Saturday, July 12, 2014

Workshop Aug. 2 at Bishop Hill on Swedish-American music

Ever wonder what the psalmodikons in the museums at Jenny Lind Chapel and Bishop Hill sounded like? How they were played? What were some of the songs the pioneer immigrants brought over from 19th-century Sweden? Want to sing them or play them on a dulcimer – or another modern musical instrument?

The Bishop Hill Heritage Association will sponsor a workshop Saturday, Aug. 2 (re-scheduled from May 10), on how Swedish immigrants learned to play hymns on the psalmodikon. The workshop will be at 2 p.m. in the Dairy Building, 410 N. Erickson St., Bishop Hill. It is free and open to the public.

* * *

Pete Ellertsen, a retired teacher and amateur musician of Springfield, will demonstrate how Swedish-American pastors of the 1840s and ’50s used the psalmodikon (pronounced “sal-MOW-di-kon”) to teach harmony singing from the Svenska Psalmbok of 1819 in rural congregations where everyone might not read music. The instruments, which looked like a modern dulcimer, were inexpensive and easy to play. Ellertsen, who plays the mountain dulcimer, has a replica of the psalmodikon in Bishop Hill’s Steeple Building museum.

Workshop participants will learn how to read psalmodikon tablature, known as “siffor-noter” (number notes) and convert it to sheet music; and how to sing simple melodies and play them on the mountain dulcimer or another musical instrument. All skill levels and all instruments are welcome. This workshop is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council.

2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2, Dairy Building, Bishop Hill


Links to tab and sheet music …

Permalinks re: Bishop Hill and Andover …

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Misc quotes on history, Clayville, "Prairie Dreams"

Since historical reconstruction is a rational process, only justified and indeed possible if it involves the human reason, what we call history is the mess we call life reduced to some order, pattern and possibly purpose. -- G. R. Elton

See more quotes at: http://hnn.us/article/1328#sthash.9JweKlhW.dpuf

"A Memoir of Professor Sir Geoffrey Elton." Jeremy Bennett. http://www.clarealumni.com/s/845/1col.aspx?sid=845&gid=1&pgid=857


Rachel Otwell. "The Past Comes Alive With Clayville Theater" WUIS-FM, University of Illinois Springfield. Aug. 31, 2012. [audio w/ stills] https://wuisnews.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/the-past-comes-alive-with-clayville-theater/

Nondescript dulcimer at 0:35 to 1:32, player quoted at 0:50.

Penny Zimmerman Wills. "Our History: Clayville to revive play about its founding" June 7, 2014. State Journal-Register http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140607/News/140609598

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Olle i Skratthult -- miscellaneous links

Very informative tribute page by Carl at Catfish's Closet http://www.catfish1952.com/Olle.html with links to sound files, other pages. Pix, including this playbill …

For more on the play and mp3 files, see below.


Internet Archive has mp3 files at https://archive.org/details/HjalmarPetersonPt.03_936 … w/ following notes

SONGS RELATING TO HJALMAR PETERSON
Tracks 01-25: various artists
Tracks 01-06: Värmlänningarna
Tracks 07-11: F. A. Dahlgren
Tracks 12-13: Olle's Swedish Potpourri
Tracks 14-26: Songs from the Swedish Potpourri
Tracks 27-27: Carl Michael Bellman

NOTES -- Selections 01-06 are from F. A. Dahlgren's musical drama "Värmlänningarna" (The People of Värmland), which Peterson's company frequently performed. Selections 07-11 are also by Dahlgren, who contributed seven songs to Peterson's first songbook, published in 1908. Selections 12-24 were recorded by Hjalmar Peterson as part of the "Swedish Potpourri" that he released in 1916 with piano accompaniment and in 1917 with orchestral backing. Selection 25 was sung by members of Peterson's company.

Swedish-American audiences were mainly interested in theatrical productions dealing with Swedish country life such as the popular musical "Värmlänningarna" (The People of Värmland). The libretto for "Värmlänningarna" was written by F. A. Dahlgren. The music was written by Andreas Randel or adapted from traditional sources. This six-act melodrama, written in 1846 and set in the province of Värmland, was a love story about a young peasant couple who, with considerable difficulty, overcome hostile parents and local convention. Audiences identified closely with the hero and heroine, seeing in the plot the sorts of difficulties familiar in their own lives.

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredrik_August_Dahlgren says: "Dahlgren is best remembered for writing two Swedish folk songs. He and Anders Fryxell wrote the lyrics to Ack Värmeland, du sköna (O Värmland, you lovely). He was the sole author of Å jänta å ja' (And the girl and I).[1] Dahlgren also wrote the musical drama "Värmlänningarna" (The People of Värmland), a popular work for over one hundred fifty years." Fredrik August Dahlgren … was a member of the Swedish Academy (1871 - 1895), graduate of Uppsala University.


WorldCat http://www.worldcat.org/title/olle-i-skratthult-singssjunger-nikolina-flickan-pa-bellmansro/oclc/44214166

Olle i Skratthult sings/sjunger "Nikolina" & "Flickan på Bellmansro"

Author: Olle, i Skratthult; Olle i Skratthult Project.
Publisher: Minneapolis : Olle i Skratthult Project, 1976.
Edition/Format: Music : 45 rpm : Swedish
Database: WorldCat
Summary: Swedish language comic songs performed by Hjalmar Peterson (who performed under the name of Olle i Skratthult), remastered from 78 rpm recordings made in the 1920s.

Minnesota Historical Society Library St. Paul, MN 55102

Bellmansro was a tavern or restaurant on Djurgården island in Stockholm, located next to a bust of Carl Michael Bellman. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellmansro">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellmansro


Excerpt from Anne-Charlotte Harvey. "Performing Ethnicity: The Role of Swedish Theatre in the Twin Cities" -- essay in Swedes in the Twin Cities : Immigrant Life and Minnesota's Urban Frontier, ed. Philip J. Anderson and Dag Blanck. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001.


Cf. "Toby," a red-headed American rustic in vaudeville and tent shows, with a long set of antecedents on the British stage, pp. 129-44 in William L. Slout, Theatre in a Tent Wildside Press LLC, 2008 - 232 pages http://books.google.com/books?id=P1CYZkW9UFIC&dq=toby+rustic+comedian&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Cultural Hybridity Reconsidered: Religious Visual Culture and the Dutch Republic" by Els Stronks, Utrecht University

http://www.journalofdutchliterature.org/cgi/t/text/get-pdf5c13.pdf?c=jdl;idno=0302a01

Cultural Hybridity Reconsidered: Religious Visual Culture and the Dutch Republic

Els Stronks, Utrecht University. Journal of Dutch Literature 3.2 (2012).

In the last decades, historians such as Willem Frijhoff, Peter Burke and Benjamin Kaplan have focused on interconfessional encounters in friendships, marriage and trade in the Dutch Republic. They have argued that these encounters were stimulated by the freedom that emerged because the principle of freedom of con- science – understood as freedom of thought – emerged as a positive ideology during the Dutch Revolt. An extraordinary equilibrium was established because Calvinism was the dominant religion but never became the (official) state reli- [5 els stronks] gion.1 This resulted in a relatively tolerant society that even served as a refuge to migrants from surrounding countries. Newly developed and shared cultural practices have been highlighted as a form of accommodation of these interconfessional encounters. The absence of a domi- nant religion generated the sort of climate in which different confessional tradi- tions appeared to intermingle and influence each other with little friction, provid- ing an ideal setting for the integration of Catholic and Protestant religious subcultures and practices. The cultural responses to the word-image controversy between Protestants and Catholics in particular have proven to offer a key oppor- tunity to explore when, why and to what extent people were willing to reconcile theological differences to combine elements from their own religious cultural practices with those of another, to create new practices.(4-5)

The concept of ‘cultural hybridity’ was introduced by Homi Bhabha to focus the attention on the cross-fertilisation of distinct cultural practices. In Bhabha’s view, the mutual intermingling of cultures results in the development of something new (a ‘third space’) out of the existing subcultures and in the sharing of values, conventions and norms.11 Ever since Bhabha introduced the concept in postcolo- nial theory, it has been widely used. In his Cultural Hybridity, Burke inventoried the four strategies found in approaches toward the mutual intermingling of cultures, being rejection and segregation (leading to conflicts and stagnation) versus adap- tation and acceptance (leading to reconciliation and progress). Burke also signals the tendency to see cultural hybridity as a progressive force – he even admits to cultural hybridity reconsidered 7 els stronks having such a preference himself, even though he acknowledges that progressive- ness is not inherent to Bhabha’s original notion of cultural hybridity.12 This tendency is indeed found in many studies based on the conceptual frame- work of cultural hybridity, even if it is frequently seriously discussed. (6-7)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Misc. links re: Augustana synod, Augie -- including a bio of Anna Hoppe and a TOC for Hemlandssånger ** UPDATED x1 ** reference to Peter Johnson of 1925 hymnal committee

Hemlandssånger: Utgifna af Augustana-Synoden. Rock Island: Lutheran Augustana Book Concern, [1891]. Wikipedia has TOC, w/ this intro:

Hemlandssånger är en kyrkosångbok utgiven av Augustanasynoden i USA med första upplagan 1891. Den innehåller sånger med svensk text och musik och var avsedd för svenska invandrare som ofta samlades i olika samfund till gudstjänster på svenska. Utgivare var Lutheran Augustan Book Concern, Rock Island, Illinois.

http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemlandssånger_1892


Bio of Anna Hoppe, 1889-1941, at http://www.hymnary.org/person/Hoppe_AB w/ list of hymns and MIDI files.

Leaving school after eighth grade, Hoppe worked as a stenographer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She began writing patriotic verses in early childhood; by age 25 she was writing spiritual poetry. Some of her poems appeared in the Northwestern Lutheran, a periodical of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, of which she was a member. These came to the attention of Dr. Adolf Hult of Augustana Seminary, Rock Island, Illinois, who influenced her to write her Songs for the Church Year (1928). Several hymnals included her work, which was usually set to traditional chorale melodies, although she also made a number of translations. Hoppe said of her work:

"Many of my hymns have been written on my way to and from church and to and from work. I utilize my lunch hours for typing the hymns and keeping up correspondence…still I find a minute here and there in which to jot down some verse."

--www.hymntime.com/tch/

A blog at http://wordwisehymns.com/2010/08/02/today-in-1941-anna-hoppe-died/ by Robert Cottrill has more, re: her Christmas carol "Precious Child, So Sweetly Sleeping" and a translation from Gerhardt.

And http://www.projectwittenberg.org/etext/hymnals/tlh/weepest.txt has text of "O'er Jerusalem Thou Weepest" in the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal (Concordia), No. 301. Mel.: Freu dich sehr, Genevan Psalter, 1551.


Peter Johnson: b. 1870. Sweden. Member of Augustana Synod. (1925 hymnal, p. 886)

"A Brief History of First Lutheran Church." FirstLutheran Church -- Love Grows Here. St. Paul, Minnesota, 2007. http://www.lovegrowshere.net/whoweare/historyofflc.html

Located on the EastSide of St. Paul, MN in the Historic Swede Hollow Neighborhood

Musically rich years at First Church were memorable under the direction of Peter Johnson and Gerhard Alexis and later Robert Pearson. Peter Johnson and Gerhard Alexis were on the hymnal committee and had composed original tunes for several hymns.

Johnson is credited with helping edit The Junior Hymnal, Containing Sunday School and Luther League Liturgy and Hymns for the SUnday School and other grthatings: Authorized by the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod. Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1928. -- "The editors are also indebted to Professor Peter Johnson of St. Paul Minn., for assistance in the editing and proofreading of the music."

290. Arr. hymn by Ernest Ryden to melody from J.L.F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, " On Wings of Song"


Catalogue of Augustana College and Theological Seminary, 1891-92. Rock Island: Lutheran Augustana Book Concern, 1891. p. 24 [also p. 45 below right]. http://www.mocavo.com/Augustana-College-Catalogue-Volume-1891-01/989978


History of the Swedes of Illinois, Volumes 1-3 edited by Martin J. Engberg -- Google eBooks


The Swedish Element in Illinois: Survey of the Past Seven Decades : with Life Sketches of Men of Today (Google eBook) Ernst Wilhelm Olson Swedish-American Biographical Association, 1917 - Illinois - 703 pages

page 184 at right

page 189 below omitted text in last sentence reads "…the last decade, though the great bulk of the output is still Swedish."

"A Brief History of First Lutheran Church." FirstLutheran Church -- Love Grows Here. St. Paul, Minnesota, 2007. http://www.lovegrowshere.net/whoweare/historyofflc.html

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Clayville jam postponed -- and a couple of video clips that show different artists filling in the notes and swinging (syncopating) the melody of "Shortnin' Bread"

Last night I heard back from Clayville, and we're able to postpone our first-of-the-month Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music jam session, originally scheduled this week, till Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. till noon. in the barn at Clayville Historic Site, Ill. 125 at Pleasant Plains. We polled the group Tuesday night in Springfield, and that's the best time for the most people.

After Tuesday's session, I got on YouTube and found some arrangements of "Shortnin' Bread" that I think will give us some ideas on how to "swing" the tune -- in other words, to syncopate it so we're not just plodding along in quarter notes. Here they are:

History of "Shortnin' Bread" - 4 versions (Paul Chaplain +)

Posted by YouTube user GeoSilverAway, who has a lengthy explanation:

Originated in the Old South USA. First generally popularized by Lawrence Tibbett in the early 20th century. Then sung by Nelson Eddy in 1937/38. In 1938 it was a big charted hit for The Andrews Sisters. Then done by many others like Fats Waller (1941) and Paul Robeson.

In the 1950s, rock and roll singers started picking it up - The Collins Kids, Tony Crombie ... The reason it attracts so much attention now is the hard rock recording by Paul Chaplain and his Emeralds in 1960. It wasn't a big hit but has now rightfully become a legend. The Bellnotes also released a rock version that year. Meanwhile back in England it achieved better hit status sung by the vocal trio The Viscounts. (They can be seen on YouTube singing Let's Twist Again) I have also found a definitive rock instrumental recording by The Fabulous Playboys, who appear to be a US surf group.

Selections in the video:

  1. Andrews Sisters
  2. The Viscounts, UK #16
  3. Paul Chaplain and his Emeralds. US Billboard #82 and Cashbox #55.
  4. The Fabulous Playboys instrumental

"If some of the words aren't clear," adds GeoSilverAway, "it involves the 'lid' on the skillet, and one of the children is 'most dead, meaning almost."

A really cool North Carolina string band jamming at a festival

Says YouTube user Dean Barber, "Asheville, N.C.-based Chicken Train was performing at Clifftop 2012 last week over a box of their CDs. Sales were brisk because their music making was topnotch. That's John Hermann on banjo and John Engle on fiddle. Meredith McIntosh is on guitar. Not sure who was on bass, but she was solid. ..."

Song history

Like everyone else, I thought "Shortnin' Bread" was from the old blackface minstrel shows. But it wasn't. Instead, it was written around 1900 by popular Indiana newspaper poet James Whitcomb Riley, who was considered an unofficial poet laureate in the late 1800s but is now known for regional poems like "When the Frost in on the Punkin" (pumpkin). Wikipedia notes that "Shortnin' Bread" has been covered by artists ranging from the Beach Boys to Mississippi John Hurt and Donald Duck (in a 1948 animated cartoon).

Dulcimer tab

Both have been posted to the internet, so we're free to make copies for personal use. The Prairie Dulcimer Club's version is written pretty much in quarter notes, while the version on Everything Dulcimer tries to show a little bit of the syncopation by writing the same phrases in quarter notes and eighth notes. Whichever one you follow, you'll want to "swing" it a little by accenting the first and third beats, so it sounds almost like it's in 2/4 time, and put in some extra strums of your own as you get more comfortable with the tune.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Clayville and Prairieland Strings tune for June -- "Cumberland Mountain Deer Chase"

Editor's note -- Pictures at left and below show members of the Prairieland Strings/Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music playing in front of the Broadwell Tavern May 18 at Clayville's spring festival. Courtesy of Fred Crawford.

We're back to holding our "first Tuesday" and "third Thursday" meetings of the Prairieland Strings at Atonement Lutheran Church -- thanks to all for putting up with the inconvenience while I was recuperating from pneumonia last month.

Our new tune for June is "Cumberland Mountain Deer Chase."

Our schedule for June is as follows:

  • Prairieland, "first Tuesday": 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, at Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson, Springfield.

  • Clayville Academy jam session: 10 a.m. to noon, June 7, in the barn at Clayville Historic Site, Ill. 125 at Pleasant Plains.

  • Prairieland, "third Thursday": 7 to 9 p.m., June 19, at Atonement.

"Cumberland Mountain Deer Chase" -- also known as "Cumberland Mountain Deer Race" and/or "Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase" -- is a lively up-tempo tune that sounds like it might be an old, old fiddle tune. But it isn't. It's a novelty song that Uncle Dave Macon, one of the first stars of the Grand Ole Opry, made popular in the 1930s and 40s. Folk singer and banjo virtuoso Pete Seeger covered it in several albums later, and it has gone back into oral tradition as a high-octane banjo tune.

According to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Macon, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., got his start in life "as a farmer and teamster (hauling goods with a mule and cart)," and broke into show biz in vaudeville and medicine shows. He started cutting records in the 1920s, and joined the Opry almost as soon as it went on the air in 1926. He was a fine musician, but he's best known today for novelty numbers.

Wayne Erbsen of Native Ground Music in Asheville, N.C., has lyrics for "Cumberland Mountain Deer Chase" in his instruction book Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus, and he's posted lyrics to his website at http://nativeground.com/cumberland-mountain-deer-chase/.

Away, away we’re bound for the mountain
Bound for the mountain, bound for the mountain
Over the mountain, the hills and the fountain
Away to the chase away.

Rover, Rover, see him, see him
Rover, Rover, catch him, catch him
Over the mountain, the hills and the fountain
Away to the chase away.

Now we’re getting right for the race
The hounds and the horses all in the pace
Over the mountain, the hills and the fountain
Away to the chase away.

All night long till the break of dawn
Merrily the chase goes on
Over the mountain, the hills and the fountain
Away to the chase away.

Uncle Dave Macon sang the parts about the hounds really fast, then slowed down for a verse about the deer -- who's panting and getting winded by this time -- and picked up again as he returned to the hounds and horses. (It isn't in Erbsen's version.) As you listen to him in the YouTube clip below, see if you're not reminded of "English Country Garden," an English morris dance tune collected by Cecil Sharp and arranged for piano in 1918 by Percy Grainger.