Monday, February 28, 2011

TOC - 'Music, culture and society in Europe' ed. Paul Rutten Music, culture and society in Europe
Part II of: European Music Office, Music in Europe. Brussels, 1996. Edited by Paul Rutten


1 Global sounds and local brews. Musical developments and music industry in Europe — Paul Rutten
2 Popular music and processes of social transformation. The case of rock music in former East Germany — Peter Wicke
3 Music and identity among European youth. Music as communication — Keith Roe
4 Popular music policy and the articulation of regional identities. The case of Scotland and Ireland — Simon Frith
5 Latin lovers: salsa musicians and their audience in London. A small dance boom, or in defence of the trivial — Vincenzo Perna
6 Music industry and music lovers, beyond Benjamin. The return of the amateur — Antoine Hennion
7 La Friche Belle de Mai. A centre for cultural and artistic activities in Marseille — Myriam Tekaïa
8 Hip Hop and Rap in Europe. The culture of the urban ghetto's — Marie-Agnès Beau
9 The charm of activity as the essence of musical expression. An interview with Henk Hofstede — Paul Rutten
10 The non-profit music organization in partnership with the commercial field. The Finnish Music Information Centre (MIC) — Jari Muikku
11 The traditional musics in Europe. The modernity of traditional music — Jany Rouger and Jean-François Dutertre


1999 © Soundscapes

cf. Local Music and the International Marketplace*


Paul Rutten (Catholic University, Nijmegen)

This article is mainly concerned with discussing the position of local popular music within national and international markets, taking the Dutch situation as a starting point. »Position« refers here to the economic viability of local music in the context of structures for the production and distribution of music operating on the national and international levels. The use of the concept 'local popular music' presupposes a specific relationship between a certain spatial context described as local and a certain kind of popular music. The relationship between the local and the music is very often conceived of in terms of notions of the indigenous, such that local music is seen as a static cultural-musical form said to be historically rooted in a specific local context. This prescriptive definition robs popular music of two of its main characteristics: its dynamism and its intertextuality. The concept of a local, popular music used here refers to a dynamic cultural practice through which people living in a specific spatial context engage in the production and reproduction of popular music. This cultural practice encompasses musical composition, the playing of music and its live performance on stage, and getting music recorded on phonograms, played over the radio, and, finally, into shops. Conceiving of the politics of local, popular music in this way links it to issues having to do with mass communication, culture and democracy, and away from the politics of a narrow-minded cultural nationalism.

Soundscapes: Articles on modal harmony in European rock music Colophon
No mission statement? Soundscapes is an online journal on the history and social significance of media culture. That's all. No, this journal has no mission statement, nor does it have a corporate identity. It is non-profit and educational. In short, it's just an academic journal that likes to talk back to the load of fleeting media messages that are overflowing all of us on a daily base. What are these things doing to us and what are we doing with them ourselves? It is this question that, one way or another, all of our essays try to address by informing their readers about radio programs, television series, popular music, styles of presentation and representation, and all that's related to the sounds and images of media culture. If you also like to talk back to the media with comments or contributions of your own, please mail them to the editors. Author Index

Beatles Studies —
Comics and Cartoons —
History of Radio and Television —
Local and Global Radio —
Offshore Radio Stations —
Popular Music Studies —
Rock Song Anatomy —
Studies in Photography —
Theory and Methodology — Theory and methodology Collected essays on theory and methodology in media studies
Editor: Henk Kleijer

Volume 12 / 2009-2010 Liverpool's black community and the Beatles (january 2010). James McGrath recently submitted his PhD research on the work of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. In October last year he spoke on Upfront, a programme aired by BBC Radio Merseyside, about his findings on the Beatles' various and often overlooked links with Liverpool's black community in the years from 1958 to 1962. For our journal the editors repeated the event, asking him the same questions while waiting for some more extended answers.

Volume 9 / 2006-2007 Locked into the Hotel California (october 2006). The Eagles' song "Hotel California" is built upon seven simple chords. The way in which these chords combine, though, is rather complex. Interpreting the music of this song seems as difficult as decoding its lyrics. Ger Tillekens here analyses the basic chord pattern as an expanded Spanish progression that gives the song its Spanish feel and acts as to keep it locked into the moment.

A flood of flat-sevenths (june 2006). According to many pop-musicologists the flat-seventh chord, or subtonic, can be regarded as one of the marks of the Beatles' experimental period. On the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver this chord is paired to a lavish use of quartal harmonies. Is this peculiar chord responsible for the album's atmosphere? Answering this question, Ger Tillekens here takes a closer look at the flat-seventh.

Volume 8 / 2005-2006 The four dimensions of popular music (july 2005). Over the past year Ger Tillekens and Juul Mulder have tried to get a grasp on the shifting music prefences of secondary and primary school pupils. In the summer of 2005, they presented a paper on this subject on the 13th biennial conference "Making Music, Making Meaning" of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) in Rome. The paper shows the results of their analyses of some large datasets covering the 1980s and 1990s up to 2001.

Volume 5 / 2002-2003 Marks of the Dorian family (november 2002). "Drunken Sailor" and "Scarborough Fair": both songs have the feel of shifting between two keys. Introducing the concept of the Dorian twin tone system, Ger Tillekens here discusses the family traits of these traditionals.

Volume 4 / 2001-2002 One continent under a groove (november 2001). The outer-national identifications and trans-local collectivities of dance culture force us to rethink the theoretical concepts and approaches of cultural studies. But, how? Exploring this question, Ben Carrington and Brian Wilson here take us on a short trip from Chicago to Birmingham and beyond, trying to reformulate the problematic of the "local" and the "global".

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Songs of the Wilderness Road - Dorian - New Salem, March 5

This month we'll meet from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 5. We'll be in the Visitors Center at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site. Last month we chose three songs from Ralph Lee Smith's "Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road" to work on -- "Shady Grove," "Old Man at the Mill" and "Three Babes" (also known as the "Wife of Usher's Well" or "Lady Gay," and sometimes as Child 79, since it's No. 79 in Francis James Child's collection of English and Scottish ballads). All three are in the Dorian mode.

If you've been playing everything in DAD, it may take you a little while to get used to the Dorian mode.

Here's what the Dorian sounds like ...

To hear it, play the video below. It's by Thomas Marchevsky, a professional guitarist/composer who has an M.M. in guitar from the New England Conservatory in Boston. Don't worry too much about the music theory, and not at all about the guitar fingerings! Just listen for what the notes of the scale sound like together -- the intervals, in other words.

To play in the Dorian mode on the dulcimer, tune your melody string(s) down to G. If you've been in DAA -- the recommended Ionian (or major) tuning -- you lower them one step to G, so you're tuned to DAG. (If you've been in DAD, you're on your own, but you want to wind up in DAG.) This means D will be at the 4th fret, and the D Dorian scale starts on the 4th fret and goes up skipping the 6+ fret to the 11th. Play up and down the scale a few times, then just sort of noodle around. Learn the combinations of notes, the intervals, and how they fit together differently than they do in a Ionian mode. And where they are on the fretboard. But don't play the 6+ fret ... it'll mess you up!

Keep noodling around. Spend some time learning the fretboard ... where the notes are and how they sound together. See if you can find some tunes you already know. Try "Scarborough Fair" or "Wayfaring Stranger."

If you like music theory (and who doesn't?!), you might want to take a look at an article titled "Marks of the Dorian Family" by Dutch academic Ger Tillekens on "What Will We Do with a Drunken Sailor?" and "Scarborough Fair." Or you might decide music theory gives you heartburn and skip it.

Either way, you'll be ready to look at our songs for Saturday.


Rainbow Quest: Jean Ritchie - Shady Grove
Here's another clip of Jean Ritchie playing this old fiddle tune. From Pete Seeger's TV show in the 60s [?]. Compare her clip from the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Ky., in 2007 that I posted for last month's workshop on playing with a noter In the old TV show, she uses a turkey quill. (She explains how to whittle down a turkey quill to make a pick in "The Dulcimer Book." But be forewarned: Feathers will tear the living @#$%! out of the finish on your dulcimer.) Here's the clip:

A couple, three other versions, one to show another way of playing the song on a dulcimer, and two that show what performers like Doc Watson, "Dawg" Grisman and Jerry Garcia do with "Shady Grove":

Shady Grove on dulcimer MDMstudio
A decidedly nontraditional version. In DAD capoed on the first fret, which gives it that minor sound on the drone strings.

Doc Watson and David Grisman - Shady Grove
Doc & The Dawg -- 1998. Jack Lawrence rhythm guitar.

Garcia and Grisman - SHADY GROVE -5-11-1992


Ralph Lee Smith says this old ballad was very popular in the southern Appalachians; it definitely would have been known to folks at New Salem in the 1830s. The version we have is called "Child A," from its designation in Francis James Child's collection of ballads. Child, in turn, got it from a collection by Sir Walter Scott. Says Smith, "Since the two centuries or more since Child A was taken down from eighteenth century oral tradition, this story of the rich, beautiful wife reduced to ashes by the loss of her children has lost none of its universality and power. It is "the King Lear of ballads." Definitely worth learning.

The Wife of Usher's Well - Hedy West (Child 79)
Hedy West - Old Times and Hard Times - Child Ballad No 79. This is a very traditional southern Appalachian version of the song.

The Lady Gay on the 1910 Lyon & Healy
Clawhammer banjo. An amateur musician plays it on an antique instrument. He says he got the melody from Kentucky folk artist Buell Kazee's recordings, and Ralph Lee got the last verse, and the basic melody, from Buell Kazee as well.

Joan Baez: Lady Gay
From an early LP ... included here because Joan Baez' version is probably the first one most of us ever heard.


A "play party" song ... which means a fiddle tune that morphed into a children's song. Sort of. Since the church frowned on fiddle playing and dancing, young people would gather for events a which they did something that might have looked like square dancing. But it wasn't. No, it really wasn't. It really really wasn't. And since fiddles were frowned on, they'd sing the tunes a cappella. They didn't call it that, they just sang. Unaccompanied, of course. At least, that's what I have been solemnly informed. Why get technical about a good story? Or what you call a good tune? Notice the square dance calls in the lyrics.

Old Man at the Mill by Molly Tuttle
"Clawhammer" guitar ... a 17-year-old w/ an awesome voice who credits bluegrass artist and traditional Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens as her "singing hero."

The Dillards - Old man at the Mill
The original Dillards, live at the Tonder Festival in Denmark in 1999. Probably the last time they came to Europe to play.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Misc. notes on creolization ... 'tricksters in the borderlands'

Tricksters thrive in the borderlands.
-- Ulf Hannerz, ”Fluxos, fronteiras, híbridos: palavras-chave da antropologia transnacional” 1997).

Paul Rutten. "Global sounds and local brews: Musical developments and music industry in Europe." Soundscapes - journal on media culture July 1999.


This essay touches on the role of today's music in societies and cultures in
Europe. It deals with the question of the development of the popular music
contemporary Europe and tries to step over the simplifying notion of
"Americanization" by introducing the concept of "creolization" in
discussions on
musical developments.

* * *
The Swedish
anthropologist Ulf Hannerz (1992) has introduced a concept which is very helpful
in understanding the
processes described above: creolization. It is helpful
in understanding the
interaction of music cultures within the European
context as well as elsewhere.
The concept is developed in linguistics and
anthropology. A creole culture is a
culture which developed out of an
interaction process of two or more different
cultures in such a way that the
new culture better serves as meaning system to
sustain communal life in the
context in which it developed, then the cultures
from which it has been
constructed. Creolization points to the processes that
underlie the
development of a creole culture.

Bio of Rutten (?) at webpage for 8th International Nonfiction Conference in Amsterdam:
Paul Rutten has worked as a part-time professor at Leiden University, heading the MA programme Book and Digital Media Studies. He specializes in the consequences of digitization for media and publishing, concentrating among other things on the book publishing industry and scholarly communication. Part of his research, on behalf of OAPEN, a project funded by the EU Content Plus programme, focuses on the future of monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences. Since 2010 he has been visiting professor in Creative Industries and Innovation at Antwerp University. For the past three years he has also operated as an independent researcher, working for private and public clients on issues such as digitization, cross media and creative industries. Before joining Leiden University he was visiting professor in Cultural Industries at Erasmus University, senior researcher and consultant at TNO and professor in Media and Entertainment Industries at INHOLLAND University for Professional Education in Haarlem.
futures - killarney - creolization - 17de mai? -

Journal of American Folklore
Volume 116, Number 459, Winter 2003
Special Issue: Creolization
Special Editors: Robert Baron and Ana C. Cara
This issue of the Journal of American Folkore is dedicated to the memory of Daniel J. Crowley (1921-1998).

Jim Leseman "The Creolization of Migrant Music "
Published 30 October 2009. PDF at ... Exceprt

By the on-going blending of cultural knowledge, new products emerge, originally derived from two or more cultures. This on-going process is called ‘hybridization’ or ‘creolization’ (Hannerz, 1992, p. 239–246). A well-known example of cuisine creolization is apparent in our own country. Most Dutch citizens know the dish that comprises of macaroni pasta, tiny cubes of ham, grated cheese and a large quantity of tomato sauce, or, even worse, tomato ketchup. A foreigner wouldn’t call this dish Dutch, since the lack of potatoes, vegetables and meat, neatly separated from each other. An Italian wouldn’t call it Italian too, because of the large amount of sauce and, moreover, they never use macaroni as a type of pasta for supper1. Now, the question emerges whether this form of creolization is also applicable to the domain of music, and how this hybridization evolves.

3. The creolization of music

When applying the above theorem of cultural creolization to the domain of music, we have to take in account that one can call almost all music from the past a form of creolization. For instance, pop music is evolved from a large number of different styles throughout the years—blues, bluegrass, country, jazz and skiffle, early rock and roll, and we can go on for a while. So, although this is a form of creolization, it is also to a very high degree popularized and Westernized, leading to a uniform product that is more or less everywhere. The same could be said about world music: this terrain of music is almost as big as popular music. Therefore, in this paper, I’m looking at two genres that are more easily distinguishable, namely reggae and bhangra music. Furthermore, these creolizations of music also play an important role in the identity of migrants. Mainstream popular music clearly has not much involvement with voyagers, migrants and their identity. ...

Leseman studied sociology, is now Project Manager and Coordinator [of] Data Collection at Gfk Daphne.

Richard Cullen Rath "Drums and Power: Ways of Creolizing Music in Coastal South Carolina and Georgia." Forthcoming in a book by Texas A&M Press.

Excerpt from intro and thesis statement: "This essay ... explicates a theoretical base for the process of cultural creolization, drawing on the link between language and culture. It then examines how Africans and their descendants in the South Carolina-Georgia low country took advantage of musical creolization in their struggles for self-directed rather than other-directed lives during the eighteenth century." Excerpts:

How does creolization work? It is a way of forming a "native" identity in a situation where there is no natal society. The process takes place in the descendants of forcibly displaced immigrant populations when the immigrants were drawn from more than one source. First-generation immigrants, the ones forcibly displaced, undergo pidginization, a more tenuous and provisional process of negotiating linguistic and cultural practices in the face of multiple native identities. Children are often born into these groups, in a situation where there is no consensual identity. These children take an unstable polyglot cultural inheritance and create stable creole identities from it. If and when natural increase overtakes forced immigration as the chief means of sustaining the population, then the process of creolization affects the whole society, changing it from a heterogenous group to a creole culture. Creole languages and cultures are most often associated with a legacy of slavery, which produced the harsh and disruptive conditions necessary for their formation.

To be useful as a concept, creolization needs to be distinguished from other ways of mixing, creating, and maintaining cultural identities. In addition to distinguishing pidginization from creolization, the demographics of forced labor, mixed origin, displacement, natural increase, racism, and inequality also serve to distinguish creolization from other related forms of cultural fashioning like syncretism, hybridity, transfer, borrowing, retention, or translation. Ignoring the special circumstances of creolization renders it analytically redundant as a term.
aLSO available in Assata Shakur Forum website. Shakur is a former Black Panther activist now in exile in Cuba, perhaps best known as Tupac Shakur's stepfather's sister.

Erna Brodber, "Where Are All the Others?" in Caribbean creolization: reflections on the cultural dynamics of language ed. Kathleen M. Balutansky Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998) ... in Google Books. "... reflections on this process trace the evolution of a dynamic regional literature and identity out of materials displaced amid the movement of colonial empires and nationalistic and economic upheavals." She talks about Irish and African influences in Barbados, as reflected in her family, career and observations in U.S. [need to get on interlibrary loan]

Robin Cohen. "Creolization and Cultural Globalization: The Soft Sounds of Fugitive Power" 25-page paper under copyright (2007 and not updated). Links to the Creole Social and Cultural Studies creolization website at the University of Warwick, where Cohen taught before moving to Oxford.

... Robin Cohen and [postdoctoral fellow] Paola Toninato will investigate the
social scientific value of the concepts of creolization (and similar concepts
like hybridity, métissage and syncretism) in Brazil, the South Atlantic/Indian
oceans, the Caribbean, West Africa (notably Cape Verde), the USA and the UK. The
research will be multi-disciplinary – particularly using sociology and social
history as core disciplines, with social anthropology, linguistics and area
studies providing necessary insights. Portuguese, Dutch/Afrikaans, French,
Spanish, English and Creole sources will be used. This research programme will
be the first major comparative study of creolization and mixed identity.

This website will keep track of the programme as it develops. It also
serves as a point of reference for all those engaged in Creole Studies,
particularly (but not exclusively) those working on contemporary cultural,
sociological and anthropological aspects of creolization. Under Creole Popular
Culture you will find material on languages, festivals, food, music &
dancing and religion. Under Creolization Concepts you will find pages, some
still under construction, listing the key theoretical ideas on creolization and
related concepts. In our Bibliography a general bibliography of recent items on
creolization will be provided. This section also contains some featured book
reviews. Finally, the section on Key Figures will provide short biographies of
the major writers, historical figures, artists, musicians and academics in the
field of Creole Studies.

Linked to the website is a 28-minute sound file of Robin Cohen’s interview on Creolization for BBC Radio 4.

Ulf Hannerz. Bio of Hannerz at on Stockholm university website.

FLOWS, BOUNDARIES AND HYBRIDS: KEYWORDS IN TRANSNATIONAL ANTHROPOLOGY. Published in Portuguese as ”Fluxos, fronteiras, híbridos: palavras-chave da antropologia transnacional”, Mana (Rio de Janeiro), 3(1): 7-39, 1997. Accessed today at ...

... a concluding comment. I began with three keywords of an emergent
transnational anthropology, but I have ended up touching on rather more of them, out of the
present and the past: acculturation, the frontier, the marginal man, diffusion... This is a
vocabulary which spans the twentieth century and even a little more, and which also connects
continents. At the same time, however, it brings globalization down to earth, and can help
show its human face. It suggests that the world is not necessarily becoming all the same. There
is struggle but also play. Tricksters thrive in the borderlands. ...
I especially like that last sentence.

Cf. créolité and créolisation Édouard Glissant Wikipedia Édouard Glissant (September 21, 1928 – February 3, 2011)[1] was a French writer, poet and literary critic. He is widely recognised as one of the most influential figures in Caribbean thought and cultural commentary. "He is notable for his attempt to trace parallels between the history and culture of the Creole Caribbean and those of Latin America and the plantation culture of the American south, most obviously in his study of William Faulkner. Generally speaking, his thinking seeks to interrogate notions of centre, origin and linearity, embodied in his distinction between atavistic and composite cultures, which has influenced subsequent Martinican writers' trumpeting of hybridity as the bedrock of Caribbean identity and their "creolised" approach to textuality. As such he is both a key (though underrated) figure in postcolonial literature and criticism ..."

Little magazines and an ISU website for the "independent literary community"

Publisher's blurb:
Browse the literary magazines listed in NewPages to find short stories and longer fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, essays, literary criticism, book reviews, author interviews, art and photography. The magazine editor's description for each sponsored literary magazine gives you an overview of editorial styles—what writers they have published and what they are looking for (with contact information, subscription rates, submission guidelines, and more).

(Check out Big Muddy, at Southeast Missouri State.)

Also this directory of Illinois journals, on, a website published by Illinois State:

Litline bills itself as a "website for the Independent Literary Community" ... [from blurb]: contains "regularly updated set of links to all things literary on the web. Find hundreds of presses, journals, organizations, online journals and other recommended sites here." ... also has a kind of prospectus that makes a case for the arts ... excerpts:
The Independent Literary Community consists of noncommercial literary presses and magazines, literary centers, writers conferences and festivals, writers who publish with noncommercial literary presses and magazines, service organizations which support the community, and independent bookstores which are the chief purveyors of noncommercial press books. ...

* * *

Most art lovers know that art museums, symphony orchestras, ballet companies, and many theaters cannot sustain themselves by ticket sales alone. Art lovers understand that the fate of a symphony orchestra, for example, should not be determined by the marketplace, that we should not be denied Bach because U2 can fill up an orchestra hall and make money while Bach is forever a drain on public and private funds. Art lovers recognize that if we want an active, vital theater in this country, we must recognize the difference between a Broadway production of Cats and a nonprofit regional theaterÉs production of Chekhov or Beckett or even Sam Shephard (whose plays are almost never produced on Broadway). One is intended to make money, the other is intended to provide a cultural benefit.

Quality literature is now at that point where it must be sustained by subsidy or it will become less and less available to present and future generations. Art lovers should understand that a collection of poems or a literary translation or an innovative novel is as different from a Hollywood biography or a new diet book or a best-selling novel as Bach is from U2. More generally, art lovers should recognize the difference between a commercial publisher driven by the market and a nonprofit publisher existing to serve a cultural function. While the first is self-supporting and may make large amounts of money, the second is devoted to literary art and requires subsidy to stay in business just like the art museum or the symphony orchestra or the ballet company or serious theater.

As a national center for the literary arts, the Unit for Contemporary Literature at Illinois State University is committed to the advancement of the independent literary community and to the writers, presses, magazines, bookstores, and literary arts organizations that comprise that community. We urge art lovers everywhere to support the best in modern and contemporary literature by doing business with independent literary presses and magazines, literary centers, and bookstores and by giving what you can to make their efforts a success. The health--indeed, the survival--of serious literature in America depends upon it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lady Gay - lyrics - from (link below)

Unknown - LADY GAY lyrics

There was a lady and a lady gay,
Of children she had three,
She sent them away to the North Countree
To learn their grammaree

They'd not been gone but a very short time,
Scarcely three weeks and a day,
When death, cruel death, came hasting along
And stole those babes away.

"There is a King in Heaven," she cried
"A King of third degree
Send back, send back my three little pages,
This night send them back to me."

She made a bed in the uppermost room,
On it she put a white sheet,
And over the top a golden spread
That they much better might sleep.

"Take it off, take it off," cried the older one,
"Take it off, take it off," cried he,
"For what's to become of this wide wicked world
Since sin has first begun."

She set a table of linen fine,
On it she placed bread and wine,
"Come eat, come drink of mine."

"We want none of your bread, mother,
Neither do we want your wine,
For yonder stands our Savior deer,
To Him we must resign."

"Green grass is over our heads, mother,
Cold clay is over our feet,
And every tear you shed for us,
It wets our winding-sheet."

This is one of the best of the American versions of "The Wife of
Usher's Well," a remarkable ballad on the theme of persistent
grief and tears disturbing the sleep of the dead. The children
have been sent away to learn magic (grammaree), a point rarely
recognized by the folk who sing the ballad. The children's death
and their mother's prayer for their return culminates in their
ghostly visit to warn her of the effect of her mourning. In most
American versions of the Child ballads, supernatural motifs
disappear, except where, as in the case of "Lady Gay," there are
religious overtones to the ballad tale. From "British Ballads
and Folk Songs from the Joan Baez Songbook."
Child #79
@ballad @magic @death @religion
recorded by John And Tony Dark Ships
Deller consort, and Hedy West
filename[ LADYGAY

Lyricsaholic | Unknown - LADY GAY lyrics

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Bag Of Cats" - Sharon Shannon

Sharon and the band went to Dolans Warehouse in Limerick and, over two nights in July, recorded material for a double live cd and a dvd. As well as the band (the cream of Irish musicians) supplemented by banjo virtuosos Gerry O'Connor and Mary Shannon and Solas's Winnie Horan...Sharon invited along a whole cast of guests, composed of established Irish talent as well as showcasing new talent. Included on this incredible guest list are Damien Dempsey, Declan O'Rourke, Dessie O'Halloran, Jon Kenny, Mundy and Roesy....and introducing Jack Maher and The Brennan Sisters. The band are Robbie Casserly, Paul Moore, James Delaney, Jim Murray, Jack Maher, Richie Buckley. This incredible show which runs for over two hours not only reinforces Sharon talent as a top Irish star but also showcases her ability as a producer and arranger. Bonus features include SHARON SHANNON INTERVIEW, SPECIAL FOOTAGE OF SOUNDCHECK, GUEST INTERVIEWS, FAN INTERVIEWS.

"The Bag of of Cats" is on The Complete Sharon Shannon a 2-CD set for $17.95 ...

The Session has a list of reels in the set at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Morning Trumpet Voices of McMahan ----Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention (Cooper Book) recorded live in McMahan, Texas

Sacred Harp Singing - The Morning Trumpet conductorjesh
I got to lead a song at a recent shaped-note singing convention in Seattle.

The Morning Trumpet ttucelticensemble
TTU Celtic Ensemble (, Fall 2009, concert program "Across the Western Sea: Music of Anglo-Appalachia", singing "The Morning Trumpet", from the Watersons and the Sacred Harp. Trombone on bass line.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mícheál Ó Domhnaill memorial concert in Dublin, 2007

Bothy Band 07- Do you love an apple
Do you love an apple? sung by Triona Ni Dhomhnaill at a gig (Vicars St) played in memory of Micheal O Domhnaill. Original Bothy Band line up + empty chair for Micheal

sendshaneanemail's Channel has several clips from this concert ... including Omás-Mo Ghile Mear - Jimmy Crowley and friends (Moya Brennan, Mary Black, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celtic fingerstyle, DADGAD tutorials on YouTube

Celtic Fingerstyle

MICHAEL'S FOLK CHANNEL ... a German folksinger ... has several tutorials on DADGAD ...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Edwards Trace - articles in Chicago Reader and Illinois Times

Harold Henderson, “Trace Evidence,” Chicago Reader June 5, 2003

Robert Mazrim is haunted by a highway that no longer exists. Tantalizing bits of evidence that it served travelers for thousands of years keep disrupting his regular work as a historical archaeologist. Even the interstates he drives between Saint Louis and Peoria appear to follow the same ghostly corridor, a mile or two wide, through which the old road ran.

"This found me," he says, sounding a bit like a dog with a burr in its paw. "I have no agenda here. I've got plenty else to do." He's director of the Sangamo Archaeological Center and a historical archaeology consultant for the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program at the University of Illinois. "I'm not really interested in studying old roads or putting up a sign saying '3,000-year-old rut.'"

Hardly anything is left of this road, trail, trace, or path. Never paved, it vanished wherever farmers plowed the prairie. The three fragments that appear to have survived did so because they're in areas that were never plowed. One fragment is southeast of Springfield; two are on private property on Elkhart Hill next to the tiny town of Elkhart, Illinois. What remains isn't even a rut. It's just a strip of flat ground roughly a yard wide that's a foot or so lower than the adjacent land, tramped down and eroded over the centuries. Even this much is hard to spot once the weeds grow up in midsummer.

But the trail won't go away. About 15 years ago Mazrim began studying how European-Americans settled the Springfield area in the 1810s and '20s. He found that they frequently used this trail. Over time he managed to uncover documents showing that it had been used by French settlers and missionaries as early as 1711. When he mentioned it to friends who work in prehistoric archaeology, they added to the shadowy story by telling him about prehistoric sites in the corridor that had always puzzled them.

* * *

William Furry, "Barely a Trace" Illinois Times Oct. 4, 2001. Rpt. Sangamon County Historical Society

Friday, February 11, 2011

Legend of Knockgrafton / "Monday, Tuesday" (Dia Luain, Dia Mairt)'Hara/Dia-Luain-Dia-Mairt-Lyrics.html translation of Mary O'Hara's song "Legend of Knockgrafton" based on W.B. Yeats' version Songs of Faery

From: Philippa
Date: 29 May 99 - 09:19 AM
Many versions of the story have been collected in Ireland and in Scotland, and often the story teller sings a chorus (Dia Luain, Dia Mairt...)(Monday, Tuesday: Dia Luain is the same as Dé Luain, etc). I have no idea how old the song is, but suspect that it is relatively recent and based on the older story.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Songs of the Wilderness Road - New Salem - schedule for March and April

The following message was emailed today to the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings electronic mailing list (preceded by one that left off the message line). In posting it to the blog, I have made a couple of revisions, indicated below, to get rid of things I said that were (1) ambiguous; and/or (2) kind of dumb:

Subject: Oops! New Salem dulcimer workshops

Let's try that again, and put in a message line so you'll know it's not spam! - pe

Hi everybody -

At today's workshop on 1830s-appropriate music in D modal tunings at New Salem, we decided to have two more sessions and took requests. So I checked with the site administration, and looked back through Ralph Lee Smith and Madeline MacNeil's "Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road." We had to move the sessions back a little, since there are other events going on in February.

Here's the schedule for the rest of the workshops:

-- Saturday, March 5. Dorian mode (tune your dulcimer to DAG). Let's learn "Shady Grove"; "The Three Babes" [also known as the Wife of Usher's Well]; and "Old Man at the Mill."

-- Saturday, April 2. Mixed modes (tune back to DAA for all three). "I Gave My Love a Cherry" and "The Storms Are On the Ocean" (both Ionian); and "Sheep Shell Corn" (Mixolydian).

How to tune for the modes:

Jerry Rockwell, a nationally recognized luthier from Ohio who has written on music theory for the dulcimer, a good tip sheet called TUNING YOUR MOUNTAIN DULCIMER at ...

It'll show you how to tune into DAG for next month's Dorian songs. The key main point is: If you tune the melody string(s) down from A to G and play a scale that goes from the 4th fret to the 11th, you'll be in the D Dorian mode.

Jean Ritchie's "Dulcimer Book" also has a good explanation of the D modal tunings. It was written in 1963, when people still played in C. So you tune to CGF, start on the 4th fret and play to the 11th, which gives you a C Dorian scale. The modes or scales are the same, no matter what key you're in. (Good thing to know, by the way: I play a lot in C because D is too high for my voice. Other folks, with a different range, like to play in E.) There's a lot of stuff about the modes on the Internet, but not all of it is helpful. And some of it just flat wrong. Jerry Rockwell and Jean Ritchie won't lead you astray.

Rockwell adds: "When your dulcimer is in one of these traditional tunings, only the melody string plays the mode, and you must skip the 6+ fret if it is present. Middle and bass strings are relegated to dronal accompaniment. Modes form the basic fabric of dulcimer music and of American-Anglo-Celtic folk music traditions in general."

But playing in the old modal tunings is a powerful alternative to DAD. Try finger-picking in Dorian. Listen to Jean Ritchie singing the "Cuckoo" on YouTube, and you'll get the idea. (Ralph Lee has a slightly different version on pp. 60-63). Then try finger-picking yourself. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be blown away by how pretty it sounds!

Hope to see you there. I'll mail around reminders for our regular "third Thursday" session Feb. 17 and Prairieland Dulcimer Strings meetings in March, too.

- Pete

In connection with my workshops "Songs of the Wilderness Road in D Modal Tunings" at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, Route 1, Petersburg, I have been posting blog items elaborating on points in the book we're using, Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road by Ralph Lee Smith and Madeline MacNeil, and embedding video clips of songs and playing techniques. Older posts in connection with the Feb. 5 session are:

Thursday, February 03, 2011

"I'll Hear the Trumpet Sound" (African American spiritual)

I'll Hear the Trumpet Sound "I'll Hear the Trumpet Sound" by Vijay Singh
Symphonic Choir, Cascade High School, Everett, Washington
Laurie Cappello, Director
Concert held in the Everett Civic Auditorium December 8, 2010

In thread 52566, an article on the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the "American Heritage" magazine, 2000, parts quoted by Wilco48 in thread 52566: Fisk Singers , says George L. White, Civil War veteran, song collector and first director of the Fisk Singers, collected "I'll Hear the Trumpet Souns" from Jennie Jackson, a former slave. Cf. George Pullen Jackson, White Spirituals in the Southern Uplands pp. 254-55, quoting John Work.


Encyclopedia of community: from the village to the virtual world, Volume 3 By Karen Christensen, David Levinson xxxvi-xxxix has discussion of bounded community ...

Historical marker: Abraham Lincoln and the Talisman

County: Sangamon
Location: The marker is located at the rest area on I-55, northbound lanes, northeast of Springfield. It is just south of the bridge over the Sangamon River.

Prior to the coming of the railroads, Springfield was handicapped by inadequate transportation facilities. Early in 1832, Vincent A. Bogue, Springfield businessman and promoter, planned to supply the Sangamon River region with steamboat service. He chartered the Talisman, a 150-ton upper cabin steamer 136 feet long with a 48 foot beam, and obtained cargo in Cincinnati. On February 5 the journey began down the Ohio River, up the Mississippi to St. Louis, on to the Illinois, up to Beardstown, and via the Sangamon to the Springfield area. Springfield citizen's were enthusiastic and had raised funds to aid the project. At New Salem, Abraham Lincoln and others joined the axmen who were to clear the Sangamon of obstructions. The Talisman arrived at Beardstown March 9 and, after a 4-day delay due to ice, began the 100-mile trip up the Sangamon. When they arrived at Portland Landing, three fourths of a mile east of here, on March 24 crowds greeted them and continued the celebration in Springfield for several days. Rowan Herndon was hired as pilot and Lincoln as assistant pilot for the return trip to Beardstown. Since the Sangamon was falling rapidly, the steamboat had to be backed partway downstream and at New Salem a section of the dam was removed to float the boat across. When the boat reached Beardstown, Lincoln received $40 dollars for his services from March13 to April 6 and walked back to New Salem. The Talisman venture was financially unsuccessful and hopes for a river port near Springfield were eventually abandoned.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"The Fairy (Thorn) Tree" - Mary O'Hara / John McCormack

Mary O'Hara on harp ... an Irish art song called "The Fairy Tree" ... lyrics by Isabel Leslie, pen namme Temple Lane, who lived in Clogheen in Co. Tipperary in the early 1900s ... music written for John McCormack in 1930 by Vincent O'Brien, a choir director at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin.

Audio of John McCormack from the album Closing on the Rhapsody website. has the album available as an mp3 download.

Mary O'Hara has music - for harp and voice - in Vol. 2 of Travels With My Harp" series of transcriptions. Available on her website.

Mudcat Cafe has the usual authoritative thread at with complete lyrics:
Subject: RE: The Fairy (Thorn) Tree
From: Alice
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 12:31 PM

Isabel Leslie, alias Temple Lane, Clogheen, Ireland

All night around the thorn tree,
The little people play,
And men and women passing
Will turn their heads away.
From break of dawn til moonrise,
Alone it stands on high,
With twisted springs for branches,
Across the winter sky.

They'll tell you dead men hung there,
Its black and bitter fruit,
To guard the buried treasure
Round which it twines its root.
They'll tell you Cromwell hung them,
But that could never be,
He'd be in dread like others
To touch the Fairy Tree.

But Katie Ryan who saw there
In some sweet dream she had,
The Blessed Son of Mary
And all His face was sad.
She dreamt she heard Him saying:
"Why should they be afraid?"
[O'Hara repeats "Why should they be afraid?"]
When from a branch of thorn tree
The crown I wore was made?

From moonrise round the thorn tree
The little people play
And men and women passing
Will turn their heads away.
But if your heart's a child's heart
And if your eyes are clean,
You'll never fear the thorn tree
That grows beyond Clogheen
There's also a page, with lyrics and local lore, put up by local authorities in Clogheen.

Lyrics on a CD by a Canadian singer named Calistia is Wiccan, leaves out the third and fourth verses on her website.

Songs of the Wilderness Road - New Salem, Feb 5 - Jean Ritchie and playing with a noter

If you want to learn to use a noter to play the dulcimer, a very good way to get started is to study Jean Ritchie's playing. See photo at left (credits and links in note No. 1 below). More than any other one person, she is responsible for the popularity of the dulcimer today, and she is arguably the finest traditional player alive.

Notice how Ritchie holds the noter in the photo, which is from her "Dulcimer Book" (1963). See how she places her thumb on top and uses her index finger to brace the noter? You can put your thumb on top, like she does, or you can rest your finger on top of the noter. It doesn't matter. But what does matter is that you hold it firmly (but not too firmly, close to the dulcimer, sort like you hold a pencil. You brace your index finger against the side of the fretboard as you move the noter up and down. (To play Virginia style, I just rotate my left hand so the index finger is on top and the thumb below; I use my thumb to brace against the side of the fretboard.) Once you get the hang of it, you'll find it's easier to just do than it is to describe what you're doing.

_____th of _____ blog posts for a workshop on major-scale (Ionian) tunes for my workshops "Songs of the Wilderness Road in D Modal Tunings" at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, Route 1, Petersburg. Older posts in connection with the Feb. 5 session are:

Originally from Viper, Ky., Ritchie moved to New York City in the 1940s to take a job as a social worker and began singing traditional Appalachian songs at the little clubs in Greenwich Village. (Another claim to fame - she and Doc Watson introduced an old Primitive Baptist song from the southern Appalachians to audiences in New York in the 1950s and 60s. The song was "Amazing Grace," Arlo Guthrie included it in "Alice's Restaurant" soundrack in 1969 and Judy Collins hit the charts with it in 1976. The rest was history, and it is now one of our most beloved hymns nationwide.) Ritchie also introduced the dulcimer to folk musicians including Ralph Lee Smith, Paul Clayton and Richard Farina in the Village. And the rest of that, too, is history.

Here's how she describes her playing style: "In your left hand is the noter, usually a finger-length of bamboo. ... Cradle the noter along the fingers and hold it so that the thumb may press from above, and the side of the finger may glide along the side of the fingerboard to keep the end of the noter from touching the middle string. That's because melody changes are all made on one string; the other two are always drones" (18). She’d slide the noter up and down the fretboard while strumming her thumb or a pick across all the strings, for “a constant harmonizing chord which gives the delightful and characteristic drone, or ‘bagpipes’ sound.”

In the YouTube clip below, Ritchie sings a modal song called "The Cuckoo" and accompanies herself on the dulcimer. Note especially the closeup of her hands at the beginning. I've quoted her elsewhere (see note No. 2 below) on how she harmonizes when she accompanies herself:

Ritchie gets a repeated musical phrase or ostinato ... from a finger-picking pattern by strumming the melody string and “rolling the thumb outward across the two drones, sounding them individually for two accompanying beats at the ends of lines, and such likely places” (24). While the old-timers often sounded the open melody string or the key note and drone strings throughout a song, or played in unison with the melody, Ritchie likes to play harmonies that complement her voice.
Her method is more difficult than backing a song with its chord progression. I can't get the hang of it myself. But it's much truer to the modal nature of traditional Appalachian songs. Listen for her harmonies, and watch her hands.

Jean Ritchie sings "The Cuckoo"
California State University Fresno, Folk Artist in Residence 1980, courtesy of Jean Ritchie, The Bluestein Family and the UNC, Chapel Hill Folk Archives. [YouTube bayface1]

We also have a clip of Jean Ritchie playing an old modal fiddle tune. (It's "Shady Grove," and it's in our book Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road ... we'll get to it. In addition to her technique, notice her pick. It's cut out of the top of a plastic tub. When I saw her play at the Swannanoa Gathering 10 years ago, she was using the top of a Philadelphia Cream Cheese tub. I have a lot of those home-made picks at home (I lose things, and they're easily replaced), but I also like to use a Dunlop .038 guitar pick on fiddle tunes. Herdims and other heavier picks aren't flexible enough. Jean Ritchie's home-made picks are.

Jean Ritchie at Appalachian Family Folk Week 2007
Singing "Shady Grove" during Family Folk Week, an annual event at the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Ky.: June 14, 2007. [YouTube sarapennington]

The next clip I've thrown in as an extra, in honor of today's blizzard (at the very least a blizzard of excited TV reporters talking about snow, snow, snow and salt trucks and such) and also just because it's a lovely song. It's called "Wintergrace" (one word), and Ritchie wrote it herself in honor of the solstice and the Christmas season. It's on her Christmas in Kentucky CD, if you can find it.

Jean Ritchie sings WINTERGRACE
Jean's song for the winter solistice with a setting in her Kentucky Mountain home. Cornshuck dolls made by the Ritchie sisters, carved animals from her cabin, and real snow from Heaven. Video montage by George Pickow. [YouTube georgepickow]

Lyrics at Mudcat Cafe. PLEASE NOTE: This song is under copyright. Beautiful poetry. Here's the chorus, with Jean Ritchie's suggestions on phrasing:

For the time...(tune pauses a bit here)
When the corn is all into the barn,
The old cow's breath's a frosty wine
And the morn along the fallow field
Doth silver shine.
[I've taken out her correction of a transcription in the Mudcat thread.]

1. Photo of Jean Ritchie above is from the cover art to her "Dulcimer Book" (1963). I got it on on Dave Tabler's post "Old time musician Jean Ritchie recently suffered a stroke, and is in the hospital" on his Appalachian History blog, where it illustrates a story on her philosophy of life, which is very much worth reading.

2. These excerpts from "The Dulcimer Book" are from my article "Drones, Picks and Popsicle Sticks" on the website. The article discusses several different traditional ways of playing the dulcimer before the folk revival, from the German composer Praetorius to Greenwich Village days.