Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Family Dog At The Great Highway
San Francisco, CA
9/6/69 - Grateful Dead & Jefferson Airplane
Family Dog At The Great Highway - San Francisco, CA.
Ampex C-90 Master Cassette Soundboard (No Dolby)->DAT->CD->EAC->SHN
CD->EAC->SHN Done By Joe Samaritano
Doin' That Rag
He Was A Friend Of Mine
Big Boy Pete
All Over Now
Ballad Of You, Me & Pooneil
We Can Be Together
Somebody To Love
Crown Of Creation
Come Back Baby
-Airplane Set (Con't)-
Go Ride The Music
* w/Garcia And Hart
Thanks To sgrmag For The Source Disks!
Friday, December 25, 2009
The WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour , hosted by folksinger Michael Johnathon is listened to by over 1 Million radio listeners on over 493 radio stations each week all over the world. It is provided free of charge to public and community radio stations anywhere in the world. It is also available nationwide on XM-15 The Village on XM Satellite radio. In 2007 selected programs became available throughout the U.S. as television programs to all PBS television stations, now in its 6th run of 13 week episodes. In 2008 mp4 podcastswere added to the already existing mp3 podcasts.Produced by WUKY Lexington.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Link to the church's website for background on AWPC's music ministry, including video clips from this year's Verizon Wireless How Sweet the Sound™ Gospel Choir Competition, which the sanctuary choir won.
'We'll Camp a Little While in the Wilderness' - in N.C. country Baptist church ... and link to mp3 of Sheila Kay Adams
Doc Plemmons taught singing schools at Lusk Chapel, where a person wouldSource: Fred D. Price, "Lusk Chapel Baptist Church" Western NC Genealogy Resource Center for Madison County http://www.goldenbranches.com/nc-state/madison/lusk-chr.html.
learn the old "Shape Note" type of singing. In the early years Lusk Chapel
had no piano or organ and they would not allow string instruments of any
kind in the church. They would give the pitch with a tuning fork, and
would sing songs such as "Camp A Little While In The Wilderness", "Careless
Soul", "Look Away Beyond The Blue", "In The Sweet Bye And Bye", "Wayfaring
Stranger", "I Will Arise And Go To Jesus", "Beautiful Home Sweet Home",
"Away Over In The Promised Land", and "I Am A Pilgram Of Sorrow". Songs
were sang without accompaniment. Lusk Chapel like a lot of the other
little country churches would have "All Day Singings" and dinner on the
grounds. Choirs, quartets, trios, and so on and so forth would come from
miles around and start singing about 10:00am and sing till noon. They
would stop long enough to spread their dinners on the grounds or on tables,
and people would visit with each other while eating lunch. After eating
some would go to the cemetery and decorate the graves with flowers while
reflecting of the memories of their loved ones buried there. Most of the
people would go back in the church and the singers would sing until about
4:00pm that evening.
Sheila Kay Adams' version is included on the CD Old-Time Music on the Air, V. 2
Monday, December 21, 2009
by Shane White and Graham White
© 2005 by Shane White and Graham White
Downloads are on the Beacon Press website at http://www.beacon.org/soundsofslavery/ ... tracks as follows:
1 "Arwhoolie" holler Thomas J. MarshallWNYC Radio has an excerpt from the introduction by Shane White and Graham White. The beginning:
2 Levee holler Enoch Brown
3 Field holler Roosevelt "Giant" Hudson
4 "Oh If Your House Catches Fire" levee camp holler Willie Henry Washington
5 "Roxie" Convicts, Mississippi
6 "New Buryin' Ground" John Brown and African American convicts
7 "Long Hot Summer Day" Clyde Hill and African American convicts
8 "Go Preach My Gospel" Deacon Harvey Williams and the New Zion Baptist Church congregation
9 "Jesus, My God, I Know His Name" Willie Henry Washington, Arthur Bell, Robert Lee Robertson, and Abraham Powell
10 "Go to Sleep" Florida Hampton
11 "The Buzzard and the Cooter" Demus Green
12 "Prayer" Rev. Henry Ward
13 "Run, Old Jeremiah" Joe Washington Brown and Austin Coleman
14 "Job, Job" Mandy Tartt, Sims Tartt, and Betty Atmore
15 "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" Clifford Reed, Johnny Mae Medlock, and Julia Griffin
16 "Have Mercy, Lord" Mary Tollman and the Rev. Henry Ward
17 "The Unusual Task of the Gospel Preacher" Rev. Harry Singleton
18 "The Man of Calvary" Sin-Killer Griffin
At day’s end the slaves trudged home from their owners’ fields. Since sunup they had worked and sweated for the man. Now, for a few hours of darkness, the time was theirs, to the extent that slaves ever owned anything, and they could be something other than brute physical labor. Small groups gathered outside the slave cabins, listening to stories, talking out of earshot of the overseer.Maybe later, particularly if it happened to be a Saturday, there would be singing, and someone might accompany them on a banjo or a fiddle. At a distance, the quarters gave off an industrious hum, reassuring proof to those up in the Big House of the rightness of the plantation order, but from within what the slaves could hear were the invigorating sounds of the reclamation of their humanity. As she often did, Zora Neale Hurston put it best: this was the time of day when blacks “became lords of sounds.”1 There is something timeless about such a scene. It could be a Virginia tobacco plantation in the 1750s, a South Carolina rice plantation in the 1810s, or a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta in the 1850s. Indeed, replace the overseer with the boss man, allow that the blacks did legally own their own time, and this vignette could just as easily be set in the Florida of the 1910s or 1920s that Hurston knew so well. For nearly three centuries of African American history, much of what was distinctive about black culture was to be found in the realm of sound, a characteristic that was particularly clear in the hours in which slaves were not toiling for their owners.
Above all else, slave culture was made to be heard. That was apparent from the moment newly enslaved Africans first arrived in the New World. It is difficult to get at the experiences of the fresh arrivals as they struggled to comprehend their status as slaves in a new and bewildering land. Hardly surprisingly, they left scant records of those experiences; practically all we have are a few descriptions by uncomprehending whites, mostly couched in terms of the impenetrability of the behavior of their newly imported property.2 But occasionally the incidents whites describe are so striking, the behavior of blacks so apparently strange, that we are afforded some insight into the slaves’ reactions to what must have seemed a terrifying and almost impossibly alien world.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
YouTube clips of period arrangement of 'Roll Jordan' and a TV segment on 'Slave Songs' (1867), also a guy who does reproduction Civil War-era banjos
It runs 17 minutes. Here's the blurb:
The president of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City, California [Avery Clayton], recently discovered an unusual book in his late mother's extraordinary collection of African-American artifacts. The small, cloth-bound book, titled Slave Songs of the United States, has a publication date of 1867 and contains a collection of 136 plantation songs. Could this be the first book of African-American spirituals ever published? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan visits a music historian in Los Angeles to explore the coded messages and the melodies that laid the foundation of modern blues, gospel and protest songs of future generations. He also meets with Washington, DC's Howard University Choir for a special concert of selections from Slave Songs sung in the traditional style of mid-1800s spirituals.
Instrumental adaptation of Roll, Jordan, Roll" as written and collected (No. 1, p. 1) in "Slave Songs of the United States"
[An audio snippet of the Fisk Jubilee Singers' concert arrangment of "Roll Jordan Roll" is available on the Smithsonian Folkways CD "Wade In The Water: African American Spirituals." Scroll down to blurb and link to song.]
[Another song, "No More Driver's Driving," with "Roll, Jordan" as a tagline or chorus is cited in "Slave Songs" p. 45 to H[enry] G[eorge] Spaulding, "Under the Palmetto," Continental Monthly 4 (1863): 188-203]
Vocal of "Early in the Morning"
"Walk 'em easy round the heaven (3x) / Till all living may join that band" (No. 58, p. 44)
Also: Interview with 19th century style banjo maker George Wunderlich from The Down Neck Gazette. Filmed in 2001.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
"When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea" (1865)
Words by Adjutant S. H. M. Byers
of the 5th Iowa Cavalry, at Columbia, S.C.
Music (arranged?) by Henry Clay Work, 1832-1884
Our campfires shone bright on the mountains,
That frown'd on the river below;
While we stood by our guns in the morning,
And eagerly watched for the foe;
When a horseman rode out of the darkness
That hung over mountain and tree,
And shouted "Boys! up and be ready,
For Sherman will march to the sea."
Then cheer upon cheer for bold Sherman
Went up from each valley and glen,
And the bugles re-echoed the music
That rose from the lips of the men--
For we knew that the stars in our banners
More bright in their splendor would be,
And the blessings from Northland would great us
When Sherman march'd down to the sea.
Wikipedia has background, cf. "Get Off the Track" and Buchanan campaign song.
Lyrics and mp3 file by Japher's "Original" SANDY RIVER MINSTRELS on UVa minstrel shows website
"Old Dan Tucker"
Written and Arranged by "Dan. Tucker, Jr."
[Daniel D. Emmet]
New York: Atwill's, 1843
I come to town de udder night,
I hear de noise den saw de fight,
De watchman was a runnin roun,
Cryin Old Dan Tuckeer's come to town,
So get out de way! Get out de way!
Get out de way! Old Dan Tucker,
Your too late to come to supper.
Tucker on de wood pile--can't count 'lebben,
Put in a fedder bed--him gwine to hebben,
His nose so flat, his face so full,
De top ob his head like a bag ob wool,
Get out de way! Get out de way!
Get out de way! Old Dan Tucker,
Your too late to come to supper.
GET OFF THE TRACK
GET OFF THE TRACK
AIR — Dan Tucker
Ho! the car Emancipation
Rides majestic thro' our nation,
Bearing on its train the story,
Liberty! a nation's glory.
Roll it along, thro' the nation,
Freedom's car, Emancipation!
First of all the train, and greater,
Speeds the dauntless Liberator,
Onward cheered amid hosannas,
And the waving of free banners.
Roll it along! spread your banners,
While the people shout hosannas.
Men of various predilections,
Frightened, run in all directions;
Merchants, editors, physicians,
Lawyers, priests, and politicians.
Get out of the way! every station!
Clear the track of 'mancipation!
Let the ministers and churches
Leave behind sectarian lurches;
Jump on board the car of Freedom,
Ere it be too late to need them.
Sound the alarm! Pulpits thunder!
Ere too late you see your blunder!
Politicians gazed, astounded,
When, at first, our bell resounded;
Freight trains are coming, tell these foxes,
With our votes and ballot boxes.
Jump for your lives! politicians,
From your dangerous, false positions.
* * * [and so on at quite some length]
Hutchinson Family Singers. According to Wikipedia article (accessed Dec. 20, 2009), "The Hutchinsons were a hit with both audiences and critics, and they toured the United States. They popularized closed four-part harmony. The group's material included controversial material promoting abolitionism, workers' rights, temperance, and women's rights." Money grafs:
In the 1830s, European intinerate entertainers such as the Austrian Tyrolese Minstrels and the Strassers toured the United States and whetted American appetites for groups who sang in four-part harmony. John Hutchinson saw a Tyrolese Minstrels concert in either Boston or Lynn, Massachusetts, probably in 1840. He was impressed by what he heard, and he decided to teach the rest of his family to sing in the same style. . . .
John Hutchinson and three of his brothers (Asa, Jesse, and Judson) dubbed themselves the Hutchinson Family Singers and gave their first concert in Milford, New Hampshire, in 1840. They performed again in Lynn the following year. The group sang mostly European songs, such as those by Henry Russell or the Tyrolese Rainers, but Jesse Hutchinson soon quit to write original material and to manage the group's affairs. The remaining three members eventually adopted the name Aeolian Singers. Twelve-year-old Abby Hutchinson, a high tenor, took Jesse Hutchinson's place to complete the quartet.
When a member of the group wrote a new song, each of the four singers individually decided his or her own part to create the harmony. John Hutchinson later recalled,Judson had a naturally high voice, a pure tenor. My voice was a baritone, though I sang falsetto easily, and Asa had a deep bass. Abby had an old-fashioned "counter" or contralto voice. The result was an effect like that of a male quartet. Abby's part being the first tenor, Judson's second tenor, mine first and Asa's second bass, respectively. But we practiced an interchange of parts as we sang, and the blending of the voices was so perfect that it seemed quite impossible for the audience to distinguish the several parts.
Citations are to Gage Averill, "Four Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony" and Hutchison quote in Charles Hamm, "Yesterdays." See also: Hutchinson Family Singers in the 1840s -
Lyrics and MIDI file at Civil War Era Lyrics and Tunes [from Arkansas - home page Has a MIDI file of "I'm a Good Old Rebel" playing in the background!]. Project Gutenberg has sheet music The Good Old Songs We Used to Sing — ’61 to ’65 (1902). Click on "Notation" under picture of title page. In C for Piano and voice.
An article by Bob Waltz "Remembering the Old Songs: When This Cruel War is Over" originally published in Inside Bluegrass, June 2004, has background and a link to a PDF file of sheet music in G.
OLD FOLKS AT HOME
Stephen C. Foster - lyrics in PDMusic.orgwebsite. Sheet music for piano and voice in D at http://www.free-scores.com/download-sheet-music.php?pdf=5391 ... click on PDF logo.
"Old Folks at Home" (1851)
As Sung by
Written and Composed
(Words and Music) by
Stephen Collins Foster, 1826-1864
Way down upon de Swanee ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up down de whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.
CHORUS 2 times
All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb'ry where I roam,
Oh! darkeys how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home.
THE YEAR OF JUBILO
Lyrics in directory of Henry Clay Work in PD Music website
"Kingdom Coming" (26 Sept. 1862)
(The Year of Jubilo)
by Henry Clay Work, 1832-1884
Say, darkeys, hab you seen de massa,
Wid de muffstash on his face,
Go long de road some time dis mornin',
Like he gwine to leag de place?
He seen a smoke, way up de ribber,
Whar de Linkum gumboats lay;
He took his hat, an' lef berry sudden,
An' I spec he's run away!
De massa run? ha, ha!
De darkey stay? ho, ho!
It mus' be now de kingdom comin',
An' de year of Jubilo!
* * *
Sheet music of the modern fiddle tune in D on Hope Grietzler's Happy Hollow Music website, along with mp3 file played by fiddle. Note to self: Some nice ornamentation on "Spotted Pony" worth checking out, too. Project Gutenberg has a transcription of the original sheet music for piano-forte and voice with four-part harmony on the chorus, in C (Chicago: Root & Cady, 1862).
THERE'S A SOUND AMONG THE FOREST TREES
There's a Sound Among the Forest Trees (Rallying Song and Chorus) / Miss Fanny Jane Crosby [aka Mrs. Francis Van Alstyne, 1820-1915] / William Batchelder Bradbury, 1816-1868. MIDI file at http://www.pdmusic.org/civilwar2.html ... scroll down to 1864, click on There's a Sound Among the Forest Trees (Rallying Song and Chorus)
1. There’s a sound among the forest trees, away, boys,
Away to the battlefield, Hurrah!
Hear its thunders from the mountains, no delay, boys,
We’ll gird on the sword and shield.
Shall we falter on the threshold of our fame, boys?
The light of the morn appears, Hurrah,
Quick to duty, “Up and at them,” once again, boys,
Hurrah for our Volunteers.
They are coming from the North, they are coming from the West,
Where the mighty river flows,
From New England’s hallowed soil,
Where our Pilgrim Fathers rest,
And the Star of Freedom rolls.
FULL CHORUS [sung after each verse]
There’s a sound among the forest trees, away, boys,
Away to the battle field, Hurrah!
Quick to duty, “Up and at them,” once again, boys,
Hurrah for our Volunteers.
More in Civil War directory on PD Music website
Dixie for the Union (for Quartette or Chorus) [c1860] / Francis Jane Crosby, 1820-1915 / Melody by Daniel Decatur Emmett, 1815-1904; [Piano Arr. by W. L. Hobbs]; Quartet Arr. by S. Lasar
Hold On Abraham! / William Batchelder Bradbury, 1816-1868 / William Batchelder Bradbury, 1816-1868
Three Hundred Thousand More! / William Cullen Bryant, 1794-1878 / George R. Poulton, 1828-1867
City of Alton Schottisch / none / Richard S. Poppen
DIXIE FOR THE UNION
"Dixie for the Union" (1860) 
Words by Francis J[ane]. Crosby (1820-1915)
[aka Mrs. Francis "Fanny" Jane (Crosby) Van Alstyne]
Melody by Dan[iel]. D[ecatur]. Emmett (1815-1904)
[Piano arranged by W. L. Hobbs]
Quartet [or Chorus] arranged by S. Lasar
New York: Firth, Pond & Co., 547 Broadway
1. Oh! ye patriots to the battle,
Hear Fort Moultrie’s cannon rattle;
Then away, then away, then away to the fight!
Go meet those Southern Traitors,
With iron will,
And should your courage falter, boy,
Remember Bunkey Hill,
[REFRAIN (sung after each VERSE]
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
The Stars and Stripes forever!
Our Union shall not sever!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Trio Mio Kristine Heebøll, Jens Ulvsand and Nikolaj Busk website has http://www.triomio.dk/index_e.html
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Along with all the Grateful Dead downloads, the Internet Archive has full text of John Horton, 'Scandinavian Music: A Short History' (1963)
Horton's Scandinavian Music (1963) is one of 1,817,401 texts available. Also: 451,106 recordings, 236,842 movies, 451,106 recordings and, in the live music archive, 71,839 concerts, including 7,195 of the Dead. Here are the details:
A Short History
W. W. NORTON & COMPANY ING.
First American Edition 1963
Printed in Great Britain
KANSAS CITY, MO PUBLIC LIBRARY 54- IOC 12 "o.?tor.
Hor ton 07*50
Scandinavian nu'sic; a short
kansas city public library
. Books will be issued only
on presentation of library card.
Please report lost cards and
; change of residence promptly.
Card holders are responsible for
all books, records, films, pictures
or other library materials ,
checked out on their cards.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Most of these sound modal to my ear, but some interesting influence of African American music - a lot of jazz and some blues - on some of the groups she features. Not to be missed: "Forårslængslens Bluespolsk" featuring Kristine Heebøl (and I'm sure I hear Nikolaj Busk on keyboard) from the Trio Mio CD.
Friday, December 11, 2009
The verse "Ære være Gud i det høyeste! of Fred paa Jorden ..." is the Gloria in excelsis deo from Luke 2:14.
In their notes to a CD called Stjerneklang, Norwegian singer Sinikka Langeland and organist Andreas Liebig find deep connections between Christmas music from Norway, Johann Sebastian Bach and the old German chorales, in their words "between St. Thomas’s Church and the [medieval Norwegian] Stave Church." They say:
The old Advent and Christmas hymns have migrated northwards to Norway from continental Europe. ... These hymns gradually became a vital part of folk culture during generations of use, and have made their way into the hearts of the people. The translations of Magnus Brostrup Landstad (1802-1880) for his collection in Kirkesalmebog (Church Hymnal) in 1869 have played an important role in this respect.Several of these hymns are on YouTube and other websites:
Kimer, i Klokker. "Ring, O ye bells." Danish and Norwegian carol. Words by 19th-century Danish pastor and composer Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1856. Melody in Danske Salmebog by Henrik Rung, 1857. According to the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website, it was also set by F. Melius Christiansen of Minnesota's St. Olaf College to Joachim Neander's "Praise to the Lord" and published in the Concordia Hymnal. YouTube has amateur footage of a church choir's concert at Christianskirken in Lyngby, Denmark. Also a Christian contemporary-sounding version by Danish rock and pop artist Kim Larsen and Grundtvig's words sung to Neander's melody onNorwegian pop and club band Dizzie Tunes' vinyl album Glade Jul released in 1977. (Footnote: According to Wikipedia, their producer was named Jørg Fredrik Ellertsen.)
Et lidet Barn saa lystelig. "A little child so joyfully." Landstad's psalmbook says it is a German song from the Middle Ages. YouTube has a medley of "Et lidet Barn saa lystelig" and "I denne søde Juletid" by the Norwegian roots band Bukkene Bruse, vocal by Arve Moen Bergset, performing songs from their Christmas CD, released in the U.S. by NorthSide records of Minneapolis. According to their liner notes on the song, they perform three versions of the melody, one from Brita Bratland and Ellen Nordstoga, one from Sunnmøre and one from Nordmøre. In an online essay ("In the Beginning Was the Song - The Old Christmas Hymns"), Sinikka Langeland says Kingo's psalm book of 1699 directed that it was to be sung “three times during the holy days of Christmas, before the Gospel for Christmas Day [and] read from the pulpit. People who did not attend church services during Christmas performed the same ritual at home, and it is therefore quite understandable that this song is found in so many different versions."
Du være lovet, Jesu Krist [German: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ]. "Praise to Thee, Jesus Christ." A medieval German carol that was reworked by Martin Luther and became one of the important Reformation chorale melodies. Aryeh Oron's Bach Cantatas Website has a history of the melody in the 16th and 17th centuries in his discussion of Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works. It is the basis of Cantata 91, which can be heard in audio on Oron's website at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV91-Mus.htm (click on C-4, Complete Cantata [ram]). YouTube has numerous clips of Bach's chorale prelude, and a clavicord setting by Dieterich Buxtehude. A German church (St. Gumbert, below) has a very nice - but unidentified - choral version.
I denne søde Juletid. Follows "Et lidet barn saa lystelig" in the YouTube clip from Bukkene Bruse's show on Norwegian television linked above.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
ment. psalmodikon, but not religious music ... good on modes, history from Middle Ages onward -- the following perspective:
In the construction of the "Swedish national folk music tradition", theOwe clearly belongs to the latter group.
importance of the collectors and researchers often rather narrow
preconceptions of what an "original, authentic, national folk music" is
and should sound like, cannot be overemphasised. From the first articles
published in the early 19th century up to today, the most common
approach to folk music has been a combination of two different
perspectives, the historical and the geographical. The historical
perspective is often a paradoxical combination of evolutionary and
devolutionary ideas: on the one hand folk music is understood to be
constantly developing from simple to complex, from primitive to
cultivated; on the other it is also understood to be constantly corrupted,
distorted, step by step vanishing, through the influence of modernisation
From the geographical perspective Sweden is treated either as a single
homogenous unit, or as consisting of several enclosed units, "landskap".
The "landskap", a medieval administrative unit, was reintroduced as a
symbolic "imagined community" in the second half of the 19th century.
Since then it has become firmly established in folk taxonomy, as the main
organising unit of folk traditions.
The historical-geographical perspective was seriously challenged in the
mid 20th century, by the introduction of structural-functionalist ideas,
which underlined forms, functions and social origins of folk music. ...
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Tablature is available on line for several good pieces that fit our period. Check the Everything Dulcimer website at http://everythingdulcimer.com/ ... The name's appropriate. It has, well, everything about dulcimers on the site. To find the tablature, pull down the "Files" menu and click on "Tab." You'll find a lengthy directory (654 tunes). The songs I'd recommend for starters are "Froggie Went A Courtin’," "Lincoln and Liberty" and "Shenandoah."
(If you're really, really bored, here's something else you can do on the EverythingDulcimer.com. You can also click on "ED Articles" while you're in the files menu, and scroll down to my article "Drones, picks and Popsicle sticks." It has a little bit about New Salem and a lot about the old-timey ways of playing.)
Some notes on the songs:
- "Frog Went a-Courting." There's only one version in EverythingDulcimer.com, but in one form or another, it dates back to a ballad called "Of a most strange wedding of a frog and mouse" printed in 1584. It's tabbed out for DAD and DAA, which confuses a lot of people. Choose the tuning you want - DAD if you're playing with the Monday night or Thursday night groups who stick to that tuning - and use a yellow highlighter so your part (the D string in DAD or A string in DAA) stands out. But look at the tab for both tunings and notice how they're related to each other. Lyrics: A webpage by music-lover David Highland collects different versions going all the way back to the 1500s. And Bob Dylan (of all people) has a singable set of lyrics that's true to the original or at least versions that would have been heard in the lower Midwest during the 1830s.
- "Lincoln and Liberty" ("Rosin the Bow"). "Lincoln and Liberty" doesn't fit our period, of course, but it's about our guy. And "Rosin the Bow" derives from a family of Irish and English fiddle tunes dating from the 1600s and 1700s. Citing Samuel Bayard's authoritative collection of early Pennsylvania fiddle and fife tunes, Andrew Kuntz in the Fiddler's Companion says, "the air was known to most fiddlers, fifers, and singers in Pennsylvania, as in many parts of the country." The lyrics to "Rosin the Bow" were published as sheet music in the late 1830s, so it's fair game for our period. Again, the tab is for DAA and DAD both. What does that tell you about playing songs in D?
- "Shenandoah." An old and very, very widespread song, but one that may have origins as a boatmans' song in the Mississippi Valley during our period. There are fascinating, although inconclusive, threads in Mudcat Cafe on its origins and history with links to yet other threads. A Bruce Springsteen tribute page has the lyrics in a version from the Pete Seeger Sessions that's very faithful to the original.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
A lot has been written about modes. It's an open-ended topic that can easily get confusing and distracting from the actual goal of playing music. The first thing to say about modes, is that they are just scales. One of the modes is nothing more than the major scale, another is the natural minor scale. The others are variations created by altering various tones in the scale. Each mode has a distinct feel of its own, and a funky Greek name to go with it.And this:
The modes provide a framework within which to think about note selection. In DADGAD this framework will generally be centered around the key of D initially. Players quickly familiarize themselves with the 3rd to control the major or minor tonality of a piece. However, there is great potential for variation among the other notes and without some kind of system, note selection becomes random. A single variation such as flattening the 6th in the D minor scale makes an enormous difference to the feel of a tune.Worth studying. Also some good information, along with MIDI files, on chords. Again in DADGAD tuning.
"Rio Trio Mio" in concert in Malmö, Sweden, in August 2009
A link to the band's home page ...
Link to my earlier post (w/ interview in roots music eZine.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The air is also related to the Irish - and southern Appalachian - fiddle tune "The Red Haired Boy," usually played in A mixolydian. Here it is played by the Bluegrass & Old-Time String Band Ensemble in the ethnomusicology department at UCLA:
The tune is ancient and has variants all over the British Isles. There's also a lot of lore and legend connected with the different versions. Says Andrew Kuntz in the Fiddler's Companion:
RED HAIRED BOY, THE (An Giolla Ruad). AKA and see "The Duck Chewed/Chews Tobacco," “The First of May ," "Gilderoy " (Ire.), "Giolla Rua" (Ire.), "Johnny Dhu," "The Little Beggarman" (Ire.), "The Little Beggar Boy," "An Maidrin Rua(dh)" (The Little Red Fox),” "The Old Soldier (with a Wooden Leg) " (W.Va.), "Old Soldier," "The Red Haired Lad," "The Red Headed/Haired Irishman" (Ky.), "Wooden Leg" (W.Va.). Irish (originally), Scottish, English; Air or Hornpipe: American, Canadian; Reel or Breakdown. A Mixolydian. Standard. AABB (most versions): AA’BB’ (Moylan). 'Red Haired Boy' is the English translation of the Gaelic title "Giolla Rua" (or, Englished, "Gilderoy"), and is generally thought to commemorate a real-life rogue and bandit, however, Baring-Gould remarks that in Scotland the "Beggar" of the title is also identified with King James V. The song was quite common under the Gaelic and the alternate title "The Little Beggarman" (or "The Beggarman," "The Beggar") throughout the British Isles. For example, it appears in Baring-Gould's 1895 London publication Garland of Country Song and in The Forsaken Lover's Garland, and in the original Scots in The Scots Musical Museum. A similarly titled song, "Beggar's Meal Poke's," was composed by James VI of Scotland (who in course became James the I of England), an ascription confused often with his ancestor James I, who was the reputed author of the verses of a song called "The Jolly Beggar." The tune is printed in Bunting's 1840 A Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland as "An Maidrin Ruadh" (The Little Red Fox). The melody is one of the relatively few common to fiddlers throughout Scotland and Ireland, and was transferred nearly intact to the American fiddle tradition (both North and South) where it has been a favorite of bluegrass fiddlers in recent times.
Bandits, fairies and the tune all come together in an Irish tale, representing the capricious results of humans coming in contact with fairy-induced music. In the tale “The Red Haired Boy” was played somewhat under duress by uilleann piper Donnchadh Ó Sé from Lóthar, one of the best pipers in the parish of Priory. Donnchadh came by some of his music from contact with the supernatural, a not uncommon claim, but this time with a twist. It seems that he and his brother were gathering seaweed at Faill an Mhada Rua when they heard beautiful ethereal music nearby; Dónall stood by, afraid, but Donnchadh followed the sounds up the cliff and was able to commit them to memory. Returning home he strapped himself into his pipes and played the melody he heard, but afterwards was stuck down ill, becoming bedridden for three months before recuperating. Each time he played the tune the same would happen—he would suffer, for illness always followed. One day Donnchadh had the ill fortune to meet with a ruffian, who evidently knew of the circumstance and demanded at the point of a pistol that the piper play the fairy tune. Donnchadh obligingly reached for his pipes, and soon found that the brute was ignorant of the music and so was able to placate him with “An Giolla Rua” (Breathnach, The Man and His Music, 1997, pg. 38.
Sources for notated versions: J.P. Fraley (Rush, Ky.) [Phillips]; learned from fiddler Padraig O’Keeffe by accordion player Johnny O’Leary (Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border) [Moylan]; fiddler Dawson Girdwood (Perth, Ottawa Valley, Ontario) [Begin]. Begin (Fiddle Music in the Ottawa Valley: Dawson Girdwood), 1985; No. 27, pg. 40. Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; pg. 81. Messer (Anthology of Favorite Fiddle Tunes), 1980; No. 69, pg. 44. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 132. Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1983; 115. Moylan (Johnny O’Leary), 1994; No. 300, pg. 173. O'Neill (O’Neill’s Irish Music), 1915/1987; No. 356, pg. 173 (appears as "The Redhaired Lad"). O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; pg. 209. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903/1979; No. 1748, pg. 325. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907/1986; No. 921, pg. 157. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), 1994. pg. 196. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 127. Spandaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; pg. 34. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; pg. 77. Columbia C 33397, Dave Bromberg Band ‑ "Midnight on the Water" (1975). Sparton Records SP 210, “Ward Allen Presents Maple Leaf Hoedown, Vol. 2.” Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40126, Northern Spy – “Choose Your Partners!: Contra Dance & Square Dance Music of New Hampshire” (1999).
T:Red Haired Boy
A>GE2A2 (A>B) c>de>f ec d2cde2A2 (A>B)c>A(B>A) E>F =G2 G>F
E2A2 (A>B) c>d(e>f) e>c d2c>de a2 b a>=g e>dc2A2A2:
:e>f(=g>f g>a (g>f) e>f(=g>)f e>c d2c>de2A2 (A>B) c>A(B>A) E>F =G3F
E2A2 (A>B) cd(e>f) e>c d2cde a2 b a>=g e>d(3cdc A2A2:
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Tuesday, Dec. 1 (the first class after Thanksgiving vacation). Your paper on your artist is due. Link here for the assignment sheet.
Week of Nov. 30-Dec. 4 we will watch "Godfathers and Sons" in class.
Thursday, Dec. 10 our final is scheduled from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Dawson 220. Link here for a copy of the questions. You may turn in your completed final at the beginning of the scheduled time or write it in Dawson 220 during exam period. Please give me the completed exam paper in person or email it to my sci.edu account; if you don't receive an email response from me, plan on bringing in a copy to make sure it doesn't fall through the cracks!
Monday, November 23, 2009
HUM 223 - Final Exam – Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009
Answer each of the three essay questions below; No. 1 is worth 50 points, and Nos. 2A and 2B are worth 25 points each. This is an open-book test, so in grading it I will take into account the amount of detail you use to support your answers as well as their clarity, correctness and relevance to the questions. Specific detail is very important; the more detail you cite to support your points, and the more logically you use it to prove your points, the better your grade. It’s that simple. So be specific. I am giving it to you now so you have the option of writing it early; you also have the option of writing it in Dawson 220 during the scheduled period, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10.
Essay #1 (50 points). On July 5, 1954, Sam Phillips of the Sun record label in Memphis heard a group of white musicians jamming on “That’s All Right” by African-American blues artist Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. It was like nothing he’d ever heard before, and he had them cut a record right away, fronted by Elvis Presley. According to Robert Palmer, author of “Deep Blues,” that record was “the beginning of something very, very big, something anybody could have predicted, nobody could have stopped and perhaps only one person, Sam Phillips, could have started.” It was also an example of cultural appropriation, which occurs when an art form crosses over from a minority to a majority culture. More crossover occurred when white British musicians like Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones adopted the Mississippi delta and Chicago blues style of African American artists and made it their own in the 1960s and 70s. And the music crosses generational boundaries when younger artists like Corey Harris search back to the origins of blues and reflect them in other forms of music including jazz, rock and hip hop. How well, in your opinion, does blues transcend cultural, racial and generational boundaries? What is lost when the music crosses over cultural and generational boundary lines? What is gained? Be specific.
Short essay #2A (25 points). What have you learned in HUM 223 that surprised you? What was your overall impression of the blues before you took the course? Has that impression changed as a result of your reading, class discussion and research for the course? What specific thing (or things) surprised you the most? Why? What do you think was the most important point? As always, be specific. Cite specific evidence - in this case, while discussing what you learned in the course. Your grade on the essay will depend on the specific evidence you cite.
Short essay #2B (25 points). As you wrote your research paper, did you expect to learn when you started? What did you find out from your research that was unexpected? In other words, what surprised you? What new insights did you gain? What did you learn about the history of American popular music? Where did the musician(s) you studied fit into the development of blues, jazz, rock, hip hop or other forms of American popular music? How did your appreciation of their music change from doing the paper?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tekst: Hans Adolph Brorson (1765)
Mel.: Norsk folkemelodi 19 årh.
Guds Søn har gjort mig friDanish and English text available online at The Lied and Art Song Texts Page ...
fra Satans tyranni,
fra lovens band,
fra dødens skræk og Helved-brand. ...
God's son has made me free(Line breaks adjusted to conform to Salmebog.)
from Satan's tyranny,
from sin and shame,
from earthly blame,
from death's domain and hellish flame. ...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Kirsten Bråten Berg & Hallvard T. Bjørgum & Eilert Hægeland on album Jultid [Christmas] (1991). These notes on the song are on the Oslo Philharmonic website:
HERRE JESUS KRISTThere's a Danish text printed on line under title "Bøn" [prayer] on The Lied and Art Song Texts Page. First verse:
Main artist: KIRSTEN BRÅTEN BERG & HALLVARD T. BJØRGUM & EILERT HÆGELAND
Music by Folketone Frå Setesdal
Lyrics by H.Chr. Sthen
Performers: EILERT HÆGELAND, HALLVARD T. BJØRGUM, KIRSTEN BRÅTEN BERG
Herre Jesus Christ!Last verse is also the same as Berg's. I couldn't follow the middle verses. Danish text here is assigned to Thomas Kingo (1634-1703), but the Lutheran Hymnal Online (1941) assigns it to Hans C. Sthen (1544-1610), and prints it with a tune by Ludvig Lindeman. It's discussed on a weblog called A Fort Made of Books in the course of an overall appraisal of Lindeman by blogger Robbie F., a Missouri Synod Lutheran from St. Louis who is ever on the lookout for "dubious theology" and "pietistic pitfalls inherent in some of the most popular hymns sung to Lindeman tunes" but who still appreciates Lindeman's folk melodies. He says, "It is such a beautiful prayer of trust in Christ and His Word that one should not be surprised to find it crossing ethnic barriers to appear in such German-Lutheran books as The Lutheran Hymnal and the Wisconsin Synod's Christian Worship ... And that's not even taking into account what Lindeman's witty, prayerful tune brings to the table" [citations omitted]. Robbie F. is right. The tune is witty, prayerful. But I think I like Berg's Setesdal folk tune better. Perhaps it's her singing, though.
Min Frelser Du er,
paa Dig jeg haaber alene,
jeg troer paa Dig,
forlad ei mig,
mig trøster dit Ord det Rene.
See also the MIDI file and words in the Lutheran Hymnal Online (scroll down to line "Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior blest ... 353 ... Lyrics" / (by Hans C. Sthen, 16th Century, trans. Harriet R. Spaeth, 1845-1925) Wikimedia Commons has an emblem (see below) for Hans Christensen Sthen (1544-1610), Danish hymn writer of Roskilde.
English words as follows from 1941 Missouri Synod hymnal, which notes (in the accompanying companion) the hymn has been a favorite in Scandinavia:
"Lord Jesus Christ, My Savior Blest"
by Hans C. Sthen, 16th Century
Translated by Harriet R. Spaeth, 1845-1925
1. Lord Jesus Christ,
My Savior blest,
My Hope and my Salvation!
I trust in Thee;
Thy Word's my consolation.
2. As Thou dost will,
Lead Thou me still
That I may truly serve Thee,
My God, I pray,
Teach me Thy way,
To my last day
In Thy true faith preserve me.
3. Most heartily
I trust in Thee;
Thy mercy fails me never.
Dear Lord, abide;
My Helper tried,
From evil keep me ever.
4. Now henceforth must
I put my trust
In Thee, O dearest Savior.
Thy comfort choice,
Thy word and voice,
My heart rejoice
Despite my ill behavior.
5. When sorrows rise,
My refuge lies
In Thy compassion tender.
Within Thine arm
Can naught alarm;
Keep me from harm,
Be Thou my strong Defender.
6. I have Thy Word,
Christ Jesus, Lord;
Thou never wilt forsake me.
This will I plead
In time of need.
Oh, help me speed
When troubles overtake me!
7. Grant, Lord, I pray,
Thy grace each day
That I, Thy Law revering,
May live with Thee
And happy be
Before Thy throne appearing.
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 119:170
Author: Hans C. Sthen, c. 1578
Translated by: Harriet R. Spaeth, 1898
Titled: "Herre Jesu Krist! Min Freiser du est"
Composer: Ludvig M. Lindeman, 1971
Tune: "Herre Jesu Krist"
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
During the 1960s, the UK was the location for a vibrant social revolution. London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle all had their own music scenes. Musicians from Belfast and Glasgow moved to London to be part of the club scene there.You can - and should! - read the rest for yourself.
The post-war traditional jazz and folk revival movements produced the fertile ground for a new kind of blues music — entirely influenced by the authentic black blues of the USA, and, for the most part, entirely ignored by the good citizens of the US. It was new in the sense that certain key musicians took the blues and molded it in an entirely personal way to fit the new awareness of the UK in the sixties.
Importantly, for the most part they continued to pay homage to the originators of the music and to make a huge global audience aware of the likes of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Freddie King, etc. ...
Speaking of what you can - and should - read, there's also an interview with director Mike Figgis on the Web site. Says Figgis, who is white and who played with a British blues band for a while:
What characterized that period, which is the middle and late sixties, early seventies, was a very open attitude toward music and culture, and toward race, as well. So the idea that, for example, in a place like Britain, which was far enough removed from the problems of race as they were experienced in America and the problems with blues musicians there, you could listen to a very eclectic range of music, from, say, Ray Charles, to a guitarist like Steve Cropper, or to the Beatles, and think of them as coming from the same idea. There wasn't a wall between those cultures.He has a lot more to say, as well. You should read it (but you already knew that). Oh, let's just make the Web site a reading assignment.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Also from NRK broadcast of songs on Bukkene Bruse's album "Den fagraste rosa" (Grappa, 2001):
- "Den fagraste rosa er funni" - Traditional tune from Trysil, Norway, with lyrics by H.A. Brorson, translated by Elias Blix. Arranged by Bjørn Ole Rasch.
- "Et lidet barn saa lystelig / I denne søde juletid" - A medley of "Et lidet barn ..." from Kingo's hymnal of the 1500s and "I denne søde juletid" words by Hans Brorsen ...
- "Maria, hun er en jomfru ren" -
Psalmodikon sifferskrift for "I denne sode juletid" (also "Et lidet barn saa listelig" to the same tune) in Ole Lindeman's Coral-Melodier for Psalmodicon (1865).
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Last year Norwegian vocalist Solveig Slettahjell and pianist Tord Gustavsen recorded a CD of mostly Norwegian traditional Christmas songs - and an African American spiritual - on Norway's Kirkelig Kulturverksted label called Natt I Bethlehem [Night in Bethlehem] at the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem, where the head of the Norwegian record label Kirkelig Kulturverksted arranged the Christmas concert "in the besieged town of Bethlehem" on the West Bank. The music is peaceful, meditative ... and poignant, if you think about the circumstances. Writes Eyal Hareuveni for the eZine All About Jazz:
Sletthajell performs with an intensity and devotion that create an immediate and intimate emotional impact. The warmth and depth of her voice and her emotional intelligence are both simply perfect. Gustavsen, who has accompanied other Norwegian vocalists such as Siri Gjaere, Silje Nergaard and Kristin Asbjornsen, is a trusty partner, framing the traditional songs in spare and modest yet memorable arrangements. The duo recorded the 13 songs - traditional Norwegian Christmas songs and other songs associated with the season - after the Franciscan monks retired for the night, using the exceptional acoustics of the church. Gustavsen used a 1882 Steinway piano belonging to the local conservatory, and later on trumpet player Sjur Miljeteig, a member of Slettahjell's Slow Motion Quintet, added his part.Haveuveni adds, "The tone of most of the songs is meditative and contemplative, slow-motioned as Slettahjell prefers, allowing the sheer beauty of each utterance and note to shine forth. The songs embrace the listener with gentle tranquility and warm the soul, regardless of any particular religious conviction." Judging by the brief audio clips on the Kirkelig Kulturverksted website, he's right. Sletthajel's voice is jazzy, bluesy, passionate. The singer I know who comes close to the heartfelt intensity she brings to sacred music is Iris Dement, but I hear more jazz and funk in Sletthajel's intonation. Her version of "Poor Little Jesus," the African American spiritual, is stunning. Especially when you listen to the words and think about how embattled the Christian community in Bethlehem has been in recent years. Sletthajel is on YouTube, singing a very different song of the season:
Emily Yoffe, http://www.slate.com/id/2235642/entry/0/?from=rss
"their performance was an uncanny channeling of Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, and other Delta greats. The rest of my group found them bizarre, but I loved the creative passion of two white men from Central Europe imagining themselves to be black musicians in the American South 60 years ago."
Their home page links to a video clip of http://www.lubosbena.sk/hudba_en.htm their concert in Mirov prison in the Czech Republic. "The majority of the songs on this CD were composed by African American musicians from the south in America in prisons while sentenced to hard labour or while toiling in cotton plantations during slavery. The imaginery circle was closed when the songs literally returned to where they were born – to the authentic blues conservatory, where Bena and Ptaszek initiated spontaneous final jamming with the prison band Work Therapy."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Misc. notes: Religiøse Folketonar CD; Sinikka Langeland concert, tour to promote new Bach CD; and program notes on Stjerneklang
Langeland is from the Finnskogen (Finnish woods) section of Norway, plays 15- and 39-string Finnish kanteles. Folk, especially religious folketoner, jazz and classical. Extended clip in concert at the Kennedy Center Sept. 27, 2007, backed by Markku Uunaskari on drums. The blurb:
Sinikka Langeland sings and also plays the 39-string concert kantele (Finnish table harp). She intertwines folksong, literature, and Nordic jazz to play songs that focus on the relationship between people and nature as it is expressed in traditional and modern poetry.Also: Link here to an interview from the Washington Express during her 2007 tour and her home page at http://www.sinikka.no/ ... and the Amazon.com playlist from Stjerneklang by Sinikka Langeland Og Andreas Liebig and the CD Roots blurb, which is more informative.
A three-page PDF document (in Norwegian) on organist Andreas Liebig's website. He is organist at the cathedral in Oslo.
I OPPHAVET VAR SONGEN - Sondre Bratland
DE GAMLE JULESALMENE - Sinikka Langeland
MELLOM THOMASKIRKEN OG STAVKYRKJA - © Andreas Liebig
Religiøse Folketonar by Ole Olsen Fykse Audio clips on Yahoo! Music website. Good blurb on CD Roots' Tal:ik records webpage (scroll down). "Born in 1879 in Fykse, Kvam on the north side of the Hardanger fjord in Norway. This is a collection of religious songs, sung a capella by Fyske in various locations, that exemplify the church music of the region form the early part of the 20th century. Excellent notes in English and Norwegian. " Field recording.
CD Roots and Tal:ik are both worth studying a little.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
HUM 223: Here's a highly recommended way to outline your papers. It's my idea, and I think it's brilliant. Capice?
The special meaning, and more particularly, the submerged associations that these words and images [in a literary work] have for the individual reader will largely determne what the work communicates to him. The reader brings to the work personality traits, memories of past events, present needs and preoccupations, a particular mood of the moment, and a particular physical condition. These and many other elements in a never-to-be-duplicated combination determine his response to the peculiar contribution of the text.It's just like that for music or any other art form we experience: We create the meaning it holds for us.
So over the years I've worked up a formula that helps students get into a work of art. That's what my tip sheet "How to Write a Reflective Response on Music (or literature of any other work of art)" is all about. It's designed to start by focusing on your experience of the music, but to move on from there into analyzing the music. You'll notice the "three questions" we keep asking, and you'll notice some elaboration on the questions by a lit professor from Georgia State (which is where I got the questions from). Below that, I've got a kind of outline. And I've linked to a sample essay I wrote - well, started - when I was still teaching English. You don't have to use my outline, but I hope you'll try it. It's helped students write some pretty good stuff over the years. Here's one example from The Sleepy Weasel, BenU-Springfield's campus magazine. And here's another example, also from The Weasel. Did I mention there's extra credit available if your paper is good enough for the magazine. A lot of our best stuff comes from papers written for class.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
HUM 223: Corey Harris, online sources ... your papers ... and crossing the boundaries of art and culture
For example, blues singer Corey Harris isn't as well known as giants like B.B. King and the late John Lee Hooker. But there's a good profile of Harris on the Afropop.org website. ("Afropop," of course, is African popular music (well, duh, that's why they call it that) or music like Harris' that's heavily influenced by the contemporary music scene in Africa. It has some good quotes from Harris. Like this one:
I want to reach people in other countries. I want to say something that is about my experience as a black person who has been in other places where black people live and observed how they do their thing. But I want to make it so that other people can feel it and understand it and say, 'Oh, this relates to me too.'And this:
A lot of the walls that we put up between one another--we're conditioned to do that. ... It's in the media and in our education for us to look at all the differences and then conclude that there are these huge walls between us. But I really feel that as humans we all have one soul. We got one heart. We got one blood. As the world's getting smaller, we've really got to learn about each other, and part of that is knowing where you're coming form. So I think that by trying to figure out what's inside of me musically and the heritage that I've got, that I can better live with others.Read the Afropop.org profile for yourself and notice how I find quotes for the blog? You can do that, too, in your papers! Right? I thought so.
So ... what does all this have to do with the themes we've been following in HUM 223? How does a common musical language allow musicians to transcend cultural boundaries?
In 2007 Corey Harris won a $250,000 "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation. He also received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Bates College, where he graduated. And he gave a speech at commencement you may (or may not) find interesting. (An uplifting speech is part of the deal when you get an honorary degree, and this one's from a guy who's managed to make a living doing something he loves. Might be worth a listen.) In 2008 he spent a week on campus as a visiting artist. Here's what his teachers at Bates said about him, and what he said to the students. It's a publicity video, but he also has some important things to say about his music:
Listen to what Harris says to the students. Does he transcend the boundaries of musical genre?
Harris continues to explore heritage and cross boundaries. Here he is, below, a concert this fall at Duke University fronting the 5x5 Band playing "Catfish Blues." It's a blues classic, but do you hear the rock in this performance? the jazz? or is there a mixture of all three? Do you hear just a little whiff of reggae, too? How does music transcend the boundaries of genre as well as culture? Just askin'. This performance features Harris on vocals and guitar, Peanut Whitley on keyboard (and musical direction), Ralph DuJour on bass, Ken Joseph on drums and Gordon "Saxman" Jones on saxophone.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Here are the questions I want you to consider as you watch "Feel Like Going Home," Martin Scorsese's PBS show about a search by bluesman Corey Harris of Charlottesville, Va., for the heritage of his music:
- Does Harris communicate a passion for his music? When he meets the old bluesmen in Mississippi and speaks with musicians in West Africa, is he interested in music? In art? In history and heritage? Or maybe in "all of above?"
- How do you respond to the music you hear? Whether it's Harris jamming with the old-timers or the West Africans? What does the music remind you of? How is it similar to, or different from, genres you listen to? In other words, ask yourself the three questions I keep asking you.
- As you watch "Feel Like Going Home," you hear music played by people of different generations and different cultures, even different continents. While it all relates to blues, the music is also quite varied. To what extent do these musicians, young and old from U.S. and from Africa, share a common musical language? Does the music enable them to communicate? If so, how?
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
What I want us to focus on is how - or whether - a shared passion for the music allows artists to bridge cultural gaps and create something new that changes as it crosses cultural boundaries. Here are some questions to think about as you watch all three videos. (They're from last year's final exam, but don't let that scare you. I still think they're pretty good questions, and they do sum up what I think is important about HUM 223.) Here are the questions:
In the TV show Godfathers and Sons, Chicago rap artist Common said, “Hip hop is definitely a child of the blues, and I think you’ve got to know the roots to really grow [as a musician]. It’s like knowing your parents, it’s like knowing your culture so you can be proud of that culture and take it to the world and say, ‘Hey, this is where we’re taking it. We’re utilizing the origins of this to take it somewhere else. We’re paying homage, and we’re taking it to a new place.’” In each of the three videos about the blues we watched this semester, we saw artists searching back to the origins of blues and reflecting them in other forms of music including jazz, rock and hip hop. How did bluesman Corey Harris’ search for musical origins in Feel Like Going Home differ from that of the English rock singers like Eric Clapton featured in Red, White and Blues and mentioned in the book Robert Palmer’s Deep Blues? How was it the same? How do Harris’ and the English rockers’ quests compare to the hip hop artists featured in Godfathers and Sons? How have the music and the cultural values of musicians from Africa, rural Mississippi and the Chicago of Muddy Waters’ day been reflected in the blues and contemporary popular music?As you watch the first installment, which Scorsese directed himself, ask yourself:
- Does Corey Harris communicate a passion for his music? When he meets the old bluesmen in Mississippi and speaks with musicians in West Africa, is he interested in music? In art? In history and heritage? Or maybe in "all of above?"
- How do you respond to the music you hear? Whether it's Harris jamming with the old-timers or the West Africans? What does the music remind you of? How is it similar to, or different from, genres you listen to? In other words, ask yourself the three questions.
More on "Feel Like Going Home." In his introduction Scorsese says:
Corey isn't just a great player, he also knows the history of the blues very well. We filmed him in Mississippi talking to some of the old, legendary figures who were still around and visiting some of the places where the music was made. This section culminates in a meeting with the great Otha Turner, sitting on his porch in Senatobia with his family nearby and playing his cane flute. We were also fortunate to film Otha's magnificent November 2001 concert at St. Ann's in Brooklyn, which I believe was his last performance captured on film. It seemed natural to trace the music back from Mississippi to West Africa, where Corey met and played with extraordinary artists like Salif Keita, Habib Koité, and Ali Farka Toure. It's fascinating to hear the links between the African and American music, to see the influences going both ways, back and forth across time and space.You can - and should! - read more on the linked page. Scorsese ends by saying:
People like to think of the great blues singers as raw, instinctive, with talent and genius flowing from their fingertips. But John Lee Hooker, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and so many other amazing talents, more names than I have space for here, are some of the greatest artists America has ever had. When you listen to Lead Belly, or Son House, or Robert Johnson, or John Lee Hooker, or Charley Patton, or Muddy Waters, you're moved, your heart is shaken, you're carried and inspired by its visceral energy, and its rock solid emotional truth. You go right to the heart of what it is to be human, the condition of being human. That's the blues.As you watch the videos, listen for how many musicians talk about the heart, playing from the heart ... is that what the blues is about? But listen, too, for what they say about pleasing audiences, about making money? Is it about that, too? Can it be about both? If so, how?
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Ask yourself the famous three questions: Your reaction, why you feel that way, etc.
Also, this: Is it about money, or is it about art? What strikes you most? The announcer, the music, whatever?
Post your answers as comments to this post.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Radio podcast on Swedish roots music in Minnesota, w/ link to an interesting studentspelmanslag ["Student Folk Big Band"] in Sweden
Following the music from MN back to Sweden, then back a few centuries. A one hour journey to the roots of the roots.For this program, link here:
Hosted by Rees and Dean Johnson, the Scandinavian Cultural Hour "presents a wide range of music from Scandinavia, both old and new," according to the program listing. "It features Scandinavian releases of every musical genre: Instrumental, vocal, classical, folk and jazz." Value to this cast, along with the music, is what Rees says about the music between selections.
Especially nice: "Hinsvals & Hinspolska," medley by Bollnäsbygdens Spelmanslag beginning at 11:18. Background on student spelmanslag clubs since Linköping Folk Festival in 2003. According to their MySpace profile, their "music mixes old and new, back-country fiddle and distorted electric guitar." It features 30-plus fiddles, "recorders, cellos, accordion, key-fiddles [nyckelharp], guitars, percussion, cittern and bass." Interesting sound. More on spelmanslag ["Student Folk Big Band"] movement at Studentspelmanslags-VM website. Mostly in Swedish with an English summary (click on British flag) and links to YouTube clips on "Historisk" page.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
HUM 223: Ethnic Music
Springfield College in Illinois
Fall Semester 2009
Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art. -- Charlie Parker
Term Paper – Fall 2009
One of your requirements in Humanities 223 is to write a documented term paper (at least 2,000 words or eight pages in 12pt type) on some aspect of cultural and artistic expression in traditional music or a commercial genre derived from traditional music. This handout tells you how to do it. The instructions, and updates, will be posted to my teaching blog at http://www.hogfiddle.blogspot.com/ -- Pete Ellertsen, instructor
Your overall assignment. Choose a musician, band or group whose work you enjoy or whom you want to know more about, and write a paper about their artistic influences; how their culture and/or artistic shaped their life and career; how they dealt with issues of commercial and artistic success; and their place in the history of American popular music.
You may choose your own topic, i.e. the artist you write about. But since this is a roots music class, you will do best if you choose a historical figure or a contemporary musician whose art has been influenced by traditional music and who seeks to modify those traditions in today’s world. Be sure to clear your topic with me before you begin researching it; I must approve the topic ahead of time. Your opinions and your response to the artist’s music are an important part of the paper, but you need to research your artists’ career and respond to their music in order to support your opinion. In other words, it is a documented research paper. A “Citation Machine” is available on my faculty page.
How to approach your paper. In researching and writing your paper, you’ll want to address the following points. Not all of them will be appropriate for every paper you write (for example you don’t need to spell out for me that gospel singer Mahalia Jackson didn’t use drugs), but you’ll want to touch these bases in your research:·
- Some biography of your artist or band members, including musical influences, artistic vision (i.e. anything they said about music, like the quote from jazz saxophone player Charlie “Bird” Parker above), and how they made a living from their music. How did they handle the stresses of a musical career, including drug use, road trips, etc.? How successful were they?
- What compromises, if any, did they make between their artistic vision and commercial success? How successful were they, both artistically and commercially?· What does your artist’s career tell you about what it means to have a career in the arts in American society? What does it tell you about American popular culture?
- If you do a historical figure, how did they influence later musicians? If you do contemporary musicians, how do they build on the music of the past?· How well was your artist or band received in their time? By the public? By other musicians?
- Listen to some of their music, and ask yourself: (1) What about it stands out in my mind as I listen to it? (2) What in my background, values, taste and interests makes me feel that way? (3) What specifically about the music leads me to my response to it? Consult the reflective response handout linked to my faculty webpage and my sample essay linked to that page for more ideas on how to write about music. Your response to roots music is what HUM 223 is all about, and this response is an essential part of the paper.
In researching the paper, you should both read up on the musicians and listen to some of their music. You will find some sources in the library, others on the Internet. If you have trouble tracking down recordings or sound files, see me and I’ll help out.
Who to write about? Any of the artists we have talked about in class are fair game. You can find plenty on historical figures like Stephen A. Foster, the Fisk Jubilee Singers or Louie Armstrong. Blues and/or jazz vocalists like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday would be good subjects. Gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson (mentioned above) or Thomas A. Dorsey who also sang blues as “Georgia Tom,” or more recent evangelists like Kirk Franklin who have their roots in gospel music.
As you read “Deep Blues” by Robert Palmer, You will learn a lot about Delta and Chicago bluesmen Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, as well as the rock artists like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan or the Rolling Stones who emulated their music. You will get other ideas as we watch “Feel Like Going Home” and other DVDs from Martin Scorese’s PBS series “The Blues” we screen in class during the remainder of the semester. Just be sure to clear your topic with me first.
What are my deadlines? There are three. You will give me a two-page typewritten proposal by Tuesday, Nov. 10, in which you tell me which performer(s) you will research and what your tentative thesis is; and list, in MLA or APA format, three to five specific sources you have consulted. Link here for the assignment sheet for the proposal.
Your papers will be due the day after Thanksgiving vacation, which is Monday, Nov. 30. I will post further directions and/or suggestions to Hogfiddle, and we can discuss paper-writing stragegies in class.
If you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask me. The quickest way is to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.