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Abstract

Labour movement struggles have a significant cultural dimension. The role of music has been particularly important. IWW songster and activist Joe Hill personified the intimate connection between songs and struggle. When contemporary folk musician John McCutcheon performs, as he invariably does in Australia, ‘The Ballad of Joe Hill’, he prefaces the song with a wonderful tale about Paul Robeson singing for the workers on the steps of the Sydney Opera House (see John McCutcheon Live at Wolf Trap). Folk music is story-telling and it gives a voice to the oppressed, the marginalised and the working classes. In this issue of Illawarra Unity, we feature three interviews with internationally prominent folk singers, all of whom have supported actively the labour movement.

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