The Way Old Friends Do

Words & Melody: Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus, 1979
Arranged: Alma Mary McFarland

We learned this song by request of the 1989 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras committee to sing at that year’s celebration. It was written by Abba and expertly arranged and taught to us by Alma Mary McFarland as a song for people who are living with HIV. We kept the song in our repertoire, and some of us still remember a live-to-air radio gig some months later where it was so hard to keep our voices going as dear David Abello, our director then, conducted with tears in his eyes for his friend Paul. A few years later we sang it for the friends, family and comrades of Donna Burns, whose busy anti-apartheid work and then her awful murder prevented us from welcoming her to the choir she’d always wanted to join.

It isn’t a sad song really. But sorrow reminds us how badly we need the support of each other. The world today is full of that same need for compassion, for solidarity among people at the individual and the international levels. But there is joy here too. And where love for others is the basis of our politics, and our voices combine to express it, what could be more beautiful?


You and I can share the silence,
Finding comfort together the way old friends do.
And after fights, and words of violence,
We make up with each other the way old friends do.

Times of joy and times of sorrow,
We will always see it through.
And I don’t care what comes tomorrow,
We can face it together the way old friends do

Author: solidaritychoir

Activist choir in Sydney Australia

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