strong>Scunthorpe Telegraph, London – What’s On magazine
“It’s almost 40 years since the Canadian folk singer struck a chord with British audiences with the movie theme Soldier Blue. This set of 15 of her greatest hits is testimony to her never-tiring prowess as a prolific songwriter, peace campaigner and native American heroine. Listen to Universal Soldier and try to disagree.” 9/10
UpBeat: Buffy Sainte-Marie Exclusive
Excerpt from an interview with The Beat magazine, London, November 2010:
“Buffy Sainte-Marie is an international superstar performer, an anti-war and rights icon, and a leading songwriter who has given the world classics like “Up Where We Belong” and “Until It’s Time for You to Go”.
The lists of artists who have covered her songs is a true accolade to her gift to write numbers that so vividly and movingly bring into focus how we can all be touched by subjects like love, war, rights, religion and mysticism.
Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Donovan, Francoise Hardy, Cher, Joe Cocker and Bobby Darin are a few of the virtual who’s who of the music business who have tapped into her rich catalogue.
For someone who has achieved so much – she also wrote one of the greatest peace anthems ‘Universal Soldier’ – Buffy shows no signs of letting up and still has ambitions to fulfill.
“Yes I do! I wake up in the morning feeling like somebody shot me out of a slingshot! Somehow I’ve got a lot of energy,” Buffy told The Beat by telephone from her home in Hawaii where she has lived for more than 40 years.
Her home underlines how she likes to shun the trappings of stardom and stay close to her Canadian Indian roots.
“I live on a goat farm in the mountains. I’m raising 27 goats and two horses and a kitty cat. Plus I’m on the road with a rock ‘n’ roll band…”
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (annotated lyrics)
Words and music Buffy Sainte-Marie
© Caleb Music
He’s five foot two and he’s six foot four
These were the height parameters for soldiers in 1961
He fights with missiles and with spears
In both the future and the past, soldiers are soldiers: only the equipment varies
He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17
Age parameters during the 1960s
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years
This is not some new high tech phenomenon
He’s a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist a Jain,
A Buddhist, and a Baptist and a Jew
Soldiers are found even among people who are “religious” and are not confined to just one religion
And he knows he shouldn’t kill and he knows he always will
Even though his religion forbids it, he chooses to be a killer
Kill you for me, my friend, and me for you
Whichever side he’s on, it’s still absurd
He’s fighting for Canada. He’s fighting for France. He’s fighting for the USA
and he’s fighting for the Russians and he’s fighting for Japan
He’s not just from some far away enemy country but from “our” country too
And he thinks he’ll put an end to war this way
He hasn’t thought it through from a logical, long range point of view
He’s fighting for democracy, he’s fighting for the Reds
He’s on “our side” as well as “their side”
He’s says it’s for the peace of all
He’s believes in the absurdity of violence as an act of peace
He’s the one who must decide who’s to live and who’s to die
He has a responsibility he’s been trained to overlook
And he never sees the writing on the wall
He learns nothing from history so can’t predict obvious outcomes of repeating it
But without him how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau
Human beings allow other human beings to commit genocide
Without him Caesar would have stood alone.
We can’t blame just the leaders
He’s the one who gives his body as a weapon to a war
Each individual has a choice
And without him all this killing can’t go on
No individual soldiers = no war
He’s the universal soldier and he is really is to blame
Some responsibility is upon each soldier
But his orders come from far away no more
The Nazis claimed they were innocent because their orders came from” far away” superiors but that’s not true here and now in our modern democracies
They come from him and you and me
We are each responsible – civilians, mothers and sweethearts – so long as we tolerate it
and Brothers, can’t you see this is not the way to put an end to war?
This last line is put not as scolding someone else but as a question to someone you love. Note that the music ends on an unresolved chord.
Vietnam soldier’s grafitti, mis-identified by Smithsonian Magazine as a “mystery poem”, turns out actually to be from Buffy Sainte-Marie’s song Universal Soldier.
In 1967, a young G.I. was lying on his bunk on a troop carrier headed to Vietnam. On the canvas bottom of the bunk above him, he carefully wrote a few lines of free verse in Morse code. That piece of canvas was donated along with a few others to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where a historian was studying wartime graffiti.
You’re the one who must decide
Who’s to live and who’s to die
You’re the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war – And without you all this killing can’t go on.
The historian published the “mystery poem” in the Smithsonian magazine. It prompted hundreds of letters, more than any other the editors had received on any other article. They were mostly from Vietnam vets. Some were scolding. Every one pointed out that the mystery poem was actually an extract from Buffy Sainte-Marie’s classic song, Universal Soldier.
Canada’s Walk of Fame introduces a four-day festival of music, comedy and film, featuring some of Canada’s most iconic performers. Headlining the weekend’s festivities are internationally acclaimed artists Buffy Sainte-Marie, Burton Cummings, and Paul Anka. In total, the festival will announce over 50 performances including a spotlight on 26 emerging artists. The festival will be held at select locations in Toronto October 14 – 17 (catch Buffy on Saturday, October 16 at the Elgin Theatre). Tickets on sale now!
This album is a digitally re-mastered version of three albums: “Buffy,” “Changing Woman” and “Sweet America” on the Gypsy Boy Music label, distributed by Appleseed Records in the U.S., and EMI in Canada. These songs, written in the 1970s and new to most Buffy fans, fit right in with both her classics and more recent songs. Look forward to hearing them live this fall. Tour response to her song Generation live in concert across Canada has been incredible.
Interview with The Yellowknifer newspaper
Yellowknifer: How do you feel about your long-celebrated repertoire from the 1960s and 1970s – have you tired of performing your oldest songs live or does it still excite you to perform the classics?
Buffy Sainte-Marie: If I get tired of a song, I don’t do it until I’m hot for it again. The nicest thing that can happen to a classic song is when a new band falls in love with it – it’s like a musical aphrodisiac every time – and good songs remain good songs.
The best thing about the re-release of The Pathfinder: Buried Treasures mid-70s collections is the songs! Of course some of the arrangements sound kinda dated now, and recording techniques are different; but underneath all that, the songs are really strong. Some of them were too early (environmental greed, women’s perspectives) but now people get it. There are all kinds of surprises for people who lost track of me in 1967 – pounding rockers and environmental protests and some totally intimate love songs that most people wouldn’t guess are mine.
Check out Buffy at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, documentary footage, EPK video, and more in the online VIDEO GALLERY!
What a great weekend! Buffy was in Hamilton, Ontario and on-hand to accept four awards from Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards for her album, Running for the Drum.
Buffy recieved: best female artist, best album, best single for “No No Keshagesh” and best songwriter. What a spectacular way to wrap up November. Who knows what December will bring?