“We Shall Overcome” Reimagined by Simon Thacker

Simon Thacker, Publicity Photo, Jazz India Circuit.

This iconic anthem took root during the 1954-1968 Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. is said to have evolved first from a hymn by Dr. Charles Albert Tindley (July 7, 1851 – July 26, 1933) an American Methodist minister and early gospel music composer who published it in 1900.

19 leading musicians from around the world join classical guitarist and composer Simon Thacker on his re-imagination of the anthem to express a message of solidarity in the time of Covid 19.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Featuring: Akbar Ali (Pakistan), Anna Witczak-Czerniawska (Poland), Farida Yesmin (Bangladesh), Farzad Moradi (Iran), Javed Bashir (Pakistan), Jehad Al Halal (Bahrain), Mainuddin Khan Sayonto (Bangladesh), Paban Das Baul (India), Parvathy Baul (India), Praveen Narayan (India), Prokash (Bangladesh), Raghu Dixit (India), Raju Das Baul (India), Rubin Shrestha (Nepal), Salah Alawi Sharakhat (Bahrain), Siddhartha Maharjan (Nepal), Simon Thacker (Scotland), Vladislav Demin (Russia), Yasaman Najmeddin (Iran) and out now on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/q9EOKKyKy54

“There have been many creative responses to the challenges of the Covid -19 crisis. A revelatory take by East Lothian based classical guitarist and composer Simon Thacker on a seminal song of hope has added to the artistic achievements of this time. He has brought nineteen leading performers from around the world together for his ecstatic reimagining of the iconic song We Shall Overcome, as an international message of solidarity in the time of Covid 19.”

Simon aimed to create a track that would celebrate the unique possibilities of a spectacularly diverse ensemble, from nine countries. We Shall Overcome features a vocal lineup of Paban Das Baul, Parvathy Baul, Raju Das Baul and Farida Yesmin from the mystical Bengali Baul spiritual tradition of India and Bangladesh, Polish world music diva Anna Witczak-Czerniawska, Indian star singer songwriter Raghu Dixit, Bangladeshi folk singer Prokash, Pakistani classical singers Javed Bashir and Akbar Ali and Persian classical singer Farzad Moradi.

Each of the five verses in this epic transformation is preceded by breathtaking instrumental interaction between Thacker on classical guitar, Jehad Al Halal (cello) and Salah Alawi Sharakhat (bass) from Bahrain, Bangladeshi flautist Mainuddin Khan Sayonto, Chennai based tabla maestro Praveen Narayan, Rubin Shrestha (flute) and Siddhartha Maharjan (percussion) from Nepal, and virtuoso Iranian qanun exponent Yasaman Najmeddin.

Simon Thacker composed, produced and edited the audio and video of the track, embarking on the complex journey of creation in April. Simon’s career has been defined by pioneering intercultural collaborations. For We Shall Overcome he took inspiration from each of the respective traditions of the performers as well as the immense legacy of a song known around the world in many languages. He said “For me, this version of We Shall Overcome is a beautiful testament to the force for positivity and unity that music will always be. We hope it will lift your spirits during the time of Covid 19.” You can see the full video on Simon’s YouTube channel.


Related Stories