Paul Robeson (1898-1976) accomplished many things in several occupations in his life: a baritone singer performing Broadway, opera, spirituals and traditional folk songs; an actor; a football player in the National Football League; and, briefly, a lawyer.
He was a controversial figure in the history of America due to his sympathies for communist Russia, which led to him being scrutinized and blacklisted in the era of McCarthyism. His political activism against fascism dates back to the 1930s and the Spanish Civil War. Robeson was also an early and vocal member of the Civil Rights movement in the US, petitioning the United Nations in 1951 for action against the US government for its failure to act against lynching.
There are many YouTube videos with audio from recordings dating back to the 1920s and 1930s, and I particularly liked hearing today’s selection, “Skye Boat Song,” a 19th-century Scottish folk song.
In addition to Robeson’s 1959 and 1960 renditions, the piece has been performed by Rod Stewart, Tori Amos, Tom Jones, and others.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the audio for the song from the Paul Robeson (topic) YouTube channel: