Do You Hear the People Sing?

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"Do You Hear the People Sing?"

"Do You Hear the People Sing?" ("French: À la Volonté du Peuple", literally To the Will of the People, in the original French version) is one of the principal and most recognisable songs from the 1980 musical Les Misérables. It is sung twice in the stage musical.


The song, composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg (music), Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel (original French lyrics), and Herbert Kretzmer (English lyrics) is first sung in Act I by Enjolras and the other students at the ABC Cafe as they prepare themselves to launch a rebellion in the streets of Paris during the funeral procession of General Jean Maximilien Lamarque. The song is sung again in the finale as the final song of the musical. This second version, which immediately follows a number by Jean Valjean and others, is sung by the entire cast with revised lyrics, and becomes progressively louder with each stanza.

The song is a revolutionary call for people to overcome adversity. The "barricades" referred to in the song are erected by the rebel students in the streets of Paris in the musical's second act. They are to draw the National Guard into combat and ignite a civilian uprising to overthrow the government, but their rebellion eventually fails.

Use in various languages[edit]

  • The original French version of the musical did not end with the full ensemble singing this song; It only later became the musical's finale song when it was revamped for the English-language version.
  • At the special Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert in 1995, Do You Hear the People Sing? was sung by 17 different actors who had played Jean Valjean around the world. Each actor sang a line of the song in his own language. The languages sung were English, French, German, Japanese, Hungarian, Swedish, Polish, Dutch, Norwegian, Czech, Danish, and Icelandic.
  • Another unofficial adaptation of Do You Hear the People Sing? is to Turkish, named Duyuyor Musun Bizi İşte Çapulcu'nun Sesi sang during Gezi Park Protests.[1][2]
  • In Chinese language speaking countries/regions, there are many versions of the song. A popular Mandarin Chinese (Standard Chinese/普通话) version: 民众呐喊[3] is a singable translation authentic to the original English lyrics.
  • In Hong Kong/Taiwan, there are Cantonese問誰未發聲 and Taiwanese你敢有聽着咱的歌 versions are mixtures of dialect translation from the English lyrics and specific references to corresponding political protests (see below).
  • In June 2013, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the song was adapted in Arabic and performed by all 27 contestants from across the Arab world on the final episode of season 2 of Arab Idol. The song is titled: Hear the Voice of the Oppressed (Arabic: سامع صوت المقهورين‎).[4] Another adaptation was created by Fabrica, an Egyptian theatrical team, in Egyptian dialect (سامع صوت الجماهير).[5] The song, among few others from the musical, was performed on Albernameg (episode 27 – season 3) and aired on 14 June 2013.[6]

Use as a protest song[edit]

The song used as a slogan in the 2014 Hong Kong protests

There are unofficial adaptations of Do You Hear the People Sing? in Cantonese and Taiwanese, intended as actual protest songs; better known versions include "Asking Who That Hasn't Spoken Out" (問誰未發聲), written in Cantonese for Occupy Central with Love and Peace, and Lí Kám Ū Thiann-tio̍h Lán Ê Kua (你敢有聽着咱的歌) in Taiwanese Hokkien.[7]

The song can be heard in protests in Hong Kong as recently as of September 2019, when students sang this song over the national anthem during a secondary school's opening assembly.[8][9][10] The song was initially removed on music platforms including QQ Music in mainland China because of its widespread usage in anti-extradition bill protests, while its English version was later removed from those platforms.[11]

Aside from the aforementioned Cantonese and Taiwanese Hokkien adaptations, The Telegraph said that the song "has long chimed with people protesting around the world", adding that it was heard at the 2011 Wisconsin protests, the 2013 protests in Turkey, and a protest against the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Australia in 2013.[7] It has also been used by anti-TTIP protesters who have interrupted TTIP congresses as flashmobs singing the song.[12]

The song was also used in support of the Maidan protests in 2014 by the group Ukraine 2020, who released a music video for the song on YouTube.[13]

In 2016, the song was used as a protest song in South Korea's nationwide Park Geun-hye resignation movement.[14]

In 2017, the song was translated into Filipino by theater artists Vincent de Jesus, Rody Vera, and Joel Saracho, and has been performed at rallies to protest the killing of activists and drug suspects under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.[15]

Iraqis involved in the protests in 2019 also released a video with the song used.[16]

In September 2020, a number of MSLU students in Minsk, Belarus, were detained after performing Do You Hear the People Sing? in the lobby of their educational institution. The students were protesting after president Lukashenko's disputed re-election.[17][18]

Use in politics[edit]

On 16 September 2016, during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump used the song in a rally in Miami under the parody title Les Déplorables, a response to Hillary Clinton's controversial "basket of deplorables" label.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Duyuyor musun bizi İşte Çapulcunun Sesi Do you hear the people sing (HD)". 18 June 2013 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ Gezi Park protests[circular reference]
  3. ^ "中文演唱2分钟起 Do You Hear The People Sing?悲惨世界 民众呐喊 人民之歌 in Chinese from 2:00 闪聚 快闪". 4 August 2013 – via YouTube.
  4. ^ "Arab Idol – المشتركين الـ 27 – البؤساء". Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  5. ^ ""فبريكا" تقدم المسرحية الغنائية "البؤساء" على مسرح باسم يوسف". Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  6. ^ "سامع صوت الجماهير؟". Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b Moore, Malcolm (30 September 2014). "How a song from Les Misérables became Hong Kong's protest anthem". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  8. ^ credited, Source: Reuters / Social media [as (4 September 2019). "Hong Kong students sing Les Misérables song instead of national anthem – video". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  9. ^ Marks, Peter (13 August 2018). "The Hong Kong protesters have found an anthem in this song from 'Les Miz'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  10. ^ Regan, Helen; Westcott, Ben; George, Steve; Griffiths, James (16 June 2019). "Hong Kong protest sees hundreds of thousands call for city's leader to step down". CNN. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  11. ^ S.R. (14 June 2019). "Do you hear the people sing? Not in China". The Economist. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Flashmob choir interrupts TTIP congress". Boing Boing. 3 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Чи ви чуєте цей спів?". 16 January 2014 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ ""박 대통령 퇴진" 추위 녹인 촛불 … 평화시위 새 역사 썼다".
  15. ^ Arias, Jacqueline (22 September 2017). "Filipino Version of Iconic 'Les Miserables' Song Becomes National Day of Protest Anthem". Preen. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  16. ^ "سارة ادم – هل تسمع غناء هذا الشعب". 3 November 2019 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ Никита Мелкозеров, Александр Чернухо, Татьяна Ошуркевич (4 September 2020). "Жесткий разговор. Ректор МГЛУ покинула встречу со студентами и их родителями под крики "Позор!"". Retrieved 5 September 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Masked Men Drag Protesting Belarusian Students Off the Streets
  19. ^ Robinson, Will (16 September 2016). "Donald Trump Enters Stage to 'Les Mis' Theme, Welcomes 'Deplorables'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  20. ^ Darcy, Oliver (16 September 2016). "Trump walks onstage to theme of 'Les Miserables,' greets 'deplorables' at his Miami rally". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 September 2016.