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MP3 Bruce Lloyd Kates - The Star-Spangled Banner (Post 9/11 Version)

This is a revised version of the American national anthem. It is a serious and respectful attempt to make it more singable and more musically satisfying. The result is more like a hymn than a battle song.

1 MP3 Songs in this album (2:22) !
Related styles: Spiritual: Inspirational, Mood: Patriotic

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About this Post-9/11 Version

My name is Bruce Lloyd Kates, I am a composer-songwriter living in Los Angeles, my place of birth, and, some years ago, I set for myself a project of trying to modify the music for our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."  My initial goal was merely to simplify it and make it easier for the average person to sing.  This was a serious project, one that I undertook in a spirit of utmost gravity and respect.

In so doing, I was surprised to find that the resulting music sounded more like a hymn that one might sing in a church.  For this modified version clearly called for a slower, more solemn tempo, the inclusion of pauses at the end of certain key phrases, and, in general, a much quieter, more contemplative interpretation.  I have played and sung this new version for many people whose opinions I respect, and all of these people have been genuinely moved -- some even to tears.

These kinds of responses have led me to feel that, in the post-9/11era in which we are living, there could very well be a call for a more reflective and inward-looking version of our national anthem.  For, in the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty that followed this disaster,  it seemed to me that we were running the risk of losing our democracy and our freedoms.  I saw, first-hand, how fragile these precious gifts really are, how we can never take them for granted, and how easily a free and civilized nation can slip into totalitarianism. It had never before occurred to me that, one day, some demagogue might come along and take away our civil liberties, and the whole 200-year-old experiment in democracy could all just go up in smoke!

Being the author of this revised version, I find it of interest to ask a simple question: Is it possible we could be singing a better tune?


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