reasonable reason why it was sung in Middlesex, but doesn't explain why they started singing it for Oti.

    The assumption that it was for Oti was based on the fact that they thought his appearance was the first time it was sung, and that was because he was black.

    So it might not have been sung for him at all - it night have been because people remembered singing it then previous year for a famous player at the Sevens. No way of knowing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,075 ✭✭✭ OldRio


    But not at games?

    Not that I remember. The song itself was sung along with various hand movements that best not be described. This would be about 1976 or 77.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,780 ✭✭✭ Paul Smeenus


    OldRio wrote: »
    Not that I remember. The song itself was sung along with various hand movements that best not be described. This would be about 1976 or 77.

    You are Brian Moore and I claim my prize.

    https://www.the42.ie/brian-moore-backs-calls-for-english-rugby-to-scrap-swing-low-sweet-chariot-5127540-Jun2020/


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,075 ✭✭✭ OldRio




  • Registered Users Posts: 3,780 ✭✭✭ Paul Smeenus


    OldRio wrote: »
    Well, nó. I'm a lot older

    Alright, Methuselah? I hope you're not planning on bringing perspective to the forum.

    Irish rugby began with POC / BOD...


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,576 ✭✭✭ Dickie10


    is this not a pro black song? therefore not good/ok?


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,225 ✭✭✭✭ Venjur


    From what I can tell this issue seems to have largely been manufactured by the media in the UK.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,795 ✭✭✭ Digifriendly


    My problem with all this revisionism that is going on is the total lack of consistency. If we went into the background for want of a better term of every Tom, Dick and Harry who has a statue in their honour there would be very few statues remaining standing. Likewise with rugby anthems and songs where do we stop? Racism is an evil in our world but does that mean the image of Charles Darwin should be removed from the British £10 note as his theory of evolution provided the doctrine behind the white supremacism that undergirded the late-Victorian British Empire? In case you don't accept the last sentence here is a quote from Darwin's 'The Descent of Man' where he spelled out his racial theory : 'The Western nations of Europe . . . now so immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors [that they] stand at the summit of civilization. . . . The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races through the world.' I'm not accepting for one minute that Darwin's image should be removed but only pointing out the absurdity of much of what is going on at present. Racism needs to be dealt with but I honestly don't think this is the best way of counteracting it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,564 ✭✭✭✭ Buer


    It's an interesting point, Digifriendly. Society evolves and changes. There are practices that are commonplace today which I probably would never think of that could be seen as completely unacceptable in 50 years. Will be it acceptable to call someone a culchie or a jackeen in years to come? Do we eradicate our history entirely and wipe it clean? I'd be very much of the opinion that history should be used as a learning opportunity to ensure we do not repeat our mistakes. The removal of statues certainly doesn't fall into the eradication of taught history but it does blur the lines in terms of awareness.

    As you say, if we are to apply some of the thinking across the board, we're going to see most of our historical figures vilified. I saw an interesting example earlier this week in relation to The Guardian. It's a left leaning publication which has been very supportive of liberal causes in recent years. However, it was founded by a man who made his fortune in textiles during the industrial revolution. What was the source of his income? He was a cotton trader and he didn't grow that cotton in his back garden and pick it himself. Should a publication founded on money generated indirectly from slavery be a target?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,553 ✭✭✭✭ errlloyd


    Agreed, if we are being extreme we'd have to drop Churchill's state, grind the pyramids into dust, and basically flatten every building in Belgium.

    That said I think Swing Low Sweet Chariot probably has been disrespectfully appropriated by rugby. Particularly because of the hand gestures that go along with it. Slavery is not yet history, and it feels wrong to begin reappropriating the legacy of slavery before we are finished dealing with it.

    The equivalent would be an actual song about the Irish famine, written during the times of the famine, now being used as an English rugby song, while Irish people were still systemically prejudiced against by former member states of the British Empire. It is awful. Rugby is a game of the elite of English society, and they often mockingly sign a song written by slaves and about slavery as some sort of prayer that they'll win a match?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,299 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Dravokivich


    I think it's all being a bit over thought. I've grown up with it as a death song in westerns. Which is essentially what it is and the period it's from.

    Its a bit odd to hear about one of the gestures associated with it 40/50 years ago (videos and descriptions are hard to find about it). That's down to great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ. It's just a mob following a buzz. It's not what people are doing when they are singing it at the matches and most of them are probably unaware of it. Why should they be shamed into not singing it any more?

    How many people here smile when singing along to Escape?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,728 Former Former


    I think it's all being a bit over thought. I've grown up with it as a death song in westerns. Which is essentially what it is and the period it's from.

    Its a bit odd to hear about one of the gestures associated with it 40/50 years ago (videos and descriptions are hard to find about it). That's down to great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ. It's just a mob following a buzz. It's not what people are doing when they are singing it at the matches and most of them are probably unaware of it. Why should they be shamed into not singing it any more?

    How many people here smile when singing along to Escape?

    The Pina Colada Song?


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