National Anthem: Arise! Arise!

National Anthem: Arise! Arise!

Singer Jean Rohe has written an alternative national anthem.

Brooklyn-based musician Jean Rohe has been hailed as a sure-footed young singer-songwriter” by the New York Times. Jean’s aspirational alternative national anthem for the United States,“National Anthem: Arise! Arise!”,  has now been performed by choirs and artists across the country and was published last year in the second edition of the popular songbook Rise Up Singing. (See her perform it here.)

Her latest release Jean Rohe & the End of the World Show won three Independent Music Awards in 2014. (Hear “Nobody Told Me to Dance” from the album here, and read the lyrics below, which pay tribute to the Syrian singer Ibrahim Qashush who was killed in 2011 for his protest music.) She is now working on a new record with her band, which will be released later this year.

Nobody Told Me to Dance

This song was inspired by the words of a Syrian protester who was asked by a reporter why he and his fellow demonstrators were dancing in the street. “Nobody told me to dance,” he said, “it just started.” It also references a popular street protest song in Syrian cities, “Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar” (Come on, Bashar, Leave) which was attributed by some to a young man named Rahmani and is associated with Ibrahim Qashush, a cement layer who sang the song at protests. Ibrahim literally gave his voice for the revolution when he was found in a river with his throat slit and vocal cords removed. I dedicate this song to him and all the other brave Syrian demonstrators who face brutality with wit, creativity, and indefatigable spirit. — Jean Rohe

They told me what to think, they told me what to do
They told me who to scorn and who to bow down to
They told me who was righteous and who could never win
They told me my defiance was tantamount to sin
And they told me what to say and what to keep inside
They told me to be obedient; there was nothing I could hide
They told me they were everything, everything I’d ever need
And they told me what I’d find in store if I ever disagreed, but

Nobody told me to dance (it just started)
Open up the door into the streets (and the clouds parted)
Feel the pulse of freedom move our hands and feet (open hearted)
Nobody told me to dance, it just started.

Nobody told me to dance (it just started)
Open up the door into the streets (and the clouds parted)
Feel the pulse of freedom move our hands and feet (open hearted)
Nobody told me to dance, it just started.