Canadian songs for Pride: "Rise Up" by Parachute Club

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      While many tend to think of the Pride parade as one massive party, but it's far more than that. To write it off as just a huge spectacle is to not look deeply enough.  

      Yes, it's a celebration but one that is firmly rooted in the struggle for equality, rights, social progress, inclusion, acceptance, and more. 

      In 1983, Canadian pop group Parachute Club released the anthemic "Rise Up", produced by Daniel Lanois. With its joyful, upbeat, reggae-influenced sound and positive, empowering social-rallying cry, the infectious tune became a hit across the nation.

      The band had other hit songs (including "Love is Fire", a duet with John Oates of Hall & Oates) and released other socially conscious songs, including one called "Sexual Intelligence". Rather than exploring carnality, "Sexual Intelligence" focused on how traditional gender roles and definitions can restrict and stifle individuals, thereby addressing feminism and transgender issues.

      However, "Rise Up" remains the song the band is best known for.

      Part of its broad appeal is that its rousing lyrics speak to numerous activist causes and movements, including feminism, LGBT rights, racial equality, and politics, thus making it quite flexible in interpretation.

      Although the lyrics don't specify any particular social movement or group, the band did perform the song at the 1983 Toronto Pride parade during the early years of the LGBT movement in Canada interestingly enough.

      Since then, the song has proven it has longevity and has endured over the years, being used in everything from advertisements to political campaigns.

      It was even performed by lead singer Lorraine Segato with a choir at NDP leader Jack Layton's state funeral in 2011.

      Parachute Club has dissolved and reunited several times over the years, but upon one of their latest reunions, they performed "Rise Up" at Toronto Pride in 2008.

      In 2014, Parachute Club released a dance remix of the song in time for World Pride, which was being held in Toronto.

      It's one that deserves space on your playlist this Pride weekend if you're having parties, gatherings, coupon swaps, knitting circles, group therapy, or whatnot. 

      We've still got a ways to go with LGBT progress and this is one way to continuing celebrating rising to the ocassion.



      Paul E

      Jul 31, 2015 at 7:48am

      Regardless of the 'message' it may want to send, the various pride parades/celebrations come off as nothing more than a collective freak show/ party. If the message is equality and acceptance, I would think toning down the shiny, barely there costumes and general theatrical aspects might go a long way towards making the massage come across loud and clear. What is more important - the spectacle or the message?