IT IS a haunting but stirring song of protest, written 90 years ago by political prisoners held in a Nazi concentration camp.

Now Die Moorsoldaten (The Peat Bog Soldiers) will be the first EP, in the original German and English, by The Tenementals, a band of academics and musicians who came together to tell the radical history of Glasgow through the power of music.

The band has created an impressive catalogue of songs which explore the radical side of Glasgow’s past, from the militant Suffragettes of the early twentieth century and the Sighthill Martyrs of 1820, to the Red Clydesiders, such as trade union activist and former Glasgow University rector Jimmy Reid.

Glasgow Times: Jimmy Reid after being elected as Glasgow University rectorJimmy Reid after being elected as Glasgow University rector (Image: Newsquest)

While the 90-year-old protest song Die Moorsoldaten is well-known inside Germany, it is much less known outside of it despite it being covered by a range of artists including Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson.

The Tenementals’ version, which is being released on Strength in Numbers Records, aims to take the song and “blast it into the future”.

Professor David Archibald at the University of Glasgow, who is both a founding member and frontman for The Tenementals, said the band are “exploring what the history of a city might sound, look and feel like if developed in song, rather than relying on conventional historical textbooks.”

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He explained: “We are keen to introduce our version of Die Moorsoldaten, in German and English. Our song is a new translation which we hope will bring it to a wider audience and to present it in a new way.

“Although we are interested in Glasgow’s history, we are not parochial, far from it. We are alive to the international connections that the city and its inhabitants have made, be they slave traders or anti-fascist fighters in Spain.”

Glasgow Times: Another song looks at the controversial painting John Glassford's Family PortraitAnother song looks at the controversial painting John Glassford's Family Portrait (Image: Newsquest)

Professor Archibald, who is Professor of Political Cinemas based at the University’s School of Culture and Creative Studies, added: “Peat Bog Soldiers was a major song during the Spanish Civil war and no doubt many of the Glaswegians who fought in Spain would have been familiar with it. We take a tiger’s leap into the past; but our aim is to blast the song into the future at a time when its spirit of resilience in the face of oppression has great resonance.”

Last year, the Tenementals secured the prestigious Outstanding Event award at the 2022 Glasgow Doors Open Day Festival.

Since their debut performance at the Glasgow Doors Open Festival, they have performed at events such as the Glasgow Hidden Lane Festival and May Day in Queen’s Park.

Their songs include Universal Alienation (We're Not Rats), which takes Jimmy Reid’s celebrated 1972 University of Glasgow rectoral address about alienation and updates its spirit for contemporary times and People Make Glasgow, which discusses the complex network of people and institutions which work to create the city of Glasgow, taking its title from the City Council’s current slogan.

Machines for Living reflects on the state of Glasgow’s high-rise flats and the city’s shifting architectural landscape; and Pentimento is a song about painting, slavery and rewriting (repainting) the past. It is based on “John Glassford’s Family Portrait,” an oil painting created circa 1764 by the artist Archibald McLauchlan, which has its own changing history as characters within the painting – a deceased wife, a black boy servant – were thought by historians to have been painted over.