Sunday, February 3, 2013

1st ever karaoke union songs, by a union company

Is this a great idea or what? A CD of karaoke union songs made by and for union members.

Union Pride, a Canadian company, sells it for $9.95. Here are the details:
When union members get together at a party, bar or union school they can use this CD to learn and sing the songs that helped build the union movement we are part of today. 
We have combined many of the classics with a few lesser-known gems, and some modern contributions.

These are all-new recordings...

The styles range from Jackie Richardson’s amazingly powerful, moving jazz interpretation of Strange Fruit to Marnie Niemi and a swinging bluegrass combo on Which Side Are You On? Kathryn Rose’s voice on Bread and Roses is soaring and beautiful. Robert Priest’s Put It on the Ground will have you laughing, Coco ‘Cognac’ Brown nails Joe Hill, and The Ballad of Springhill by Mike Danckert is haunting.

Unionists involved include Mike Hersh of the Steelworkers, who wrote and sings Ruby and the Painted Pants; and Anne Healy of CUPE, who sings Union Maid with Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher. Marnie Niemi is an OPSEU Rep. The booklet text is written by Tony Leah, CAW.

The CD features vocal and karaoke versions of each song. As far as we know these are the first karaoke versions of union songs released anywhere. It comes with a 16 page pamphlet that includes all the lyrics, and also a short essay on the history and context of each song, illustrated with photographs.
You can order it here.

We've been chastised, by the way, for failing to mention our Canadian brothers and sisters when we urge people to buy union-made products. So we're especially happy to tell you about Union Pride.

Here's how they describe themselves:
Union Pride is a promotional products & advertising specialty distributor that showcases union-made and fair-trade goods from Canada and other countries — your best guarantee of high-quality, safe products and fair pay for the workers who make them. We have been providing customized items for Canadian unions and community groups since 1997.
Their founder, Lorie King, explains in a blog post:
Our main purpose is to promote the use and sale of union-made products, because they are directly creating better employment. And most of it within our communities. 
But it’s not really about the stuff. The apparel, the trinkets & trash, the bumpf and the rest. 
It’s still all about the message. Human rights, a well educated and healthy community, safe workplaces and a vibrant arts and cultural sharing. Justice and fairness. Stronger unions.