the city talks back

Urok Shirhan

Lovesong Revolution

Lovesong Revolution

Can a sound start a revolution? The Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 1974 is known to have been triggered by a love song aired on the radio. Eighteen days prior, “E Depois do Adeus” was performed by Paulo de Carvalho as Portugal’s submission for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Departing from this love song, this sound essay traverses other, more recent instances of public speech, bodies in the street, political songs and sounds. While some of the sounds are explicitly political, expressing solidarity or speaking directly of struggle, other sounds are political only implicitly – or “accidentally” – politicized through their adaptation in contexts such as protests.

This piece thinks about the amplification of sound through embodiment, all while keeping in mind the following: Where can dissonance and dissidence be located within our own lives? Is there place in the public sphere for those unamplified voices inside our heads: the soft voices that speak of fear, doubt, powerlessness and precarity? Can the revolution include our heartbreak and exhaustion, as well as our courage and defiance?

Can a love song start a revolution?

Full project credits can be found on the About page.


Paulo de Carvalho – “E Depois do Adeus” (1974)

Zeca Alfonso – “Grândola Vila Morena” (1971)

Aziz Ali – “Hi Elsana Sana” (1958)
هاي السنة سنة عزيز علي 

Maeda Nazhat – “Ya Umm El Fustan El Ahmar” (1960’s)
يا أم الفستان الأحمرمائدة نزهت

Sheikh Imam – “Guevara is Dead” (1984)
جيفارا مات الشيخ إمام 

Ahmad Fouad Negm – “Guevara is Dead” (1967)
جيفارا مات أحمد فؤاد نجم

Jaafar Hassan – “Santiago” (1973)
سانتياغوجعفر حسن

Jaafar Hassan – “Don’t Ask Me About My Address” (1973)
لا تسألني عن عنواني جعفر حسن

Nazem Al-Ghazali – “Tala Min Beit Abuha” (1950’s)
طالعة من بيت أبوهاناظم الغزالي

Feminist March Beirut, Lebanon – “Tala Min Beit Abuha” (2019)
طالعةمنبيتأبوهامسيرة نسويه، بيروت

Jisr El Jumhuriyeh Baghdad, Iraq – “No We Won’t Leave The Square” (2019)
لا لا الساحة ما نتركهاجسر الجمهورية، بغداد

Hamra, Beirut – “No We Won’t Leave The Square” (2019)
لا لا الساحة ما نتركهاالحمرا، بيروت

al sakit, Tahrir Sq. Baghdad, Iraq – Freestyle (2019)
الساكتفريستايل من أرض بغداد، ساحة التحرير

El Rass, Martyr Sq. Central Beirut – Untitled (2019)

Human Microphone, Occupy Wall Street. (2011)
ميكروفون الشعباحتلواوولستريت

Riad El Solh Sq. Beirut — “A Loud Voice Doesn’t Die” (2019)
الصوت العالي ما بيموت رياض الصلح بيروت

Ring Bridge, Beirut — “No and No and No and No” (2019)
لا و لا و لا و لاجسرالرينغبيروت

Article cited: Chris Stone and Elliott Colla. “Negm Mat.” Jadaliyya, December 3, 2013.