We Do Not Speak Your Name -The Spooky Men’s Chorale | Stephen Taberner

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by Stephen Taberner

We do not speak your name
Not whisper, not shout
Not bandy it about

We do not speak your name
Because it hurts our mouths, like poison, like dirt

We do not speak your name
We do not advertise your brand
We do not strengthen your hand

There is a thunderous sound you love to hear
Part made of worship, part of fear
You wish to hear it all day long
But we do not sing that song
We do not speak your name

You would cut us into pieces with your knives
But there is no them
Only us
Even you are one of us
We see what you do

We do not speak your name
We’d rather squeeze you like a boil
You are just the symptom
Not the disease

But all things change
And the time for change is always now

Until the ink on your final page has dried,
Until the echo of your final lie has died,
’Til history’s verdict is signed and certified
We do not speak your name
We do not speak your name

About The Spooky Men’s Chorale

spooky mens choraleThe Spooky Men’s Chorale are a group of Australian male singers. Most reside in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, but some are from Western Australia. Their repertoire consists largely of songs either written or arranged by their director (or “spookmeister”) Stephen Taberner, on topics ranging from power tools to covers of ABBA songs. They also perform traditional Georgian music, a major influence on their compositions, harmonies and vocal style.

The Spooky Men’s Chorale were created by Stephen Taberner and made their first appearance in August 2001 as part of an evening called “This was nearly my life” at Paddington Uniting Church, Sydney. Taberner claims he called up every man he knew who could sing and “taught them 3 songs, and asked them to show up wearing black and with an interesting hat.” The three songs were “Vineyard”, a Georgian church song, “Georgia”, a mock Georgian original, and “The Mess Song”. The latter was an existential rumination on the aftermath of breakfast written by New Zealand’s Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair of The Front Lawn.

In the first couple of years the group performed and rehearsed sporadically until the National Folk Festival of Easter 2004, held in Canberra, which effectively launched the group and where, thereafter, they became cult figures. The gig at the National was also the debut of what would become the Spooky theme song (“We are the Spooky Men, We dream of mastodons …”) which typified the brand of humor they were beginning to define. The attention received at the National Folk Festival in 2004 gave rise to a series of opportunities to put their music before a wider audience. They are now a staple at folk festivals.

The Spooky Men’s Chorale typically perform with between 12 and 16 singers, the exact number at any one time depending on the particular circumstances, locations and so on. When touring in the UK and Europe, the group are regularly joined by up to 6 UK based singers. The UK contingent also perform in their own right as A Fistful of Spookies.

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