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"Take Down Your Flag:" Peter Mulvey's Collaborative Song For Charleston

Jason Eppink
The Confederate flag flies in front of South Carolina's Statehouse.

With funerals underway this week in Charleston, South Carolina for the nine victims of a shooting at a historic black church, emotions of sorrow and outrage have spread across the world. Although most of that outrage is directed at the shooter himself, a professed white supremacist, it has grown to encompass South Carolina's state government.

Despite being removed by a protestor a few days ago, state law still calls for the Confederate flag to fly over South Carolina's Statehouse. 

The flag's continued presence at full staff, even after the shootings, affected a multitude of people including Milwaukee singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey. In response, Mulvey wrote a song titled Take Down Your Flag, which he posted online and invited collaborators to add their own verse.

The song, much to Mulvey's amazement, took off immediately. "It has been all sorts of emotions," he explains. "I write a lot...and I try to be very careful about what I wrote, and so I chose all the words in this song very carefully."

According to Mulvey, the Confederate flag in South Carolina has no pulley or rope for it to be lowered, thus, "is a symbol incapable of expressing sorrow and compassion."

What has surprised Mulvey the most is that so many musicians are wanting to collaborate and cover his song. Up until recently, he estimates that several dozen various musicians have either added to or covered the song. "You never know what your art is going to start with somebody else's life," replies Mulvey.   

Peter Mulvey's song, called Take Down Your Flag is available on YouTube and SoundCloudand has been added to and covered by dozens of other musicians since he posted it just a few days ago.