November 2014 – Songs of Struggle and Freedom

The PMN Song of the Month for November 2014 is “By My Silence” by Ellen Bukstel from Florida. This expertly crafted and inspiring song is an adaptation of “First they came…”, a poem by German theologian Martin Niemöller, which became widely known in the 1950s. The song is relevant to current events including the global silencing of reporters and whistle blowers and the surveillance and incarceration of Muslims and other racial minorities on unjust suspicion of terrorism. While political in its details the song invokes a universal theme and dares to look in the face of the dark side of human nature. The “speaker” of the song points the finger at him or herself for not speaking out against these societal injustices, and by extension, implicates the rest of us.

By My Silence
© 2008 written by Ellen Bukstel & Nick Annis

I’m not a communist
So when they came for the communists
I held my tongue
Minded my own business like a good neighbor
I trusted that justice be done
I didn’t ask what was their crime
It was their sadness wasn’t mine
I didn’t care where they were sent
By my silence I gave my consent
By my silence I gave my consent

I am not Jewish
So when they came for the Jews
I had nothing to say
Branded with stars like cattle in box cars
And then taken away
I didn’t ask what was their crime
It was their sadness wasn’t mine
I didn’t care where they were sent
By my silence, I gave my consent
By my silence, I gave my consent

I didn’t care when they came for the Unionists
Came for the socialists, took the powerlessELLEN PERFORMANCE
I’m not a terrorist, I’m not an immigrant
I’m native born faithfully ignorant
I didn’t care what was their crime
‘til their sorrow turned into mine

I was ok, I was a citizen and I was free
I didn’t care now there’s nobody there
No one to speak out for me
At the time I believed
It never’d happen to me
I didn’t know what it meant
For my silence to give my consent
For my silence to be my consent
By my silence I give my consent


Ellen Bukstel challenges her listeners to laugh, dig deep and embrace the wild emotional rollercoaster we call life with every daring turn of phrase…a rare, bold, real deal maverick, a multi-faceted break the mold original who lays her emotions bare, puts her passions on the line and, without fear, makes the world perk up and pay attention with straight talking, heart on her sleeve, from her soul to yours lyrics.. From hilariously funny to moving compositions of love, remembrance, and social awareness, her songs always hit home. A veteran to the stage since childhood, she has been recognized with more than 40 songwriting awards and acknowledgements since 2002.




GIrls Like Me – Honorable Mention

Words and Music by Carrie Ferguson of Northampton, MA

piano pic by Glenn Koetzner

“Devilishly catchy folk-pop tunes and melodic ballads, exuberantly heartfelt lyrics…infectious joy” – The Valley Advocate Haling from Western Massachusetts via Northern California, singer-songwriter Carrie Ferguson creates soaring folk-pop with haunting melodies and carefully-crafted lyrics. Carrie’s sophomore album, The List Of Whales, was just released in January 2014. Her songs have been featured on WUMB in Boston, WRSI The River in Northampton, and other folk radio shows across the US. Carrie was chosen for the 2013 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase, and has opened for Antje Duvekot, Cheryl Wheeler, Meg Hutchinson, Charles Neville, and Livingston Taylor.


Judges for November 2014

People’s Music Network held its first PMN Song of the Month Showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference November 13-16, 2014. Ten finalists for the November Song of the Month performed songs of freedom and struggle for a group of conference goers and judges. The live judging panel included:


Qualifying Submissions

There were 10 qualifying submissions for the month of August. Listen to them all here, with complete lyrics. Thanks to everyone who submitted songs! Also see all the live performances of these songs during the PMN Showcase on youtube.

3 thoughts on “November 2014 – Songs of Struggle and Freedom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *