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Macedonia: Singing Skopjans

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, North Macedonia, Arts & Culture, Digital Activism, Music

Screenshot from the video “Lumberjack” by Singing Skopjans.

An ad hoc choir “Singing Skopjans” (Macedonian: Распеани скопјани in Cyrillic and Raspeani skopjani in Latin alphabet) consists of citizens of Skopje [1] who express their opinions on social matters through songs. The singers meet every Sunday at different locations throughout the capital of the Republic of Macedonia and shoot a music video, to be uploaded on the YouTube channel of the civic activist group Ploshtad Sloboda [2] (“Freedom Square”).

The choir uses humor, which is reflected in their repertoire. They performed children's song “We are Macedonians” (Ние сме Mакедонци) [3] [MKD] at the public holiday [4] of the Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle, and had a performance in front of the Greek Liaison Office (a de facto Embassy of Greece) with the song “Dirlada” (Дирлада) [5] [MKD] about summer love of a Macedonian boy and Greek girl who encounter difficulties due to visa restrictions.

On a grimmer note, the Singing Skopjans also sang “Kill me” (Убиј ме) by the local band Bernays Propaganda [6], which includes these lyrics:

Не сум како тебе,
немам иста боја,
омразата е твоја

Не сум како тебе
затоа у-б-и-ј м-е
убиј, убиј ме.

I am not like you
I am not of the same color
The hatred is yours

I am not like you
therefore k-i-l-l m-e
kill, kill me.

…in order to comment on the events of beating up student protesters on a Skopje square [7] a few months ago.

The latest performance includes the Lumberjack Song [8] by Monty Python, related to the cutting of the old trees on the Ilinden Boulevard, an act of Skopje's mayor which caused a lot of anguish and frustration [9] [MKD] among ordinary citizens several months ago.

The word about this innovative commentary source has been spreading mainly through social media, especially through Facebook, and after a few weeks caught the attention of the traditional media: Dnevnik daily published an article about the choir [10] [MKD].