They Rewrote Their National Anthem?

This is kind of awesome, in a low-key way.

Back in the 1960s, I fell in love with a voice – an absolutely beautiful rich full woman’s voice, singing lead in a folk group called “The Seekers”. A year or two ago, I found out who that voice belonged to, a woman named Judith Durham, and that she hadn’t vanished into obscurity, but was a relatively popular artist and composer in her native Australia.

And tonight, I found out that at the end of last summer, she led a team of Australian songwriters in revising the (somewhat dated) words of their national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair”. This Youtube video is of the premiere live performance of the new lyrics, performed by Judith Durham and Kutcha Edwards. (The first three minutes of the videw are a short speech by her telling the story of how she came to compose it and acknowledging those who contributed to it.

Maybe not a big deal, but I rather like the idea of a collaborative effort to update lyrics to a national symbol – and it’s kind of a cool sing, given the genre of ‘patriotic song’ that it needs to fit into.

Just to clue you in to what made me fall for her voice, here’s perhaps the most pure example: the flip side of their hit “Georgy Girl”: When the Stars Begin to Fall. And here’s Morningtown Ride, which manages the oxymoronic feat of being a rollicking lullaby.

Yeah well, this sort of thing is a cottage industry in the antipodes.

We have an eminent musician (and they don’t come much more Aussie iconic than Judith, remembering that for a period The Seekers outsold The Beetles in the UK) comes out every decade or so to revise Advance Australia Fair. In between we’ll have yet another competition to design a new flag. If we can’t get a plebicite about becoming a republic passed, then we’ll probably pass on the trinkets too.

If Judith proposed “The Carnival Is Over” for the job then she’d be in with a better chance.

Proud of the country, sure thing. Being austentatious about it, not on your nelly. Most us enjoy the tune, especially at an Olympic medal ceremony, but singing it, prefer not. I fear that day when the MCG crowd on grand final day belts it out with the verve and sincerity of US crowd will come, but likely not in this generation.

Advance Australia Fair was written by a Scot in the 1870’s and the score gathered little but dust until the Whitlam decided that God Save The Queen had to go. That was fair enough but it was then decided that it had to be replaced. Which is where the plan comes unglued. The problem is most Australian still harbour a preference for a song about a suicidal sheep thief with a back story of the great shearers strike of 1891 that founded the Australian Labor Party.

Now we also know that this is wrong on so many levels, so if we can’t have the anthem we want, we’ll have the one that sounds like we don’t want an anthem. Thank you.

In my view the absolute best version of Advance Australia Fair is when sung to the tune of Gilligan’s Island. I think that puts a national anthem precisely with the gravitas it deserves. I’d have our Global Cultural Attache, Les Patterson sing it unaccompanied. Priceless.

Her voice is good, but I can never stand that fake echo effect they used back then. The modern ones are better, but even then the reverb has to be turned down pretty low.

She sounds a lot better in the other clip. If only the pianist did, too.

Judith Durham should go and play bingo or whatever instead of pretending she is at all relevant.

Just piping in to say how much I’m loving this thread already (if you may recall from other threads, I am an anthematologist) and I’ll be checking this out posthaste when I’m home from work, and sharing with other anthematologists.

Nononononono. Adam Hills’ “Working Class Anthem”. I can’t access Youtube at work, so I’ll take it on faith when Google tells me that this is it.