A fine night at the Marx Memorial Library, 20th October 2016
Those who know our music will be aware that we do a lot of work with the International Brigades Memorial Trust. As such, it was a great honour to be invited to participate in one of a series of events to commemorate and remember the courage and sacrifice of the brave men and women who went to fight and to care for fighters in the battle against Franco's fascists in the second half of the 1930s.
On this particular evening we were afforded time to perform the fullest range of our music relating to the Spanish Civil War and the history of the Basque Children of 1937. So, in addition to our own material we were able to perform other songs like Ewan MacColl's Jamie Foyers and the Brigaders' marching song, Valley of Jarama.
The event was hosted at the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell Green in London which, if you are unfamiliar with it, is a hugely interesting and important archive of left wing materials, including a stunning collection of archive material on the British contingent of the International Brigades and their involvement in the Spanish Civil War.
In addition to our own contribution to the evening, IBMT President and actress Marlene Sidaway read a number of poems written by both combatants and commentators at the time.
There were also two films shown, one of the International Brigades, including their march through Barcelona and La Passionaria's address to them, and another showing a commemoration of the Dabrowski Battalion of Polish International Brigaders at the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Warsaw earlier this year. The latter film reminds us of the appalling rewriting of history that the current right wing government in Poland is undertaking with respect to the International Brigades and their fight against fascism, and the brave fight that some individuals in Poland are leading to ensure this re-write doesn't gain credence.
The evening was both intimate and thoughtful throughout. We would like to thank Jim Jump, Meirian Jump and all those involved in the IBMT for the invitation to perform.
(At the end of the evening, I managed to buy a book written by Penelope Fyvel about her experiences leading up to, during and after the Spanish Civil War. This is a fascinating read by the hero of our own song, The English Penny.)