Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gracia Grindal lecture on Hemlandssånger

Two listings of what appears to be the same talk ...

1. Gracia Grindal, "Swedish-American Spiritual Songbooks and Their Origins," Lecture given at Swedish Songfest, Luther Seminary, October 1992.
Excerpt: The Swedish pastors who were to take their places as the founders of the Augustana Synod, brought [Oscar] Ahnfelt's books with them and quickly began disseminating the tunes and texts among the Swedish pioneers by singing them for a variety of church occasions. Tufve Nilsson Hasselquist, the still point at the center of Augustana's history, is said to have sung them in church as he walked down the aisle, wearing a white linen coat. In 1856 he published a collection of 50 of Ahnfelt's song, which he called Femtio Andeliga Sånger, the first book of songs published by Swedes in America. Its popularity is attested to by the fact it was sold out by 1859. In addition to publishing the book he also published selections from the book in his monthly paper Det Rätta Hemlandet, which had as a Bible verse under the title Jeremiah 51:50 "Remember the Lord from afar, and let Jerusalem come into your mind." What better for a title for the book of songs later to be published than Hemlandssånger which it received in 1860 when Jonas Engberg of Chicago, published a book of 240 spiritual songs which he named Hemlandssånger. These were published, with psalmodikon markings, almost in their entirety, on the front page of every issue of Det Rätta Hemlandet until all of the tunes for the book had been published in 1863. Interesting to note, is that the tradition of publishing psalmodikon markings had begun with the 1846 version of the Wallin hymnal Den Svenska Psalmboken med alla psalmers melodier för första gånger fyrstämmigt tecknade med siffor, enligt Kongeliga Musikaliska Akademies meloditabell och Haeffners koralbok which certainly Esbjörn had with him as well as Syréen's songs. The publishing of these songs in such a manner tells us that the Swedish immigrants had taken to heart the teaching of Johan Dillner, who used the instrument to teach his choir the four parts of harmony in the Wallin hymnal. One still can find these primitive instruments in old barns out on Swedish and Norwegian farms in this area, much misunderstood, but a deeply significant part of the Swedish song tradition in this country. ...
2. "The Swedish-American Lutheran Tradition of Hymns and Song." Lecture given in October 1992 at the 100th anniversary of Hemlandssånger.
Same text, but with nice pix of the book and the title Hemlandssånger in italics throughout.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Clawhammer banjo - sound clips of lots of North Carolina fiddle tunes

ZEPP Country Music, Inc., Wendell, N.C.

Inludes Snake River Reel, Cumberland Gap, Over the Waterfall, Road to Lisdoonvarna (well, they're not all N.C. tunes), Rock the Cradle Joe, Bonaparte's Retreat ... lots more

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Music resources - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship website at Calvin College has a very good directory of music links and resources mostly, but by no means all, from a Reformed perspective. 


Copyright Help
Guide to Copyright Information 
from the Church Music Publishers Association 
How to Copyright Right
from Reformed Worship magazine
Thou Shall Not Steal
from Reformed Worship magazine

But there's a lot more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Link to WNYC show on Bernstein's 'Mass'

Broadcast Oct. 1, 2008, on WNYC radio an hour-long show on Bernstein's "Mass". Here's the blurb: "Composer Daniel Felsenfeld re-examines Leonard Bernstein's controversial "Mass." Also, highlights from the New York Festival of Song's recent Bernstein Celebration." Well worth a listen.
WNYC also has streaming audio. And a local news website with two-minute top-of-the-news updates throughout the day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

'Smoke Signals'/soundtrack CD; HUM 221 syllabus?

Note to self: Assign screenplay for "Smoke Signals" instead of "Here First" in next year's HUM 221 syllabus (which is past due for a reworking anyway). especially since we aren't really doing much with "Here First" anyway; focus the course more on the question how do Native American artists balance artistic expression, Native cultural identity and the need to make a buck with their art?

Turns out the soundtrack was as well received as the movie, and the movie won the Filmmakers Trophy and the Audience Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Adds Evan Cater's All Music Guide review on the website:
Like the film itself, which went on to be an unlikely box office success, the soundtrack provided a major market showcase for Native American talent. In addition to excerpts from B.C. Smith's original score, the CD features music from Native American artists Ulali, Jim Boyd, Jon Sirois, Andre Picara, Jr., Patrick Watt, and the Eaglebear Singers. Smith's score incorporates elements of traditional Native American music, placing it alongside Michael Nyman-esque orchestral compositions and snatches of contemporary rock.
And this:
All of this wide-ranging diversity does make for a somewhat disjointed listen, but it is undeniably well-suited to a movie about the struggle of the indigenous peoples to accept, embrace, and preserve their heritage in the face of the dominating influence of mainstream American culture
Here's a pretty perceptive customer review on the website on the movie:
Like the movie, the soundtrack seems to be a wonderfully original piece that mostly has moments of soulful beauty, grace and humor, with some purely dorky "you can tell this is my very first time doing this" moments. The electric guitar pieces didn't really fit in the movie - they seemed to be communicating the obvious in a way that was really detracting to the quality of the scenes, and they don't stand well on their own on the CD. But those songs are few and, as soundtracks go, this is really beautiful overall. The vocalists are original and really good, and make you want to find out more about them and their work. And if you loved the movie, you will probably really appreciate the CD. I highly recommend it.
"Perceptive," as aways, means I agree with it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nordic Fest in Iowa

Midwest Weekends, a website by former St. Paul Pioneer-Press travel writer Beth Gauper, has an article on Nordic Fest. "Every year," she says, "the 8,700 people of Decorah, Iowa, put on a jubilee of Old World heritage that brings up to 75,000 to the picturesque hills of northeast Iowa and serves as a kind of homecoming for Norwegians from many states." A snippet that conveys a lot of atmosphere:
In the elementary school nearby, rosemaler Kari Pettersen of Drammen, Norway, brushed a swirl of blue paint onto an oxblood-red bowl, watched by an audience as hushed as a golf-tournament gallery. We watched a puppet show, then joined the crowd on the ball field outside, where men were heaving boulders in the Nordic Rock Throw.

We had grilled-steak sandwiches and Spring Grove lemonade at the local cattlemen's tent, served by the Winneshiek County Beef Queen; all the food stands are run by local groups, with not a corn dog or mini-doughnut in sight.

On Water Street, we bought a plate of krumkake and listened to music: The Bo Juniorspelemannslag from Telemark, Norway, playing hardanger fiddle, with one young woman singing a haunting folk song accompanied by flute. The Aalesund Spelemanslag, playing the wedding march they play for tourists on the west coast of Norway. The North Sea Square Dancers, with limber young men enacting a courtship ritual by kicking a felt hat off the end of a pole held by a young woman.

That night, we didn't go to the torchlight parade, street dance, giant bonfire or fireworks over the Upper Iowa River. We'd run out of steam.

The next morning, in the dorm lounge [at Decorah's Luther College, which rents out rooms for the weekend], I talked with Ann Denhoun of Fort Calhoun, Neb., who comes to Nordic Fest every year with her husband.

"The first year, we were so overwhelmed by all the stimuli,'' she said. "We went home, and it took us weeks to absorb everything we'd seen.''
This year's Nordic Fest is July 23-25.

Western Carolina Dulcimer Week

WCU Mountain Dulcimer Week

* * *
Post-Registration Information

Selected files for use after completion of Mountain Dulcimer Week registration:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Website for luthiers mostly about guitars but some basics for all stringed instruments. By Frank Ford, luthier and founder of Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alton, Calif.

Link here for the index page with many, many links on building, maintenance, including the pages on action, frets, strings and diagnosing string buzz I was looking for when I Googled into the website 

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

RE: Alan Lomax website, Sidney Bechet, DVDs for HUM 223

The website is called Cultural Equity and it contains links to a lot of Alan Lomax' work ... a welter of stuff ...

I surfed into it inadvertently, when I was Googling early jazz clarinet master Sidney Bechet and found what has to be the best online biography of the man. [See note on Bechet below.] But the website itself is something that merits further study. From the "about" page:

The Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), at the Fine Arts Campus of New York City's Hunter College, was chartered as a charitable organization in the State of New York in 1983. It was founded by Alan Lomax as a center for the exploration and preservation of the world's expressive traditions. 

ACE's mission is to facilitate cultural equity, the right of every culture to express and develop its distinctive heritage. Cultural equity is the end result of collecting, archiving, repatriating, and revitalizing the full range and diversity of the expressive traditions of the world's people — stories, music, dance, cooking, costume. Alan Lomax hoped that cultural equity would become one of the fundamental principles of human rights and made it the keystone of own career. He used an approach to research and public use he called cultural feedback, which is intended to provide equity for the people whose music and oral traditions were until recently unrecorded and unrecognized. ACE realizes its mission through a configuration of feedback projects that creatively use and expand upon Alan Lomax's collected works and research on music and other forms of expressive culture. These include:

  • The digitization of a vast majority of Alan Lomax's media and scholarly files in an evolving website which is open to the public.
  • The commercial distribution of sound and video recordings from Lomax's collections linked to the payment of royalties to the original performers or their descendants.
  • The repatriation of media collections to libraries situated in the areas where they were collected.
  • Making the research paradigms, findings, and data of Lomax's Performance Style & Culture research accessible to musicologists, movement specialists, and evolutionary anthropologists.

Also on the website links to recordings and videos, Including two DVDs from the American Patchwork series that would be perfect for the blues course in the fall:
  • The Land Where the Blues Began
    Produced in 1979 with the support of Mississippi Educational Television, Alan Lomax, John Bishop, & Worth Long explore the enduring African-American performance traditions of the Mississippi Delta. Featuring bluesmen R. L. Burnside and Jack Owens; tall-tale tellers, fife and drum bands, and diddley-bow players; and former prisoners, railroad workers, and roustabouts singing field hollers, work chants, and levee camp songs. This DVD is a 1990 re-edit of the original program for inclusion in the American Patchwork series. An expanded version of the original is being prepared for DVD. [$24.95]
  • Jazz Parades: Feet Don't Fail Me Now
    A celebration of New Orleans' musical culture — from its piano bars and barrelhouses to brass bands and street parades, with their colorful, riotous, and symbolic second lines, in which the community plays an essential part in the performance. Shot in the thick of funeral parades and nightclubs, with performances by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Danny Barker, Feet Don't Fail Me Now tells the story of New Orleans' utterly unique and valuable jazz heritage. [$24.95]
A note on how Bechet's name is pronounced (which I also surfed into), linked here so I don't forget it and/or lose it. From an aside in the [London] Independent, "... Louis Armstrong's great contemporary Sidney Bechet was pronounced in the French style by the Americans (As Sidney Beshay) but the French, wishing to say things in the American style, assumed that the Americans had got it wrong as usual and called him Sidney Beshette." Miles Kington, "The strange case of Dr Jeekyll and Mr Lewis, The Independent, Dec 28, 1994 If that's true, and I have no reason to doubt it, it is significant because Bechet spent so much of his career in France.

Grateful Dead, Barton Hall, Cornell U., Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University, May 8, 1977

Grateful Dead Live at Barton Hall, Cornell University on 1977-05-08 (May 8, 1977)

Set 1

New Minglewood Blues
El Paso
They Love Each Other
Jack Straw
Lazy Lightnin' ->
Brown Eyed Women
Mama Tried
Row Jimmy
Dancing In The Street

Set 2

Scarlet Begonias ->
Fire On The Mountain
Estimated Prophet
Saint Stephen ->
Not Fade Away ->
Saint Stephen ->
Morning Dew

One More Saturday Night

Review: The Dead in Chicago, May 4

Posted to Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot's blog today, a review of the Dead's concert Monday at Allstate Arena. The band, which got together for the first time in several years during last year's presidential campiagn, is touring this summer. Highlights from the review:
At its worst, the Dead can sound woozy and incoherent. And nobody self-indulges like this band. Its nightly 20-minute descent into “Drums and Space” is a tedious tradition that needs to die.

But at its best, the sextet presents an unconventional democracy, where there is no instrumental hierarchy. Drums and bass can float on top of the mix, guitars below, and then trade places. Often there is a sense of weightlessness about the songs, no ballast, the notes floating in free space. At other times, Phil Lesh’s six-string bass can drop A-bombs that shake sternums in the back rows.

As the parts interlocked and then came apart again, the band’s unique sonic architecture became a point of detailed fascination. At times drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart puttered around, barely audible. But then they played “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” with such exultant force that the song jumped.
And this, more focused on Monday's concert:
The night did not get off to a flying start. On the contrary, the band sounded like it was still waking up as it meandered through “China Cat Sunflower” and “Born Cross-Eyed.” But things perked up considerably when guitarist Warren Haynes salted “Built to Last” with soul inflections, abetted by sharp three-part harmonies.

The band was locked in after that, drawing heavily on rarities (“Pride of Cucamonga”) and covers (Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, the traditional “Peggy-O”) to create an adventuresome set high on energy and steeped in a sense of occasion.

There was Bob Weir’s robust take on “Wang Dang Doodle,” in tribute to Chicago blues giant Howlin’ Wolf. And there was an encore of “Box of Rain,” the same song with which the Dead closed its July 9, 1995, concert at Soldier Field, Garcia’s final performance.
Set list:
The Dead’s set list Monday at Allstate Arena

1. China Cat Sunflower
2. Born Cross-Eyed
3. Built to Last
4. Pride of Cucamonga
5. I Need a Miracle
6. Wang Dang Doodle (Howlin’ Wolf)
7. West L.A. Fadeaway
8. Liberty
9. All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)

Second set
10. Mexicali Blues
11. Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)
12. Pretty Peggy-O (traditional)
13. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan)
14. Drums/Space
15. Iko Iko (New Orleans traditional)
16. Standing on the Moon
17. Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad (traditional)

18. Imagine (John Lennon)
19. Box of Rain

Friday, May 01, 2009

HUM 221: Last day of class, summing up

If you had to sum up HUM 221 in 25 words or less (and you do, because I'm assigning it now), what would you say? In other words, what’s the one most important thing you learned. Post your answer as a comment to this blog post.