Well, I assume that most of us are now aware that there is an election headed our way in ten or so weeks. I assume also that most of us will be able to vote one way or another and to have that vote counted one way or another. And, to add a bit of a historical flourish to this election in 2020, most of us are aware that the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, passed in 1920, finally allowed most of the other half of America to vote—Women!
The international “Women’s Suffrage” movement was born in Europe and the USA back in the mid-19th Century . . .
. . . but women’s right to vote didn’t get adopted by all forty-eight states until that constitutional amendment was adopted a hundred years ago.
During the last few weeks, newspapers and television were full of stories about this bit of American history. But, gentle readers, just what does this have to do with my weekly musings about music and our favorite little instrument, the ukulele? Well, you need to start early with a ukulele and, of course, with the thought of voting!
Alas, not much about ukuleles this week but a lot about music! Still, in my humble opinion, worth a muse . . .
Moving on, demonstrations and marching were big parts of the Women’s Suffrage movement . . .
. . . and so-called “Suffragettes” (the feminized form of Suffragist, for you grammarians out there) were energized by many marching songs.
Alas, there seems to be a dearth of recordings or YouTubes of any of these marches. They are probably seen as a bit too maudlin or “dirge-like” for modern ears, but here is one just to give a taste. The pictures are pretty good however. Tap or click on the next image for a look and listen.
Well, it’s not a four-four march but a three-four waltz–ragtime no less–worth listening to. Tap or click on the next image for this piano version.
Then, there were the Suffragette songs done in the more popular manner that became best selling products of Tin Pan Alley, or its British equivalent, and the nascent recording industry. Many parlor piano playing women loved to turn the musical tables on the men of the family!
Most men who were not suffragists simply pouted, sipped their beer, and made a grudging attempt to do household chores.
Needless to say, many popular songs reflected this!
Here’s an original recording of this ragtime tune. Click or tap on the next image for a listen.
Here’s a more modern take on some of these tunes. Give a click or tap on the next image for some fun.
I was able to find a sratchy YouTube of this British music hall tune! Click or tap on the next image for a listen. The lyrics are pretty timeless.
There were, as would be expected, many popular songs that reflected the rather confused and confusing thoughts on both sides of the issue.
And, then, there were the songs of the so-called “Antis,” those men and (yes) women who opposed giving the right to vote to women.
Now, there has to be a ukulele version of one of the many songs supporting the suffragette movement. Alas, not that many. But here is one with a ukulele accompaniment. Click or tap on the next image for an inspirational listen.
So, whether you are a Suffragist or a Suffragette, vote proudly and thoughtfully for the candidate of your—not necessarily your partner’s or spouse’s—choice! And, of course stay safe, stay sequestered, and STAY TUNED!
If not, improvise and sing out anyway mask or no mask!