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Published on Aug 31, 2009
Joan Baez ~ DONNA DONNA ~ Joan says: One of the most recent stories about this song is from May, 1989, when I was still in Czechoslovakia, while the Communist government was still well-entrenched. Humanitas International and I had invited some of the leading dissidents to my concert, incuding Vaclav Havel ( who later became the President of Czechlslovkia). Ot was a government-televised concert and police were all over the place. We had people sit with out dissident friends to keep them from being arrested.
"I sang and then invited a banned Slovakian musician to the stage where we got the microphones turned off for the first time. When I introduced Havel, the audience went wild. To close the concert I asked the "legitimate singers who performed before me to sing the encore with me. They were very hesitant, but I was able to persuade them. I hit about two notes of "Donna Donna" when the sound was cut again. But without a microphone in a hall of about 4,000 people we sang "Donna Donna." You could have heard a pin drop. Someone had taken the very serious personal risk of turning off the house music. Even the police were to embarrassed to interrupt and do their job. It was an important moment ------ a big victory. Recorded in concert for CBC Radio Montreal, Canada, 1969.