American folk music has long presented a problematic conception of authenticity, but the reality of the folk scene, and its relationship to media, is far more complicated. This book draws on the fields of media archaeology, performance studies, and sound studies to explore the various modes of communication that can be uncovered from the long American folk revival. From Alan Lomax's cybernetic visions to Bob Dylan's noisy writing machines, this book retrieves a subterranean discourse on the concept of media that might help us to reimagine the potential of the networks in which we work, play, and sing.
Banjo Roots and Branches
Robert B Winans University of Illinois Press, 2018 Library of Congress ML1015.B3B34 2018 | Dewey Decimal 787.8809
The story of the banjo's journey from Africa to the western hemisphere blends music, history, and a union of cultures. In Banjo Roots and Branches, Robert B. Winans presents cutting-edge scholarship that covers the instrument's West African origins and its adaptations and circulation in the Caribbean and United States. The contributors provide detailed ethnographic and technical research on gourd lutes and ekonting in Africa and the banza in Haiti while also investigating tuning practices and regional playing styles. Other essays place the instrument within the context of slavery, tell the stories of black banjoists, and shed light on the banjo's introduction into the African- and Anglo-American folk milieus. Wide-ranging and illustrated with twenty color images, Banjo Roots and Branches offers a wealth of new information to scholars of African American and folk musics as well as the worldwide community of banjo aficionados. Contributors: Greg C. Adams, Nick Bamber, Jim Dalton, George R. Gibson, Chuck Levy, Shlomo Pestcoe, Pete Ross, Tony Thomas, Saskia Willaert, and Robert B. Winans.
An exploration into the history and practice of trova, a genre of music that is the soul of Yucatán.
Yucatecan trova is a music genre comprising a type of romantic song that is considered “the soul of Yucatán and Yucatecans.” This first book on Yucatecan trova offers an insider’s view of the history and practice of a treasured cultural heritage. A central theme of Gabriela Vargas-Cetina’s ethnography is what she refers to as the “beautiful politics of music” practiced by Yucatecan trova patrons and organizations, which is a way of asserting the importance of groups and issues through nonconfrontational means.
Trova emerged on the peninsula at the end of the nineteenth century and continues to be part of the general urban soundscape in the states of Yucatán and Campeche. Until the 1920s, this music was little known outside Yucatán and became absorbed into the larger Latin American Bolero genre, making it difficult to perceive its uniqueness and relation to life in Yucatán.
Vargas-Cetina, a native Yucatecan and trova musician, offers ethnographic insight into the local music scene. With family connections, she embedded herself as a trovadora, and her fieldwork—singing, playing the guitar in a trova group, and extensively researching the genre and talking with fellow enthusiasts and experts—ensued. Trova, like other types of artistic endeavors, is the result of collaboration and social milieu. She describes the dedicated trova clubs, cultural institutions, the Yucatecan economy of agricultural exports, and identity politics that helped the music come about and have maintained it today.
Positioned in the larger context of the music of Mexico and Latin America and engaging with theories of modernity and cosmopolitanism, experimental ethnography, and the anthropology of organizations, Beautiful Politics of Music consists of rigorous scholarship. It is also a warm tribute to performers and songs that have inspired many people around the world for more than two centuries.
The Bill Monroe Reader
Edited by Tom Ewing University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress ML420.M5595B55 2000 | Dewey Decimal 781.642092
"Tell 'em I'm a farmer with a mandolin and a high tenor voice," Bill Monroe said. Known as the Father of Bluegrass Music, Monroe pioneered a whole new category of music and inspired generations of musicians and fans. Yet from his founding of the original bluegrass band through six decades of performing, he remained an enigmatic figure, a compelling mixture of fierce intensity, homespun modesty, and musical integrity.
Determined to play the mandolin in a way it had never been played before, Monroe distinguished himself in the mid-1930s with the Monroe Brothers then began forming his own band, the Blue Grass Boys, in 1938. By the mid-1940s other bands were copying his sound, and a new style, bluegrass music, was born. While country music moved toward electrification, Monroe maintained his acoustic ensemble and developed his "high, lonesome sound," performing nearly up to his death in 1996.
In this eclectic, richly illustrated reader, former Blue Grass Boy Tom Ewing gathers the most significant and illuminating of the many articles that have been written about Monroe. Through the writings of nearly sixty observers, interviewers, admirers, folklorists, and other scholars, along with Ewing's astute commentary, The Bill Monroe Reader offers a multifaceted view of one of the most influential country musicians of the twentieth century.
Lively, heartfelt, and informative, The Bill Monroe Reader is a fitting tribute to the man and the musician who transformed the traditional music of western Kentucky into an international sensation.
Banjo music possesses a unique power to evoke a bucolic, simpler past. The artisans who build banjos for old-time music stand at an unusual crossroads ”asked to meet the modern musician's needs while retaining the nostalgic qualities so fundamental to the banjo's sound and mystique. Richard Jones-Bamman ventures into workshops and old-time music communities to explore how banjo builders practice their art. His interviews and long-time personal immersion in the musical culture shed light on long-overlooked aspects of banjo making. What is the banjo builder's role in the creation of a specific musical community? What techniques go into the styles of instruments they create? Jones-Bamman explores these questions and many others while sharing the ways an inescapable sense of the past undergirds the performance and enjoyment of old-time music. Along the way he reveals how antimodernism remains integral to the music's appeal and its making.
Businessman, politician, broadcasting personality, and newspaper publisher, Cas Walker (1902–1998) was, by his own estimation, a “living legend” in Knoxville for much of the twentieth century. Renowned for his gravelly voice and country-boy persona, he rose from blue-collar beginnings to make a fortune as a grocer whose chain of supermarkets extended from East Tennessee into Virginia and Kentucky. To promote his stores, he hosted a local variety show, first on radio and then TV, that advanced the careers of many famed country music artists from a young Dolly Parton to Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, and Bill Monroe. As a member of the Knoxville city council, he championed the “little man” while ceaselessly irritating the people he called the “silk-stocking crowd.”
This wonderfully entertaining book brings together selections from interviews with a score of Knoxvillians, various newspaper accounts, Walker’s own autobiography, and other sources to present a colorful mosaic of Walker’s life. The stories range from his flamboyant advertising schemes—as when he buried a man alive outside one of his stores—to memories of his inimitable managerial style—as when he infamously canned the Everly Brothers because he didn’t like it when they began performing rock ’n’ roll. Further recollections call to mind Walker’s peculiar brand of bare-knuckle politics, his generosity to people in need, his stance on civil rights, and his lifelong love of coon hunting (and coon dogs). The book also traces his decline, hastened in part by a successful libel suit brought against his muckraking weekly newspaper, the Watchdog.
It’s said that any Knoxvillian born before 1980 has a Cas Walker story. In relating many of those stories in the voices of those who still remember him, this book not only offers an engaging portrait of the man himself and his checkered legacy, but also opens a new window into the history and culture of the city in which he lived and thrived.
Canada’s Prince Edward Island is home to one of the oldest and most vibrant fiddling traditions in North America. First established by Scottish immigrants in the late eighteenth century, it incorporated the influence of a later wave of Irish immigrants as well as the unique rhythmic sensibilities of the Acadian French, the Island’s first European inhabitants. In Couldn’t Have a Wedding without the Fiddler, renowned musician and folklorist Ken Perlman combines oral history, ethnography, and musical insight to present a captivating portrait of Prince Edward Island fiddling and its longstanding importance to community life. Couldn’t Have a Wedding without the Fiddler draws heavily on interviews conducted with 150 fiddlers and other “Islanders”—including singers, dancers, music instructors, community leaders, and event organizers—whose memories span decades. The book thus colorfully brings to life a time not so very long ago when virtually any occasion—a wedding, harvest, house warming, holiday, or the need to raise money for local institutions such as schools and churchs—was sufficient excuse to hold a dance, with the fiddle player at the center of the celebration. Perlman explores how fiddling skills and traditions were learned and passed down through the generations and how individual fiddlers honed their distinctive playing styles. He also examines the Island’s history and material culture, fiddlers’ values and attitudes, the role of radio and recordings, the fiddlers’ repertoire, fiddling contests, and the ebb and flow of the fiddling tradition, including efforts over the last few decades to keep the music alive in the face of modernization and the passing of “old-timers.” Rounding out the book is a rich array of photographs, musical examples, dance diagrams, and a discography.
The inaugural volume in the Charles K. Wolfe American Music Series, Couldn’t Have a Wedding without the Fiddler is, in the words of series editor Ted Olson, “clearly among the more significant studies of a local North American music tradition to be published in recent years.”
A highly regarded banjoist, guitarist, teacher, and music collector, Ken Perlman previously published a collection of over 400 tunes called The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island: Celtic & Acadian Tunes in Living Tradition; he also produced a 2-CD set of field recordings for Rounder Records called The Prince Edward Island Style of Fiddling.. He has written several music instruction manuals now regarded as classics in their field, notably Clawhammer Style Banjo, Melodic Clawhammer Banjo, and Fingerstyle Guitar.
Environmental sustainability and human cultural sustainability are inextricably linked. Reversing damaging human impact on the global environment is ultimately a cultural question, and as with politics, the answers are often profoundly local. Cultural Sustainabilities presents twenty-three essays by musicologists and ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, folklorists, ethnographers, documentary filmmakers, musicians, artists, and activists, each asking a particular question or presenting a specific local case study about cultural and environmental sustainability. Contributing to the environmental humanities, the authors embrace and even celebrate human engagement with ecosystems, though with a profound sense of collective responsibility created by the emergence of the Anthropocene. Contributors: Aaron S. Allen, Michael B. Bakan, Robert Baron, Daniel Cavicchi, Timothy J. Cooley, Mark F. DeWitt, Barry Dornfeld, Thomas Faux, Burt Feintuch, Nancy Guy, Mary Hufford, Susan Hurley-Glowa, Patrick Hutchinson, Michelle Kisliuk, Pauleena M. MacDougall, Margarita Mazo, Dotan Nitzberg, Jennifer C. Post, Tom Rankin, Roshan Samtani, Jeffrey A. Summit, Jeff Todd Titon, Joshua Tucker, Rory Turner, Denise Von Glahn, and Thomas Walker
The expression laissez les bons temps rouler—"let the good times roll"—conveys the sense of exuberance and good times associated with southern Louisiana’s vibrant cultural milieu. Yet, for Cajuns, descendants of French settlers exiled from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the mid-eighteenth century, this sense of celebration has always been mixed with sorrow. By focusing on Cajun music and dance and the ways they convey the dual experiences of joy and pain, Disenchanting Les Bons Temps illuminates the complexities of Cajun culture. Charles J. Stivale shows how vexed issues of cultural identity and authenticity are negotiated through the rich expressions of emotion, sensation, sound, and movement in Cajun music and dance.
Stivale combines his personal knowledge and love of Cajun music and dance with the theoretical insights of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to consider representations of things Cajun. He examines the themes expressed within the lyrics of the Cajun musical repertoire and reflects on the ways Cajun cultural practices are portrayed in different genres including feature films, documentaries, and instructional dance videos. He analyzes the dynamic exchanges between musicians, dancers, and spectators at such venues as bars and music festivals. He also considers a number of thorny socio-political issues underlying Cajun culture, including racial tensions and linguistic isolation. At the same time, he describes various efforts by contemporary musicians and their fans to transcend the limitations of cultural stereotypes and social exclusion.
Disenchanting Les Bons Temps will appeal to those interested in Cajun culture, issues of race and ethnicity, music and dance, and the intersection of French and Francophone studies with Anglo and American cultural studies.
One of the earliest performers on WSM in Nashville, Uncle Dave Macon became the Grand Ole Opry's first superstar. His old-time music and energetic stage shows made him a national sensation and fueled a thirty-year run as one of America's most beloved entertainers. Michael D. Doubler tells the amazing story of the Dixie Dewdrop, a country music icon. Born in 1870, David Harrison Macon learned the banjo from musicians passing through his parents' Nashville hotel. After playing local shows in Middle Tennessee for decades, a big break led Macon to Vaudeville, the earliest of his two hundred-plus recordings and eventually to national stardom. Uncle Dave--clad in his trademark plug hat and gates-ajar collar--soon became the face of the Opry itself with his spirited singing, humor, and array of banjo picking styles. For the rest of his life, he defied age to tour and record prolifically, manage his business affairs, mentor up-and-comers like David "Stringbean" Akeman, and play with the Delmore Brothers, Roy Acuff, and Bill Monroe.
In 1987 photographer Sandra Dyas moved to Iowa City and began documenting the area’s vibrant live music scene, with its distinctive combination of folk, blues, roots/Americana, and rock sounds. The sixty photos in Down to the River capture her twenty years of photographing live music venues and shooting portraits of musicians in and around the city, resulting in a collection of images as compassionate and honest as the music itself.
Dyas’s photographs present both the sweaty intensity of live performances and the more contemplative moments of individual portraits. They are complemented by Chris Offutt’s empathetic essay, which also encapsulates the experience of connecting with a new home through its music. A companion CD with eighteen tracks by Iowa’s finest singer/songwriters, including Dave Moore, Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, David Zollo, and Pieta Brown, add up to an unmatched perspective on Iowa music and musicians.
1. Iowa Crawl, Joe Price
2. Poor Back Slider, Greg Brown
3. Parnell, David Zollo
4. #807, Pieta Brown
5. Wheels of Steel, Radoslav Lorkovic
6. Down to the River, Dave Moore
7. Lucy and Andy Drive to Arkansas, Kevin Gordon
8. Chuck Brown, Mike and Amy Finders
9. Nobody But You, Joe Price
10. Earleton, BeJae Fleming
11. Ceremonial Child, High and Lonesome
12. Sidetrack Lounge, Bo Ramsey
13. On the Edge, Pieta Brown
14. One Wrong Turn, Greg Brown
15. Not in Iowa, Kelly Pardekooper
16. Living in a Cornfield, Bo Ramsey
17. ’57 Chevy, Tom Jessen’s Dimestore Outfit
18. Roll on John, the Pines
A musical life as glorious metaphor for Florida's cultural landscape.
This biography of 97-year-old Richard Seaman, who grew up in Kissimmee Park, Florida, relies on oral history and folklore research to define the place of musicianship and storytelling in the state's history from one artist's perspective. Gregory Hansen presents Seaman's assessment of Florida's changing cultural landscape through his tall tales, personal experience narratives, legends, fiddle tune repertory, and descriptions of daily life.
Seaman's childhood memories of fiddling performances and rural dances explain the role such gatherings played in building and maintaining social order within the community. As an adult, Seaman moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he worked as a machinist and performed with his family band. The evolution of his musical repertory from the early 1920s through the 1950s provides a resource for reconstructing social life in the rural south and for understanding how changes in musical style reflect the state's increasingly urban social structure. Hansen includes a set of Seaman's fiddle tunes, transcribed for the benefit of performer and researcher alike. The thirty tall tales included in the volume constitute a representative sample of Florida’s oral tradition in the early years of the 20th century.
First published in 1975 and long out of print, Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills is a major work of folklore poised to reach a new generation of readers. Drawing upon Patrick Ward Gainer’s extensive ethnographic fieldwork around West Virginia, it contains dozens of significant folk songs, including not only the internationally famous “Child Ballads,” but such distinctively West Virginian songs as “The West Virginia Farmer” and “John Hardy,” among others.
Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills stands out as a book with multiple audiences. As a musical text, it offers comparatively easy access to a rich variety of folk songs that could provide a new repertoire for Appalachian singers. As an ethnographic text, it has the potential to reintroduce significant data about the musical lives of many West Virginians into conversations around Appalachian music—discourses that are being radically reshaped by scholars working in folklore, ethnomusicology, and Appalachian studies. As a historical document, it gives readers a glimpse into the research methods commonly practiced by mid-twentieth-century folklorists. And when read in conjunction with John Harrington Cox’s Folk Songs of the South (also available from WVU Press), it sheds important light on the significant role that West Virginia University has played in documenting the state’s vernacular traditions.
Three prominent folklorists wrote these essays in the 1970s about Dorrance Weir of upstate New York and his song "Take that Night Train to Selma," Joe Scott of Maine and his song "The Plain Golden Band," and Paul Hall of Newfoundland and "The Bachelor's Song."
Challenging and considerably broadening popular and scholarly definitions of American folk music, Folksongs of Another America recovers the diverse, multilingual traditions of immigrant, Native American, rural, and working-class performers in America's Upper Midwest during the 1930s and 1940s. The book extensively documents 187 tunes and songs in more than twenty-five languages, with full original lyrics and English translations, and biographical notes on the performers. The companion musical tracks and documentary film will be freely available for listening, viewing, or download through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin Libraries' Digital Collections Center.
Folk-Songs of the South:Collected Under the Auspices of the West Virginia Folk-Lore Society is a collection of ballads and folk-songs from West Virginia. First published in 1925, this resource includes narrative and lyric songs that were transmitted orally, as well as popular songs from print sources. Through 186 ballads and songs and 26 folk tunes, this collection archives a range of styles and genres, from English and Scottish ballads to songs about the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the opening of the American West, boat and railroad transportation, children’s play-party and dance music, and songs from African American singers, including post-Civil war popular music. The original introduction by Cox contains vibrant portraits of the singers he researched, with descriptions of performance style and details about personalities and attitudes. With a new introduction by Alan Jabbour, this reprint renews the importance of this text as a piece of scholarship, revealing Cox’s understanding of the workings of tradition across time and place and his influence upon folk-song research.
Frank C. Brown organized the North Carolina Folklore Society in 1913. Both Dr. Brown and the Society collected stores from individuals—Brown through his classes at Duke University and through his summer expeditions in the North Carolina mountains, and the Society by interviewing its members—and also levied on the previous collections made by friends and members of the Society. The result was a large mass of texts and notes assembled over a period of nearly forty years and covering every aspect of local tradition.
Gone to the Country chronicles the life and music of the New Lost City Ramblers, a trio of city-bred musicians who helped pioneer the resurgence of southern roots music during the folk revival of the late 1950s and 1960s. Formed in 1958 by Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley, the Ramblers introduced the regional styles of southern ballads, blues, string bands, and bluegrass to northerners yearning for a sound and an experience not found in mainstream music.
Ray Allen interweaves biography, history, and music criticism to follow the band from its New York roots to their involvement with the commercial folk music boom. Allen details their struggle to establish themselves amid critical debates about traditionalism brought on by their brand of folk revivalism. He explores how the Ramblers ascribed notions of cultural authenticity to certain musical practices and performers and how the trio served as a link between southern folk music and northern urban audiences who had little previous exposure to rural roots styles. Highlighting the role of tradition in the social upheaval of mid-century America, Gone to the Country draws on extensive interviews and personal correspondence with band members and digs deep into the Ramblers' rich trove of recordings.
Gypsies have for centuries been simultaneously vilified and romanticized—associated with criminality and dirt, but at the same time with color, magic, and music. Gypsy music is popular around the world and often performed with gusto at major events, including at weddings in Bulgaria, jazz bars in Paris, and festivals in the United States.
In Gypsy Music, Alan Ashton-Smith explores why this music has such wide appeal, surveying the varied styles that are considered to be gypsy music and asking what links them together. The book begins in the Balkans, home to the world’s largest Romani populations and a major site of gypsy music production. But just as the traditionally nomadic Roma have traveled globally, so has their music. Gypsy music styles have roots and associations outside of the Balkans, including Russian Romani guitar music, flamenco and gypsy jazz, and the more recent forms of gypsy punk and Balkan beats.
Covering the thirteenth century to the present day, and with a geographical scope that ranges from rural Romania to New York by way of Budapest, Moscow, and Andalusia, Gypsy Music reveals the remarkable diversity of this exuberant art form.
The Sacred Harp choral singing tradition originated in the American South in the mid-nineteenth century, spread widely across the country, and continues to thrive today. Sacred Harp isn’t performed but participated in, ideally in large gatherings where, as the a cappella singers face each other around a hollow square, the massed voices take on a moving and almost physical power. I Belong to This Band, Hallelujah! is a vivid portrait of several Sacred Harp groups and an insightful exploration of how they manage to maintain a sense of community despite their members’ often profound differences.
Laura Clawson’s research took her to Alabama and Georgia, to Chicago and Minneapolis, and to Hollywood for a Sacred Harp performance at the Academy Awards, a potent symbol of the conflicting forces at play in the twenty-first-century incarnation of this old genre. Clawson finds that in order for Sacred Harp singers to maintain the bond forged by their love of music, they must grapple with a host of difficult issues, including how to maintain the authenticity of their tradition and how to carefully negotiate the tensions created by their disparate cultural, religious, and political beliefs.
Folk music is more than an idealized reminder of a simper past. It reveals a great deal about present-day understandings of community and belonging. It celebrates the shared traditions that define a group or nation. In America, folk music--from African American spirituals to English ballads and protest songs--renders the imagined community more tangible and comprises a critical component of our diverse national heritage.
In "I Hear America Singing," Rachel Donaldson traces the vibrant history of the twentieth-century folk music revival from its origins in the 1930s through its end in the late 1960s. She investigates the relationship between the revival and concepts of nationalism, showing how key figures in the revival--including Pete Seeger , Alan Lomax, Moses Asch, and Ralph Rinzler--used songs to influence the ways in which Americans understood the values, the culture, and the people of their own nation.
As Donaldson chronicles how cultural norms were shaped over the course of the mid-twentieth century, she underscores how various groups within the revival and their views shifted over time. "I Hear America Singing" provides a stirring account of how and why the revivalists sustained their culturally pluralist and politically democratic Americanism over this tumultuous period in American history.
Ilmatar gave birth to the bard who sang the Finnish landscape into being in the Kalevala (the Finnish national epic). In Ilmatar's Inspirations, Tina K. Ramnarine explores creative processes and the critical role that music has played in Finnish nationalism by focusing on Finnish "new folk music" in the shifting spaces between the national imagination and the global marketplace.
Through extensive interviews and observations of performances, Ramnarine reveals how new folk musicians think and talk about past and present folk music practices, the role of folk music in the representation of national identity, and the interactions of Finnish folk musicians with performers from around the globe. She focuses especially on two internationally successful groups—JPP, a group that plays fiddle dance music, and Värttinä, an ensemble that highlights women's vocal traditions. Analyzing the multilayered processes—musical, institutional, political, and commercial—that have shaped and are shaped by new folk music in Finland, Ramnarine gives us an entirely new understanding of the connections between music, place, and identity.
Joe Wilson (1938-2015), a native of rural East Tennessee, was a civil rights activist, self-educated scholar, founder/administrator of nationally important roots music enterprises, and was legendary for his colorful writing and opinions. Lucky Joe’s Namesake, a companion to Roots Music in America: Collected Writings of Joe Wilson (also published by the University of Tennessee Press), brings us Wilson’s life and observations, mostly in his own words.
From humble mountain beginnings, Wilson’s career progressed through Nashville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and New York City, before settling him for twenty-eight years near the seats of power in Washington, D.C. as the executive director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. In that role, he developed a national model for folk festival presentations, stalked the halls of federal representatives seeking support for traditional artists, and filled concert venues throughout the world with audiences eager to experience the work of master folk musicians. A powerful advocate on behalf of agrarian values, social justice, artistic authenticity, and cultural democracy, Joe wrote in an engaging, humorous, and memorable style.
This eclectic anthology is filled with Joe Wilson’s brilliant published writing for magazines, books, and newspapers as well as privately circulated unpublished works, including an extended autobiographical essay. Readers are sure to benefit from Wilson’s lessons and artful ruminations culled from a lifetime of devotion to music and cultural and social activism.
Fred Bartenstein teaches country and bluegrass music history at the University of Dayton. He is the editor of Bluegrass Bluesman: Josh Graves, a Memoir and coauthor and editor of The Bluegrass Hall of Fame: Inductee Biographies, 1991–2014.
In this vivid musical ethnography, Timothy Rice documents and interprets the history of folk music, song, and dance in Bulgaria over a seventy-year period of dramatic change. From 1920 to 1989, Bulgaria changed from a nearly medieval village society to a Stalinist planned industrial economy to a chaotic mix of capitalist and socialist markets and cultures.
In the context of this history, Rice brings Bulgarian folk music to life by focusing on the biography of the Varimezov family, including the musician Kostadin and his wife Todora, a singer. Combining interviews with his own experiences of learning how to play, sing and dance Bulgarian folk music, Rice presents one of the most detailed accounts of traditional, aural learning processes in the ethnomusicological literature.
Using a combination of traditionally dichotomous musicological and ethnographic approaches, Rice tells the story of how individual musicians learned their tradition, how they lived it during the pre-Communist era of family farming, how the tradition changed with industrialization brought under Communism, and finally, how it flourished and evolved in the recent, unstable political climate.
This work—complete with a compact disc and numerous illustrations and musical examples—contributes not only to ethnomusicological theory and method, but also to our understanding of Slavic folklore, Eastern European anthropology, and cultural processes in Socialist states.
Increasingly popular in the United States and Europe, Andean panpipe and flute music draws its vitality from the traditions of rural highland villages and of rural migrants who have settled in Andean cities. In Moving Away from Silence, Thomas Turino describes panpipe and flute traditions in the context of this rural-urban migration and the turbulent politics that have influenced Peruvian society and local identities throughout this century.
Turino's ethnography is the first large-scale study to concentrate on the pervasive effects of migration on Andean people and their music. Turino uses the musical traditions of Conima, Peru as a unifying thread, tracing them through the varying lives of Conimeos in different locales. He reveals how music both sustains and creates meaning for a people struggling amid the dramatic social upheavals of contemporary Peru.
Moving Away from Silence contains detailed interpretations based on comparative field research of Conimeo musical performance, rehearsals, composition, and festivals in the highlands and Lima. The volume will be of great importance to students of Latin American music and culture as well as ethnomusicological and ethnographic theory and method.
Honorable Mention, 2019 Foreword INDIES Awards - Performing Arts & Music
Popular music has long been a powerful force for social change. Protest songs have served as anthems regarding war, racism, sexism, ecological destruction and so many other crucial issues.
Music Is Power takes us on a guided tour through the past 100 years of politically-conscious music, from Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to Green Day and NWA. Covering a wide variety of genres, including reggae, country, metal, psychedelia, rap, punk, folk and soul, Brad Schreiber demonstrates how musicians can take a variety of approaches— angry rallying cries, mournful elegies to the victims of injustice, or even humorous mockeries of authority—to fight for a fairer world. While shining a spotlight on Phil Ochs, Gil Scott-Heron, The Dead Kennedys and other seminal, politicized artists, he also gives readers a new appreciation of classic acts such as Lesley Gore, James Brown, and Black Sabbath, who overcame limitations in their industry to create politically potent music
Music Is Power tells fascinating stories about the origins and the impact of dozens of world-changing songs, while revealing political context and the personal challenges of legendary artists from Bob Dylan to Bob Marley.
Like many other small towns in Trinidad, Felicity is populated almost entirely by East Indians. In their Caribbean exile, the residents of Felicity have created and recreated the music of their Hindu ancestors. Music of Hindu Trinidad is a fascinating account of the history and cultural significance of Hindu music that explores its symbolic, aesthetic, and psychological aspects while asking the larger question of how this music has contributed to the formation of identity in the midst of their great diaspora.
Myers details the musical repertory of Felicity, which is based largely on north Indian genres including the traditional Bhojpuri folk songs and drumming styles brought by the first indentured laborers in 1845. In her engaging exploration of the fate of Indian classical music and new popular styles such as Hindi calypso, soca, and chutney, she even finds herself at the ancestral home of Trinidadian V. S. Naipaul in India. Copiously illustrated and accompanied by a compact disk, Music of Hindu Trinidad is a model ethnographic study.
Ole Hendricks was an immigrant both representative and exceptional—a true artistic talent who nevertheless lived a familiar immigrant experience. By day, he was a farmer. But at night, his fiddle lit up dance halls, bringing together all manner of neighbors in rural Minnesota. Each tune in his repertoire of waltzes, reels, polkas, quadrilles, and more were copied neatly into his commonplace book.
Such tunebooks, popular during the nineteenth century, rarely survive and are often overlooked by folk scholars in favor of commercially produced recordings, published sheet music, or oral tradition. Based on extensive historical and genealogical research, Amy Shaw presents a grounded picture of a musician, his family, and his community in the Upper Midwest, revealing much about music and dance in the area. This notable contribution to regional music and folklore includes more than one hundred of Ole's dance tunes, transcribed into modern musical notation for the first time. Ole Hendricks and His Tunebook will be valuable to readers and scholars interested in ethnomusicology and the Norwegian American immigrant experience.
Originally published in 1949, this comprehensive gathering of folksongs is being reissued after many years out of print. The renewed interest in folklore among the general public as well as the scholarly community has prompted this publication.
The collection comprises four volumes including more than eight hundred songs, indexed by title, by first line, and by contributor and town. Each song is thoroughly annotated. In addition to lyrics, the compiler furnished scores and variant lyrics and titles for each song and listed similarities to other songs along with whatever historical information was available to him.
The songs are presented in four volumes. The fourth volume is an assortment of religious songs, hymns, and revival tunes along with sentimental ballads and journalistic pieces.
Characteristic of the compiler's careful work is the painstaking accuracy with which dialect peculiarities are preserved. Randolph scrupulously avoided correcting pronunciation or adding missing words or forgotten lines. Because, as he explains in his introduction, many of the people who sang for him were reluctant to have their voices recorded, his texts represent the best possible reproduction of this priceless American folk art.
A new introduction by W. K. McNeil, folklorist for the Ozark Folklore Center and book review editor for the Journal of American Folklore, comments on Randolph's importance to the field of American folklore and the significance of this work in particular.
Born into folk music's first family, Peggy Seeger has blazed her own trail artistically and personally. Jean Freedman draws on a wealth of research and conversations with Seeger to tell the life story of one of music's most charismatic performers and tireless advocates.Here is the story of Seeger's multifaceted career, from her youth to her pivotal role in the American and British folk revivals, from her instrumental virtuosity to her tireless work on behalf of environmental and feminist causes, from wry reflections on the U.K. folk scene to decades as a songwriter. Freedman also delves into Seeger's fruitful partnership with Ewan MacColl and a multitude of contributions which include creating the renowned Festivals of Fools, founding Blackthorne Records, masterminding the legendary Radio Ballads documentaries, and mentoring performers in the often-fraught atmosphere of The Critics Group. Bracingly candid and as passionate as its subject, Peggy Seeger is the first book-length biography of a life set to music.
As the heyday of the lumber camps faded, a young scholar named Franz Rickaby set out to find songs from shanty boys, river drivers, and sawmill hands in the Upper Midwest. Traveling mostly on foot with a fiddle slung over his shoulder, Rickaby fell into easy conversation with the men, collecting not just the words of songs, but the tunes, making careful notes about his informants and their performances. Shortly before his groundbreaking and much-praised Ballads and Songs of the Shanty Boy was published in 1926, Rickaby died, leaving later folklorists, cultural historians, and folksong enthusiasts with little knowledge of his life and other unpublished research.
Pinery Boys now incorporates, commemorates, contextualizes, and complements Rickaby's early work. It includes an introduction and annotations throughout by eminent folklore scholar James P. Leary and an engaging, impressively researched biography by Rickaby's granddaughter Gretchen Dykstra. Central to this edition are Rickaby's own introduction and the original fifty-one songs that he published—including "Jack Haggerty's Flat River Girl," "The Little Brown Bulls," "Ole from Norway," "The Red Iron Ore," and "Morrissey and the Russian Sailor"—plus fourteen additional songs selected to represent the varied collecting Rickaby did beyond the lumber camps.
Supplemented by historical photographs, Pinery Boys fully reveals Franz Rickaby as a visionary artist and scholar and provides glimpses into the past lives of woods poets and singers.
In this influential book on the subject of rhythm, the authors develop a theoretical framework based essentially on a Gestalt approach, viewing rhythmic experience in terms of pattern perception or groupings. Musical examples of increasing complexity are used to provide training in the analysis, performance, and writing of rhythm, with exercises for the student's own work.
"This is a path-breaking work, important alike to music students and teachers, but it will make profitable reading for performers, too."—New York Times Book Review
"When at some future time theories of rhythm . . . are . . . as well understood, and as much discussed as theories of harmony and counterpoint . . . they will rest in no small measure on the foundations laid by Cooper and Meyer in this provocative dissertation on the rhythmic structure of music."—Notes
". . . . a significant, courageous and, on the whole, successful attempt to deal with a very controversial and neglected subject. Certainly no one who takes the time to read it will emerge from the experience unchanged or unmoved."—Journal of Music Theory
The late GROSVENOR W. COOPER, author of Learning to Listen, was professor of music at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
The cowboy songs and dusty Texas car rides of his youth set Patrick B. Mullen on a lifelong journey into the sprawling Arcadia of American music. That music fused so-called civilized elements with native forms to produce everything from Zydeco to Conjunto to jazz to Woody Guthrie. The civilized/native idea, meanwhile, helped develop Mullen's critical perspective, guide his love of music, and steer his life's work. Part scholar's musings and part fan's memoir, Right to the Juke Joint follows Mullen from his early embrace of country and folk to the full flowering of an idiosyncratic, omnivorous interest in music. Personal memory merges with a lifetime of fieldwork in folklore and anthropology to provide readers with a deeply informed analysis of American roots music. Mullen opens up on the world of ideas and his own tireless fandom to explore how his cultural identity--and ours--relates to concepts like authenticity and "folkness." The result is a charming musical map drawn by a gifted storyteller whose boots have traveled a thousand tuneful roads.
Joe Wilson served for twenty-eight years as executive director of the National Folk Festival and National Council for Traditional Arts. Throughout his impressive career, Wilson wrote extensively and colorfully about many facets of vernacular music in North America, including works on major folk instruments, as well as on characteristic musical styles, especially old-time, bluegrass, modern country, blues, cowboy, a cappella gospel, and others. This volume, a companion to Lucky Joe’s Namesake: The Extraordinary Life and Observations of Joe Wilson, compiles Wilson’s best writings on musical topics, including some previously unpublished works.
With wry humor, Wilson covers the origins of roots music in eighteenth-century America and its subsequent dispersion through races, classes, ethnic groups, and newly settled regions. Wilson knew, worked with, and wrote about many iconic artists of the twentieth century, including Willie Nelson, Doc Watson, Clarence Ashley, the Stanley Brothers, Kenny Baker, Cephas & Wiggins, John Jackson, and members of the Hill Billies—the band whose name came to signify an entire genre of the earliest recorded roots music. This carefully curated volume is comprised of works previously scattered in liner notes, small-circulation magazines, tour booklets, and unpublished manuscripts, all collected here and organized by theme.
The writings of this legendary, internationally recognized figure will be indispensable to roots music fans and will delight readers and students interested in the traditional arts and dedicated to preserving historic folkways.
Fred Bartenstein teaches country and bluegrass music history at the University of Dayton. He is the editor of Bluegrass Bluesman: Josh Graves, a Memoir and coauthor and editor of The Bluegrass Hall of Fame: Inductee Biographies, 1991–2014
In Roots of the Revival: American and British Folk Music in the 1950s, Ronald D. Cohen and Rachel Clare Donaldson present a transatlantic history of folk's midcentury resurgence that juxtaposes the related but distinct revivals that took place in the United States and Great Britain.
After setting the stage with the work of music collectors in the nineteenth century, the authors explore the so-called recovery of folk music practices and performers by Alan Lomax and others, including journeys to and within the British Isles that allowed artists and folk music advocates to absorb native forms and facilitate the music's transatlantic exchange. Cohen and Donaldson place the musical and cultural connections of the twin revivals within the decade's social and musical milieu and grapple with the performers' leftist political agendas and artistic challenges, including the fierce debates over "authenticity" in practice and repertoire that erupted when artists like Harry Belafonte and the Kingston Trio carried folk into the popular music mainstream.
From work songs to skiffle, from the Weavers in Greenwich Village to Burl Ives on the BBC, Roots of the Revival offers a frank and wide-ranging consideration of a time, a movement, and a transformative period in American and British pop culture.
One of the secrets to Bruce Springsteen’s enduring popularity over the past fifty years is the way fans feel a deep personal connection to his work. Yet even as the connection often stays grounded in details from his New Jersey upbringing, Springsteen’s music references a rich array of personalities from John Steinbeck to Amadou Diallo and beyond, inspiring fans to seek out and connect with a whole world’s worth of art, literature, and life stories.
In this unique blend of memoir and musical analysis, John Massaro reflects on his experiences as a lifelong fan of The Boss and one of the first professors to design a college course on Springsteen’s work. Focusing on five of the Jersey rocker’s main themes—love, masculinity, sports, politics, and the power of music—he shows how they are represented in Springsteen’s lyrics and shares stories from his own life that powerfully resonate with those lyrics. Meanwhile, paying tribute to Springsteen’s inclusive vision, he draws connections among figures as seemingly disparate as James Joyce, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Thomas Aquinas, Bobby Darin, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Shades of Springsteen offers a deeply personal take on the musical and cultural legacies of an American icon.
Awarded both the Chicago Folklore Prize and the Simkins Prize of the Southern Historical Association
From the plaintive tunes of woe sung by exiled kings and queens of Africa to the spirited worksongs and "shouts" of freedmen, enslaved people created expansive forms of music from the United States to the West Indies and South America. Dena J. Epstein's classic work traces the course of early black folk music in all its guises. Anchored by groundbreaking scholarship, it redefined the study of black music in the slavery era by presenting the little-known development of black folk music in the United States. Her findings include the use of drums, the banjo, and other instruments originating in Africa; a wealth of eyewitness accounts and illustrations; in-depth look at a wide range of topics; and a collection of musical examples. This edition offers an author's preface that looks back on the twenty-five years of changes in scholarship that followed the book's original publication.
At its peak, the Federal Music Project (FMP) employed nearly 16,000 people who reached millions of Americans through performances, composing, teaching, and folksong collection and transcription. In Sounds of the New Deal , Peter Gough explores how the FMP's activities in the West shaped a new national appreciation for the diversity of American musical expression. From the onset, administrators and artists debated whether to represent highbrow, popular, or folk music in FMP activities. Though the administration privileged using "good" music to educate the public, in the West local preferences regularly trumped national priorities and allowed diverse vernacular musics to be heard. African American and Hispanic music found unprecedented popularity while the cultural mosaic illuminated by American folksong exemplified the spirit of the Popular Front movement. These new musical expressions combined the radical sensibilities of an invigorated Left with nationalistic impulses. At the same time, they blended traditional patriotic themes with an awareness of the country's varied ethnic musical heritage and vast--but endangered--store of grassroots music.
In 1956 Harry Belafonte’s Calypso became the first LP to sell more than a million copies. For a few fleeting months, calypso music was the top-selling genre in the US—it even threatened to supplant rock and roll. Stolen Time provides a vivid cultural history of this moment and outlines a new framework—black fad performance—for understanding race, performance, and mass culture in the twentieth century United States. Vogel situates the calypso craze within a cycle of cultural appropriation, including the ragtime craze of 1890s and the Negro vogue of the 1920s, that encapsulates the culture of the Jim Crow era. He follows the fad as it moves defiantly away from any attempt at authenticity and shamelessly embraces calypso kitsch. Although white calypso performers were indeed complicit in a kind of imperialist theft of Trinidadian music and dance, Vogel argues, black calypso craze performers enacted a different, and subtly subversive, kind of theft. They appropriated not Caribbean culture itself, but the US version of it—and in so doing, they mocked American notions of racial authenticity. From musical recordings, nightclub acts, and television broadcasts to Broadway musicals, film, and modern dance, he shows how performers seized the ephemeral opportunities of the fad to comment on black cultural history and even question the meaning of race itself.
The Story of the Dulcimer
Ralph Lee Smith University of Tennessee Press, 2016 Library of Congress ML1015.A6S65 2016 | Dewey Decimal 787.75
Perhaps no instrument better represents the music of Appalachia than the fretted dulcimer. The instrument was no longer confined to back porches and local music halls when Jean Ritchie so melodically thrust herself and her dulcimer into the national limelight during the folk revival of the 1950s. But where did the dulcimer, known to exist in no other folk culture in the world, come from?
In The Story of the Dulcimer, Ralph Lee Smith traces the dulcimer’s beginnings back to European immigration to America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. As German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania and Appalachia, they brought with them scheitholts, a type of northern European fretted zither. As German immigrants intermingled with English and Scotch-Irish immigrants, the scheitholt, which was customarily played to a slower tempo in German cultural music, began to be musically integrated into the faster tempos of English and Scotch-Irish ballads and folk songs. As Appalachia absorbed an increasing flow of English and Scotch-Irish immigrants and the musical traditions they brought with them, the scheitholt steadily evolved into an instrument that reflected this folk music amalgamation, and the modern dulcimer was born.
In this second edition, Smith brings the dulcimer’s history into the twenty-first century with a new preface and updates to the original edition. Copiously illustrated with images of both antique scheitholts and contemporary dulcimers, The Story of the Dulcimer is a testament to the enduring musical heritage of Appalachia and solves one of the region’s musical mysteries.
Voices of the Magi explores the popular Catholic musical ensembles of southeastern Brazil known as folias de reis (companies of kings). Composed predominantly of low-income workers, the folias reenact the journey of the Wise Men to Bethlehem and back to the Orient, as they roam from house to house, singing to bless the families they visit in exchange for food and money. These gifts, in turn, are used to prepare a festival on Kings' Day, January 6, to which all who contributed are invited.
Focusing on urban folias, Suzel Ana Reily shows how participants use the ritual journeys and musical performances of the folias to create sacred spheres distinct from, yet intimately related to, their everyday world. Reily calls this practice "enchantment" and argues that it allows the folia communities to temporarily make the social ideals of mutual reciprocity and equality embodied in their religious beliefs a reality. The contrast between their ritual experiences and the daily lives of these impoverished workers, in turn, reinforces the religious convictions of these devotees of the music of the Magi.
This book traces the lives of the Snowdens, an African American family of musicians and farmers living in rural Knox County, Ohio. Howard L. Sacks and Judith Rose Sacks examine the Snowdens' musical and social exchanges with rural whites from the 1850s through the early 1920s and provide a detailed exploration of the claim that the Snowden family taught the song "Dixie" to Dan Emmett-–the white musician and blackface minstrel credited with writing the song. This edition features a new introduction in which the authors discuss the public response to this controversial claim, and present new information on the Snowdens' musical and social experiences.