Billy Bragg Ode To Joy Premiere

Folk singer to premiere choral work

Renowned British folkie Billy Bragg is set to unveil his new version of ‘Ode To Joy’ – with updated lyrics.

Billy Bragg remains a legend in British music. A veteran of both punk rock and the British army Bragg emerged as a sensitive songwriting voice in the political convulsions which beset Britain in the 80s.

An ardent socialist, Billy Bragg’s work has always retained a social conscious. Now the singer is set to introduce a new element to his music, by performing a version of ‘Ode To Joy’ – written by the classical composer Beethoven.

‘Ode To Joy’ is the chorale finale of the composer’s Ninth Symphony. Commonly used as the anthem for the European Union it is set to have a radical overhaul, with Billy Bragg adding new lyrics.

The singer is set to perform the work at Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Saturday (August 29th). Billy Bragg is due to be accompanied by the Asai America Youth Orchestra, and will lead the audience in the finale.

This is only the third time that Billy Bragg has performed ‘Ode To Joy’, with his version getting its premiere at the Royal Festival Hall in London on June 2007.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Billy Bragg revealed that he did not expect the song to become a regular part of his set list. “I wouldn’t just throw it in between ‘New England’ and ‘Milkman Of Human Kindness,” he said.

“But if it becomes widely known and popular, I’m sure I’ll be able to fit it in in some context.

“Maybe I should make a choral album: ‘Songs For Singing Choirs With Billy Bragg’,” he added.

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