Friday, April 29, 2011

Quakers in Virginia, misc. notes historical overview at
The year in which Lynch began operation of his ferry (1757) also saw the beginning of regular meetings of the South River Society of Friends (Quakers) in which John's mother Sarah played a key role. The third and last South River meeting house was built in 1798, and served the Quakers until 1839 when it was abandoned (most Quakers had left the area in the 1820's due to their opposition to slavery). The building soon fell into ruins (pictured to the right), but was restored in the early 1900's after the land was purchased by area Presbyterians ... THE FRIENDLY VIRGINIANS
AMERICA'S FIRST QUAKERS - THE FRIENDLY VIRGINIANS depicts vividly the rise and progress of Virginia's Quakers since 1655 — a golden thread shining in the warp and woof of America's history. Jay Worrall uses diaries and journals to portray the personal lives and thoughts of early Quakers. He places Virginia Quakers solidly in the mainstream of pivotal events forging American history, while focusing on the individual or the family in the context of developing Virginia society. - 1994. 632 pages. Cloth binding with dust jacket. 22 illustrations. Endpaper map. Complete index. (Frvg) cloth.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bert Williams, other 78s at Collected Works of Bert Williams
1 BertWilliams-AllGoingOutandNothingComingIn
2 BertWilliams-BorrowfromMe
3 BertWilliams-BringBackThoseWonderfulDays
4 BertWilliams-BrotherLowDown
5 BertWilliams-CheckersItsYourMoveNow
6 BertWilliams-Constantly
7 BertWilliams-ElderEatmoresSermononGenerosity
8 BertWilliams-ElderEatmoresSermononThrowingStones
9 BertWilliams-EveCostAdamJustOneBone
10 BertWilliams-Everybody
11 BertWilliams-EverybodyWantsaKeytoMyCellarProhibitionSong
12 BertWilliams-GetUp
13 BertWilliams-HereItComesAgain
14 BertWilliams-HesaCousinofMine
15 BertWilliams-HesaCousinofMine_2
16 BertWilliams-HowFried
17 BertWilliams-ICertainlyWasGoingSome
18 BertWilliams-IWanttoKnowWhereTostiWentWhenHeSaidGoodbye
19 BertWilliams-IllLendYouAnything
20 BertWilliams-ImGoneBeforeIGo
21 BertWilliams-ImGonnaQuitSaturday
22 BertWilliams-ImNeutral
23 BertWilliams-ImSorryIAintGotItYouCouldHaveItifIHadItBlues
24 BertWilliams-ImTiredofEatingIntheRestaurants
25 BertWilliams-IndoorSports
26 BertWilliams-ItsNobodysBusinessButMyOwn
27 BertWilliams-ItsNobodysBusinessbutMyOwn
28 BertWilliams-IveSuchaFunnyFeelingWhenILookatYou
29 BertWilliams-LetItAlone
30 BertWilliams-LonesomeAlimonyBlues
31 BertWilliams-MississippiStoker
32 BertWilliams-MyLandlady
33 BertWilliams-MyLastDollar
34 BertWilliams-NeverMo
35 BertWilliams-NoPlaceLikeHome
36 BertWilliams-Nobody
37 BertWilliams-Nobody_2
38 BertWilliams-Nobody_3
39 BertWilliams-NotLately
40 BertWilliams-ODeathWhereisThySting
41 BertWilliams-OhLawdySomethingsDoneGotBetweenEbecaneezerandMe
42 BertWilliams-OntheRightRoad
43 BertWilliams-PlayThatBarber-ShopChord
44 BertWilliams-Purpostus
45 BertWilliams-Samuel
46 BertWilliams-SaveaLittleDramforMeProhibitionSong
47 BertWilliams-Somebody
48 BertWilliams-SomethingYouDontExpect
49 BertWilliams-TenLittleBottlesProhibitionSong
50 BertWilliams-TheDarktownPokerClub
51 BertWilliams-TheLeeFamily
52 BertWilliams-TheMoonShinesontheMoonshineProhibitionSong
53 BertWilliams-ThePhrenologistCoon
54 BertWilliams-TwentyYears
55 BertWilliams-Unexpectedly
56 BertWilliams-UnluckyBlues
57 BertWilliams-WhenIReturn
58 BertWilliams-WhentheMoonShinesontheMoonshineProhibitionSong
59 BertWilliams-WoodmanWoodmanSpareThatTree
60 BertWilliams-WoodmanWoodmanSpareThatTree_2
61 BertWilliams-YouCantDoNothingTillMartinGetsHere
62 BertWilliams-YouCantGetAwayfromIt
63 BertWilliams-YouCantTrustNobody
64 BertWilliams-YoullNeverNeedaDoctorNoMore Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers-Shootin' Creek (July 23, 1928). This tune is clearly related, if not the same tune, to the old-timey and bluegrass standard "Cripple Creek." Alan Jabbour has speculated that the "Cripple Creek" title may be related to certain labor disputes in the Cripple Creek area of Colorado during 1903 and 1904. On the other hand, a Cripple Creek flows through Grayson and Carroll Counties in Southwest Virginia. As for the title "Shootin' Creek," there exists a Shooting Creek region in Franklin County also in Southwest Virginia. This area was famous as a center for distilling homemade whiskey and it appears that Poole was a frequent visitor. Charlie Poole & The North Carolina RamblersCharlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers-Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues (July 25, 1925) The Ramblers on this recording includes Poole on vocals and banjo, Posey Rorer on fiddle and Norman Woodlief on guitar. This a gambling tune, with many floating lines that have appeared in older tunes. It is thought that the phrase "let your deal go down" refers to a popular card game among gamblers during the early part of the 20th Century called the Georgia Skin Game. Mississippi John Hurt-Louis Collins (December 21, 1928). Recorded on December 21, 1928 in New York City. Hurt said, when asked about this sweet murder ballad, that he "made it up from hearing people talk. He was a great man, I know that, and he was killed by two men named Bob and Louis. I got enough of the story to write me a song." [Covered by Jerry Garcia and "Dawg" Grisman in the early 90s. "... angels laid him away ..."] Alberta Hunter - Darktown Strutters Ball 1920s [No text: Vocal with piano and dixieland band backup.] Bascom Lamar Lunsford-Little Turtle Dove () Recorded in 1928 most likely in Ashland, Kentucky. Lunsford was known as "The Minstrel of the Appalachians." In addition ot banjo player and collector of mountain tunes, Lunsford was also a country lawyer. This particular tune is a composite of various tunes, many of which have no relation one to the other. Some of the lines of this tune may be from "The Storms Are On The Ocean" and "Fare You Well, My Own True Love." Bertha Lee w. Charley Patton Mind Reader Blues (January 31, 1934). This tune, along with "Yellow Bee," was recorded at Patton's last recording session. He died two months later. Bertha Lee was Patton's common-law wife at the time. Lee appears to be lecturing Patton, who was an inveterate womanizer, with her sultry voice. In the fourth verse Lee sings: "I remember a day when I were livin' at Lula town, I remember a day when I were livin' at Lula town, my man did so many wrong things 'til I had to leave the town." Lee was from Lula, Mississippi and Patton lived there with her for a period of time. One can only wonder what Patton did that they had to leave.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Per Spelmann" backed by hardinfele - and by "folk metal" band Glittertind
with english translation in notes - 23 singers of the Junge Chor Speyer directed by Marie Theres Brand performed to a full house in New York City Multe Music

Per Spelmann han hadde ei einaste ku.
Per Spelmann han hadde ei einaste ku.
Han bytte bort kua, fekk fela igjen.
Han bytte bort kua, fekk fela igjen.
Du gamle, gode fiolin, du fiolin, du fela mi.

Per Spelmann han spela, og fela hu let, :||
Så gutane dansa, og jentene gret. :||
Du gamle, gode fiolin, du fiolin, du fela mi.
Per Spelmann han spela, og fela var go. :||
Så gutane dansa, og jentene lo. :||
Du gamle, gode fiolin, du fiolin, du fela mi.

Og om eg vart gamal som stein under bru. :||
Nei, aldri eg byter bort fela for ku. :||
Du gamle, gode fiolin, du fiolin, du fela mi.
Og om eg vart gamal som mose på tre. :||
Nei, aldri eg byter bort fela for fe. :|||
Du gamle, gode fiolin, du fiolin, du fela mi. Fjordland commercial interior of a typical apartment in Oslo or Bergen

ranslation "Norges Melodier" (Norwegian Melodies) . Ingrid Olsson - soprano - New York City area - Scandinavian folk music and art song

David Brooks on 'dry and schematic' maps, theologies

David Brooks, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, has a thoughtful and provocative review of "The Book of Mormon," the new Broadway musical about Mormon missionaries in Uganda. It's headed "Creed or Chaos" and came out Thursday, April 21, which just happened to be Thursday of Holy Week:
The central theme of “The Book of Mormon” is that many religious stories are silly — the idea that God would plant golden plates in upstate New York. Many religious doctrines are rigid and out of touch.

But religion itself can do enormous good as long as people take religious teaching metaphorically and not literally; as long as people understand that all religions ultimately preach love and service underneath their superficial particulars; as long as people practice their faiths open-mindedly and are tolerant of different beliefs.
But ...
The only problem with “The Book of Mormon” (you realize when thinking about it later) is that its theme is not quite true. Vague, uplifting, nondoctrinal religiosity doesn’t actually last. The religions that grow, succor and motivate people to perform heroic acts of service are usually theologically rigorous, arduous in practice and definite in their convictions about what is True and False.

That’s because people are not gods. No matter how special some individuals may think they are, they don’t have the ability to understand the world on their own, establish rules of good conduct on their own, impose the highest standards of conduct on their own, or avoid the temptations of laziness on their own.

The religions that thrive have exactly what “The Book of Mormon” ridicules: communal theologies, doctrines and codes of conduct rooted in claims of absolute truth.

Rigorous theology provides believers with a map of reality. These maps may seem dry and schematic — most maps do compared with reality — but they contain the accumulated wisdom of thousands of co-believers who through the centuries have faced similar journeys and trials.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Flickorna i Småland"

In D ...

Words by Karl Williams, journalist of Ljungby in Småland, in 1912. Wikipedia - when he was repairing a flat tire on his bicycle between Hamneda and Torpa (the one in Östergötland?), he noticed three girls on a nearby hillside and waxed poetic about lingonberries, girls, the wind sighing in the trees and such.

On YouTube:
  • Margareta Kjellberg - a classic version of "Flickorna i Småland" on 78rpm Odeon record

  • Delta Rhythm Boys, no less, sing in passable "Swenglish" (i.e. Swedish and English), "Flickorna i Småland." They visited Sweden several times during the 1950s.

  • Eddie Meduza - rockabilly - raggare singer - sounds like basic three-chord rock to me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

18th-century Swedish songwriter - Carl Michael Bellman

Carl Michael Bellman (1740 – 1795). Reminds me of Robert Burns ...

I'd never heard of him till I ran across a reference when I was Googling "Gubbe Noak" (which translates as "Old Man Noah" and which I had always thought was a Norwegian song). In a post by user janolov in Banjo Hangout Tune of the Week for 18 Jan 2009: Two Swedish songs, this thumbnail biography:

He was a Swedish poet and composer, whose songs have remained very popular in Scandinavia. Beginning as a writer of "Bacchanalian" songs, Bellman produced over seventeen hundred poems, most set to music. His life was very turbulent. For a period he had to run away from Swedish creditors. He has good musical and poetic gifts but was devoted to drinking. Carl Michael Bellman was born into a respectable middle-class family in Stockholm. Around 1760 he started to write drinking songs. By the late 1760s Bellman had already became famous with his songs and biblical parodies, which circulated by word of mouth and in handwritten copies and printed sheets.

In most of his songs, Bellman borrowed the tunes from minuets, folk songs, opera, and march music. Some of the melodies Bellman composed himself. The two songs here are probably composed by him. ...
TOTW gives a word-for-word (unsingable) transaltion of "Gubben Noak." The other song is "Måltidssång" (Dinner Song, also known as Fredmans Sång No 21), with lots of stuff about Bacchus and a carpe diem theme to make Burns look like a dour Scots dominie by comparison (sample verse: "Do you feel that the grave is too deep? Well, then get yourself a drink / Then have another, have a second, have a third ...") and a really catchy, syncopated melody ... says janolof of the songs he posted to Banjo Hangout, "When I have worked with them I have found that they also are good instrumental tunes. You don't have to neither drink nor sing to enjoy the songs (well.....)."

For information on Bellman, Wikipedia, as usual, is a good starting place. Also a detailed English-language bio on the Bellmanssällskapet website

Fredmans Sång No 5c

And while I was looking for information on Bellman, I blundered into this ... Fredmans Sång No 5c ... which is lovely ... uploaded by user Elolinona to YouTube and other social media ... Fredmans Sång No 5c [Also "Glimmande Nymph" another beautiful melody ... sounds too complex for a dulcimer, tho' ... ] Lyrics to Fredmans Sång No 5c at ... First verse:
Så slår min Glock nu locket til
Uppå sitt stop och vandrar,
Hvarthän, jag icke veta vil;
Gutår! jag dig ej klandrar;
Du har förfall, du måste dö,
Och skiljas från vår lusta,
Men vi med glas på denna ö,
Ditt lof i klunkar pusta. ...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ulrich schwärmt für Hummeln: Folk zither exhibit in Germany, irresistible pun in local newspaper

Wilfried Ulrich's exhibition of hummels in teh folk museum at Cloppenburg got a nice writeup April 11 in NWZ Online, website of the Nordwest Zeitung in Oldenburg. First, the headline ...

Ulrich schwärmt für Hummeln
Google, with its usual flair for more-rough-than-ready translation, has the headline as "Ulrich crush on bumblebees." That's crush as in "have a crush on" ... but schwärmen also means to swarm as in what bees do when a lot of them take flight. And Hummel, the instrument, got its name from the word for bumblebee. Explains Sigrid Lünnemann, writing for NWZ Online:

Die Hummel kam zu ihrem ungewöhnlichen Namen, weil sie neben den Melodiesaiten frei mitschwingende Begleitsaiten hat, die einen charakteristischen Brummton erzeugen, der an eine fliegende Hummel erinnert. In den Kammern und Spinnstuben wurde abends die Hummel auf den Tisch gelegt und einfache Volksweisen, die jeder mitsingen konnte, wurden gespielt, erklärte Ulrich. In Belgien wird sogar jedes Jahr ein nationaler Hummeltag gefeiert, schwärmte der Hummel-Liebhaber und gestand, dass ein ostfriesischer Hummeltag sein größter Traum wäre.
Which Google translates as:

The bumblebee got its unusual name because it has next to the melody strings freely vibrating string accompaniment, producing a characteristic humming sound that is reminiscent of a flying bumblebee. In the chambers and spinning rooms in the evening, the bumblebee on the table and simple folk songs, which everyone could sing along, were played, said Ulrich. In Belgium, even celebrated every year a national Hummeltag enthused the Hummel-lover and confessed that an East Frisian Hummeltag would be his greatest dream.
As always with Google's translations, you have to take it as a starting point ... change the word order around, find the verb, decide whether you're reading about a "hummel" or a "bumblebee," etc., etc. But it gives you an idea. Click here for the NWZ Online story and here for Google's translation.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Handel's Messiah in Fishamble Street, Dublin

Anniversary of the first performance of Handel's Messiah in Dublin ... the RTE report on Six One News And a story in the Irish Times by staff writer Luke Cassidy. Lede (complete with cheesy pun):

WHILE “HE shall reign forever”, the rain stayed away for the annual Handel’s Day celebrations in Dublin yesterday.

There were overcast skies and the wind played havoc with the National Sinfonia’s sheet music. But Our Lady’s Choral Society, with guest soloist Ross Scanlon, took it in their stride as they lifted hundreds of people packed along Fishamble Street with a rousing performance of highlights from Handel’s Messiah. George Frederick Handel led the first performance of the piece in the now defunct Musick Hall Theatre on almost the same spot on April 13th, 1742.

The “Messiah on the Street” has become an annual event since 1992. Proinnsías Ó Duinn, who has been conducting Messiah since the 1960s, interspersed the hour-long performance with snippets of biography. ...

The Irish Times also has a slideshow set to the Hallelujah Chorus ...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

James Kennard - author of "Who Are Our National Poets" (1845)

"The Agony and the Ecstasy of James Kennard Jr" by J. Dennis Robinson

Disgusted by the institution of slavery, Kennard published an 1845 essay in which he proposed that African Americans in the South were "our only truly national poets". Superstar poets Walt Whitman and John Greenleaf Whittier made note of Kennard’s essay, which is still debated today. ...
--- Ebook and Texts Archive > California Digital Library > Selections from the writings of James Kennard, Jr. : with a sketch of his life and character Author: Kennard, James, 1815-1847; Peabody, Andrew P. (Andrew Preston), 1811-1893 Publisher: Boston : William D. Ticknor Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT Language: English Call number: nrlf_ucb:GLAD-17166991 Digitizing sponsor: MSN Book contributor: University of California Libraries Collection: cdl; americana "Who Are Our National Poets" (1805-127) also essays on transcendentalism and an Alabama black code law, as well as a memoir of Kennard's life From profile by A.P Peabody, a friend

Sympathies thus active could not be confined within the circle immediately around him. He kept himself constantly informed of every phasis and movement of social and political life, and took a deep interest in all plans and measures of reform and phi- lanthropy. His ethics were entirely of the Christian school. He called evil, wrong, and sin by their own names, and admitted in justification of them neither ancient prescription, nor venerable authority, nor the most plausible grounds of expediency. Yet he was most tolerant in his judgment of the motives both of individuals and bodies of men ; and, while he strikingly verified that portion of St. Paul's des- cription of charity, "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth," his considerate candor and his confidence in the ultimate triumph of the Right and the Good reminded us of those other traits in the same sketch, " believeth all things, hopeth all things." He early became warmly interested in the cause of the slave, not as an Ishmaelitish partisan of some one idea of emancipation or some one unvary- MEMOIR. XXX111 ing mode of agitation, but in communion of spirit with all who, with the slightest measure of sincerity, gave their efforts, influence, or simple Godspeed, to the work. On all subjects of this class, as well as on the politics of the nation, he united, to a degree perhaps almost unattainable by one not withdrawn from the turmoil of active life, decided opinions, strong preferences, and the most comprehensive fel- lowship for all of every party whose aims and pur- poses seemed patriotic, philanthropic, and benevolent. Nor were his judgments on such matters those of a secluded theorist, or founded on a defective and one- sided acquaintance with facts and circumstances. The accuracy with which he kept himself informed as to all the significant transactions, movements, and speculations of the passing day, in fine, of every thing worthy of a benevolent curiosity, alike in the larger and the narrower circle, excited our contin- ual surprise. It seemed as if the figures of all the prominent actors in the great drama and in all the little by-plots were perpetually passing and repassing before his eye, as in the mirror of a camera obscura. Mr. Kennard's literary attainments and activity, though by no means the most interesting, present one of the most extraordinary aspects of his charac- ter. From the preceding sketch of his life, it will be seen that he was far from having received a schol- d XXXIV MEMOIR. arly education. The studies of his boyhood had been chiefly directed with reference to his destination for the counting-room ; and, though faithfully pursued, they were closed at too early an age for extensive ac- quisition. But, during the last nine years of his life, he made himself a thorough proficient in many de- partments of historical, critical, and elegant literature. He was satisfied only with the most accurate knowl- edge. If an unfamiliar location was referred to, he inquired at once its place on the map. If an un- known historical personage was named, he sought out his history. If a new word occurred, he never passed it by, without ascertaining its etymology and its exact significance. He was master of that most essential element in the acquisition of knowledge, the art of shaping questions. On every subject, he seemed to understand intuitively just what to ask, what were the points really at issue, what the prime topics of investigation, what the collateral sources of evidence or illustration. The impulse which made him an author it is not difficult to define, yet to some minds it may be hard to understand. He had no thought of fame, nay, seemed unconscious to the last of the degree to which his productions had attracted notice and found circulation. He was led to write, we believe, solely from the desire to be useful. He felt the importance MEMOIR. XXXV of his own opinions, and was solicitous to make others feel them. The editor of the Portsmouth Journal was his friend and neighbour, and that quite extensively circulated paper was his first, and for some time his only, medium of communication with the public. He commenced by furnishing articles almost every week, under the signature of " Vattel," on such subjects as from time to time occupied a prominent place in the general mind, especially on the moral bearings of the great political questions, and on the reformation of existing wrongs and evils. Many of these pieces were extensively copied, and read by thousands. Some of them were among his choicest productions, and might have occupied a place in this volume to the exclusion of much of the excellent matter that we have inserted, had not the occasions on which they were written, and the ques- tions which they discussed, so far passed out of mind, as to deprive them of much of their original interest. When he became known as a writer, he was solicited to furnish articles to be read before the literary asso- ciations of the town. Subsequently he was urged to become a writer for several of the leading literary publications of the day, especially for the Knicker- bocker, the editor of which repeatedly expressed a high sense of obligation to him for his valuable con- tributions.
See also "Our Only Truly National Poets": blackface minstrelsy and cultural nationalism" ATQ (The American Transcendental Quarterly), March, 2006 by Robert C. Nowatzki Nowatzki says he's "sarcastic" - I'm not so sure, for reasons suggested by my cursory reading of the essays cited above ...

Intro: In his 1845 essay "Who Are Our National Poets?",
which sarcastically celebrates American literary nationalism, James Kennard, Jr.
argues that a truly American poet must reject European tastes, remain at home,
and develop a strong provincial identity. He asks:

What class is most secluded from foreign
influences, receives the narrowest education, travels the shortest distance from
home, has the least amount of spare cash, and mixes least with any class above
itself? Our negro slaves, to be sure! That is the class in which we must expect
to find our original poets, and there we do find them. From that class come the
Jim Crows, the Zip Coons, and the Dandy Jims, who have electrified the world.
From them proceed our ONLY TRULY NATIONAL POETS. (332)
Kennard's ridicule of American literary nationalism stems not only from his
Eurocentrism, racism, and contempt for blackface minstrelsy, but also from the
nationalist discourses within and surrounding minstrelsy. Thus, understanding
his essay requires that we understand its contexts of cultural nationalism and
minstrelsy. While Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, and other American
authors and cultural critics were obsessed with forging a uniquely American
culture, American theatres were overrun by minstrelsy, a form of entertainment
that promoted nationalism and that American cultural critics often described in
nationalist terms. Kennard combines these cultural trends and raises the
question (though sarcastically) of whether black culture, or white
representations of it, could fit into American culture in ways that would set
America apart from Europe. Indeed, minstrelsy was thematically linked to the
cultural nationalism of Emerson and Melville with its coarse brand of
anti-British and anti-European patriotism and hypermasculinity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hummel collection in Musik- och Teatermuseet in Stockholm

The Stockholm Music and Theatre Museum is part of The Swedish National Collections of Music together with The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden and The Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research -Sibyllegatan 2, Box 16326, 103 26 Stockholm 08- 519 554 90

Pix of a dozen to two dozen (I didn't count 'em) hummels in the museum. Says the introductory paragraph:
The Swedish hummel is played with a plectrum or with the fingers.
It is also called långspel or långharpa (cf. the Norweigian langeleik).
It probably got its name from the German word Hummel (bumblebee) – maybe referring to the instrument’s “buzzing” tone. The hummel has 1-4 melody strings and a varying number of sympathetic strings." Most of them are from Småland or southern Sweden, most half-pear shaped.

Hummel is discussed in The Hawaiian steel guitar and its great Hawaiian musicians By Lorene Ruymar, Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association ... on Google Books on pages 20 and 21 ... quotes Hortense Panum ... mentions Otto AMalmberg ... unsourced but very likely accurate: "The strings of the zither were not raised and in Scandinavian countries the string pitch was usually changed by the player stopping them against the fret with the fingers of the left hand, not by sliding an object over them." on p. 21


Stig WALIN, Die Schwedische Hummel. Stockholm, Nordiska Museet Handlingar : 43., 1952

Die schwedische Hummel
eine instrumentenkundliche Untersuchung.
Published 1952 by Nordiska Museet in Stockholm .
Written in German.
Edition Notes
German text.

Series NordiskaMuseets Handlingar -- 43

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fiddle at "jubilee" - 104th Illinois Volunteer Infantry during Sherman's March

William Calkins. The History of the One Hundred and Fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry, War of the Great Rebellion. Chicago: Donohue & Henneberry, 1895.

Calkins was 1st Lt., Co. E, 104th, and aide de camp staff, Gen. John Beatty.

257. Sherman Leland said of first day's march, Nov. 15, near Stone Mountain. "The weather was clear and perfect and the wrought-up expectations of the men found expression in mirth and song, "Old John Brown" and other popular pieces being sung with a vim that must have had an effect, pleasant or otherwise, on the natives of the country, white and black."

265 [ca. Nov. 30, after crossing Ogeechee River and Rocky Creek, "...where for the first time, cypress trees and palms were seen ..."

C.C. Courtright of Co. G - "The negroes had a grand jubilee after dark; the boys built a platform, provided a fiddle, and the darkies more than hoed it down, one old fellow dancing on his head and keeping time to the music."

musician William J. Porter - enlisted from Fall River 1862 as a musician. d. Marseilles, Ill., Jan. 19, 1893

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Japanese mobile phone ad plays Bach on gravity-powered xylophone

Touch Wood - Bach’s "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring"

Details in a story in Digital Life magazine:
It takes a lot to get attention in the world of ads, especially cell phones, but the DOCOMO Touch Wood SH-08C video has definitely turned a lot of heads lately.

To showcase the natural resources that give the Touch Wood its unique look, an ad agency engaged Invisible Designs Lab's Kenjiro Matsuo to make a giant wooden xylophone that stretches across a lengthy swath of forest. The Rube Goldberg-like contraption (thanks, CNET, for filling in what it reminded me of) plays Bach’s Cantata 147, "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring" in (seemingly) one take, using one wooden ball that rolls down the length of the custom-made instrument. The Touch Wood cellphone doesn't even make an appearance until the very end.

Catherine Market on lower East Side - WHERE SLAVES DANCED - New York Times


quotes Thomas De Voe, interviewed by a Times reporter - gives more general background on the market befofre and after 1820s

opens PDF document

Friday, April 08, 2011

James T. Ayers diary: Fiddle played by black recruits, Nashville, 1864

The Diary of James T. Ayers, Civil War Recruiter, ed. John Hope Franklin. Occasional Publications of the Illinois State Historical Society. Springfield: ISHS, 1947.

Ayers, of the 129th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was on detached duty recruiting freed slaves in Tennessee for service in U.S. Colored Troops

Thursday June 9th [1864]

Left Clarkesville with 18 Col. Recruits for Nashville. River quiet Low now only three and 1/2 feet water on Harpeth Shoals. Landed at Nashville, mustered my Boys into two Rank and one of them ad A fiddle so we took the streets for Headqrs [3-em space] fidler in front playing Away. Some big eyes made [39] you had better believe.


[Feb. 6, 1865, in a military hospital at Savannah]

fire . "we have A big fire in Some Large Buildings Acrost the Street oposite us. Several ingines are at work and A large crowd gathered Round as Spectators, but in the midst of the flames quiet a Cannonading Broke Loose, one of those buildings being stored with Loaded guns. They commenced playing A merry tune and you had better see the Crowd Scatter. ... Just now the firemen are Passing by here singing one of there fire songs. It Sounds well to me as I sit here. The firemen here are all darkes and when they fight and Conquer A big fire Like the one Just on hand they feel well and will Express there feelings by singing and you know they sing Harty. ..."

xxiv ... diary was handed down in family of Charles Lawton, a freed slave to whom he had entrusted his belongings ... wound up at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, where the librarian told Franklin about it]

Possum Up a Gum Stump

Possum Up a Gumstump
Uploaded by adams0424 on Feb 19, 2010 ... learned this tune from Jenni Wallace


chromatic mountain dulcimer old time fiddle tune randy adams

POSSUM UP A GUM STUMP(, COONIE IN THE HOLLOW) [1]. AKA and see "Off/Going to California [1]," "Whiskey You're the Devil," "Whiskey in the Jar [1]," "Lexington," "Old Towser," "Gypsy Hornpipe [4]," "Fireman's Reel," "Buttermilk and Cider." Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA; Alabama, north Georgia, Arkansas. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB. The tune was mentioned in chronicles before the year 1830 (Mark Wilson). It was cited as having been played in a 1914 Atlanta, Ga. fiddlers' contest, and listed in the Northwest Alabamian of August 29, 1929, as one of the tunes likely to be played at an upcoming fiddlers' convention. The title appears in a list of traditional Ozark Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954. See also related tune family under "Dubuque,” and the related “Green Back Dollar.”


Possum up a gum stump, coonie in the holler,

Little gal at our house, fat as she can waller.

Saddle up the old nag, martingale and collar,

Fetch her down to my house, I'll give you half a dollar. (Ford)


Charles Wolfe, in notes to Thomas Talley’s Negro Folk Rhymes (1991), says the first two stanzas of the song below were collected from both black and white sources, although the last two stanzas are rather rare:


‘Possum up de gum stump,

Dat raccon in de holler;

Twis’ ‘im out, an’ git ‘im down,

An’ I’ll gin you a half a doller.


‘Possum up de gum stump,

Yes, cooney in de holler;

A pretty gal down my house

Jes as fat as she can waller.


‘Possum up de gum stump,

His jaws is black an’ dirty;

To come an’ kiss you, pretty gal,

I’d run lak a goobler tucky.


‘Possum up de gum stump,

A good man’s hard to fin’;

You’d better love me, pretty gal,

You’ll git de yudder kin’.


The tune/song appears in several collections, including Brown (3:207), White (236-38), Scarborough (173), Randolph (2:361) and Lomax and Lomax (American Ballads and Folk Songs), pg. 238. Source for notated version: Joe Hermann with the Critton Hollow String Band (West Virginia) [Phillips]. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; pg. 29. Kuntz, Private Collection. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; pg. 187. Copper Creek CCCD-0196, Tom, Brad & Alice – “We’ll Die in the Pig Pen Fighting.” Document 8039, “The Hill Billies/Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters: Compoete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, vol. 1” (reissue). Flying Fish FF 355, Critton Hollow String Band ‑ "By and By" (1985). Recorded Anthology of American Music, 1978 ‑ "Traditional Southern Instrumental Styles." Vocalion 5118, 1926 (78 RPM), The Hill Billies (east Tennessee).


T:Possum Up a Gum Stump



Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz


(A,|A,)/B,/D/E/ F/G/F/E/|D/E/F/A/ BA|B/A/B/c/ d/c/d/B/|A/F/D/F/ E/D/B,/G,/|

A,/B,/D/E/ F/G/F/E/|D/E/F/A/ BA|B/A/B/c/ d/c/d/B/|A/G/F/E/ D:|

|:ff|f/ a f/ aa/g/|f/e/d/f/ e/d/B/A/|f/ a a/ ba|f/e/d/f/ ee/e/|f/ a f/ aa/g/|

f/e/d/f/ e/d/B/A/|B/A/B/c/ d/c/d/B/|A/G/F/E/ D:|

Jim Crow - misc. notes

Jim Crow Jubilee - 1847 - sheet music cover in Library of Congress website

Johns Hopkins - sheet music Jim Crow Jubilee. A Collection of Negro Melodies.

Title: Jim Crow Jubilee. A Collection of Negro Melodies.
Author: Augustus Clapp (arranger); Stephen Collins Foster (composer)
Description: piano and voice

Uncle Ned


Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow
Author(s): Karl Hagstrom Miller
Published: 2010
Pages: 384


Advanced Book Search

Jim Crow, American: selected songs and plays By T. D. Rice, W. T. Lhamon

Possum up a Gum Tree

POSSUM UP A GUM TREE. AKA - "Opossum Up a Gum Tree." American. Cecilia Conway (1995) finds references to the song "Opposum up a Gum Tree." An English performer, Charles Mathews, witnessed the tune being rendered by the noted tragedian and performer Ira Aldridge (1807-1867) at the African Grove Theater in New York. The theater was a venue for black performers, and at the conclusion of Hamlet (rendered in dialect) the audience had called for their favorite song; Aldridge obliged. Mathews (who later incorporated the material into a comic act for the British stage) made several transcriptions of the song, the tune of which appears to be similar to the "Turkey Buzzard" family of tunes. Ceclia Conway, in African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia (1995), states that "the song is apparently a variant of the dance tune 'Cooney in de Holler,' which was popular in Philadelphia and the Five Points dance halls and dives of New York during the time of 'Juba' Lane and Charles Dickens." Hans Nathan (Dan Emmett and Negro Minstrelsy, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1962), citing T. Allston Brown (The Origins of Minstrelsy), writes that the song was known to white boatmen and African-Americans in South Carolina. The song was published in London by J. Willis & Co. c. 1824:


Possum up a Gum-Tree,

Up he go, up he go

Racoon in the hollow

Down below, down below.

Him pull him by hims long tail,

Pully hawl, pully hawl,

Then how him whoop and hallow

Scream and bawl, scream and bawl.

Possum up a Gum Tree

Racoon in the hollow

Him pull him by hims long tail

Then how him whoop and hallow.



T:Possum Up a Gum Tree




S:Willis & Co., London (c. 1824)

Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion


EAA>B c2 {B}A2 | df B2 df B2 | EAA>B c2 {B}A2 | AcE2 AcEE |

EAAB c2 {B}A2 | dfB2 dfBE | EAA>B c2{B}A2 | AcE2 Ac e2 |

e>f e>c B2A2 | f>g fd c2 Be | efec {c}B2AA | AFGE EA3 ||

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0 - Sleep

Bei Führung „Brummen“ der Hummel erleben

Bei Führung „Brummen“ der Hummel erleben

Museum Seltene Instrumente ausgestellt

Cloppenburg - Zu einem Sonntagsspaziergang durch die neu eröffnete Ausstellung „Die Hummel – Geschichte eines Volksmusik-Instruments“ im Museumsdorf lädt der Instrumentenbauer Wilfried Ulrich für Sonntag, 10. April, ein. Der Hummel-Kenner aus Norden, der auch das Konzept der Ausstellung erarbeitet hat, bietet den Teilnehmern Klang- und Hörproben des nur noch selten gespielten Instruments. Treffpunkt für diese Veranstaltung ist um 14.30 Uhr an der Museumskasse.

Die Ausstellung stellt die Entwicklung und Ausprägungen des recht einfachen Saiteninstruments dar, das wie eine Zither auf dem Tisch liegend gespielt wird. Neben den Melodiesaiten besitzt die Hummel frei mitschwingende, tiefe „Brummsaiten“, die dem Instrument seinen lautmalerischen Namen gegeben haben. Seit 500 Jahren ist die Hummel als Volksmusikinstrument bekannt. Sie war besonders in ländlichen Gebieten verbreitet.

Cloppenburg - On a Sunday stroll through the newly opened exhibition "The Hummel - story of a folk music instrument" in the Museum Village invites the instrument maker Wilfried Ulrich for Sunday 10 April, ein. April, a. Der Hummel-Kenner aus Norden, der auch das Konzept der Ausstellung erarbeitet hat, bietet den Teilnehmern Klang- und Hörproben des nur noch selten gespielten Instruments. The bumble bee expert from the North, who has developed the concept of the exhibition is to provide participants with sound and audio samples of the rarely played instrument. Treffpunkt für diese Veranstaltung ist um 14.30 Uhr an der Museumskasse. Meeting place for this event is at 14.30 clock at the museum.

Die Ausstellung stellt die Entwicklung und Ausprägungen des recht einfachen Saiteninstruments dar, das wie eine Zither auf dem Tisch liegend gespielt wird. The exhibition represents the development and characteristics of the simple stringed instrument that is played like a harp lying on the table. Neben den Melodiesaiten besitzt die Hummel frei mitschwingende, tiefe „Brummsaiten“, die dem Instrument seinen lautmalerischen Namen gegeben haben. In addition to the melody strings free bumblebee has the resonant, deep roaring strings ", which gave the instrument its onomatopoeic name. Seit 500 Jahren ist die Hummel als Volksmusikinstrument bekannt. For 500 years the bumblebee as a folk musical instrument is known. Sie war besonders in ländlichen Gebieten verbreitet. She was particularly widespread in rural areas.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Frailing (clawhammer) banjo for beginners

One guy who really gets the hay down where the mules can reach it is RPeek on YouTube ...

Frailing lesson one
Sets a groove w/ thumb and first finger ... "The banjo is a drum ..." - hand like a hitchhiker - "That's about enough to work on for about a week. Get that mastered and come back, and I'll teach you what's next."

Beginner banjo clawhammer lesson #2
Work on string No. 1 and string No. 2 ...

Quick & dirty banjo lesson number 3

Monday, April 04, 2011

Workshops: Songs of Wilderness Road - New Salem - links and TOC

From November through the first week of April, a off-season workshops was held at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site on playing music appropriate to the 1830s in open modal tunings on the Appalachian dulcimer. We used Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road by Ralph Lee Smith and Madeline MacNeil, adding a few songs that are attested in central Illinois during our period or that have strong associations with people from New Salem and Menard County.

Before and after the workshops, which were held on the first Saturday of the month except during the holiday season, I posted YouTube clips and other information to Hogfiddle concerning the songs and their historical background. I began posting video files to the blog while teaching interdisciplinary humanities courses in blues and Native American cultural traditions at Benedictine University Springfield, and I found the technique carried over very well for the workshops.

Below is a message sent out today to members of the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings email list in Springfield, Ill., summing up the workshops:

Monday, April 4, 2011 2:24 PM

Thanks to everyone who came to our off-season workshops at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site on playing 1830s-vintage music on the mountain dulcimer ... and to those who quietly followed the workshops as I sent out notices to the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings email list ... I've been coordinating workshops like this for several years now, and I thought this year's workshops were the best ever. That's partly due to our book, "Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road," by Ralph Lee Smith and Madeline MacNeil, but also largely to you guys. I learned a lot from our exchanges of information and playing techniques.

As I promised during our last session Saturday, April 2, I'm sending you a couple of links ... and I've pulled together the main email messages and posts to my blog Hogfiddle that I sent out as we went along.

First, the links to other websites:
-- The Small Circle Tune Learning Session, an Irish traditional slow jam group in Colorado, put up a very useful chart of key signatures for the different modes (which explains why "D for dulcimer" [two sharps] looks like B minor, G mixolydian and A dorian), among other things.
-- Sarah Lee Johnson, hammered dulcimer player and music writer for Smoke & Fire News, magazine for buckskinners and colonial war reenactors, has a wealth of information about living history and music. A lot of it is about the Old Northwest. It's a little earlier than our period, but not by much.

And below are the promised links to Hogfiddle blog posts I've been putting up, with video clips of people playing the tunes in our book along with other information. Also a couple of songs that aren't in "Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road" but have strong associations with New Salem or people who lived there. When I taught cultural studies classes at Benedictine, I started introducing my classes with video clips like this and the kids liked them. So I decided to try it for the workshops, too.

I'm one of those people who can't learn music from tablature - I *have to* hear it - so the videos on the blog helped me. But please let me know what you think, too. How'd it work?

Here are the Hogfiddle links (most recent first). One warning, tho' ... we sort of made up the schedule as we went along, so you'll find some duplication on the blog when we didn't get through all the songs one month and I put some of them back up for the following workshops, stuff like that. And there are other inconsistencies as well. We got off to a slow start, met in November but didn't really get started up again till February. Now that it's over, though, I think the posts are almost like a table of contents or syllabus for their workshops:

April 2 [posted March 27]
-- Background information on "Clar de Kitchen," [not in the book] along with a link to the 1832 sheet music (in D, so we don't have to transpose it for mountain dulcimer) a YouTube clip and a 30-second sound bite from a CD.

April 2. [posted March 21]
-- Background information and YouTube clips for The "Riddle Song," "Storms Are on the Ocean" and "Sheep Shell Corn." A little bit about modes, too, since "Sheep Shell Corn" is mixolydian and the other two are Ionian.

March 5. [posted March 7]
-- Information about "I Will Arise and Go to Jesus" [not in the book] and a link to the Kitchen Musician website, which has a wealth of information about music history by a writer for Smoke & Fire, the magazine for buckskinners and Revolutionary War reenactors. A lot it is about the Old Northwest.

Feb. ___ [Jan. 30]
-- YouTube clips on noter technique ... demonstrated by Ben Seymour, Jean Ritchie and "Strumelia" of the Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer website.

Feb. ___ [posted Jan. 25]
-- Notes on Ionian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Dorian Tunings. Embedded YouTube clips and background on "Cumberland Gap," "I Gave My Love a Cherry," "Sheep Shell Corn," "Shady Grove," "Old Man at the Mill" and "Three Babes/Wife of Usher's Well."

Nov. 6 [posted Nov. 11]
-- Some general information about how decided to base the workshops on "Songs and Tales of the Wilderness Road" and to work with open modal tunings (DAA Ionian and DAG Dorian), with links to "Tipping it up to Nancy"/"Old Woman from Wexford" (not in the book).

-- Pete

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Wisconsin regimental band at Sherman's HQ

Article Date: June 19 1924
Newspaper: Janesville Gazette
City: Janesville
County: Rock

Wisconsin Historical Society
Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles

known as "Wisconsin's soldier singer"

sang "Sherman's March to the Sea" at Sherman's HQ in Goldsboro, N.C., in 1865
"... This song, which fittingly describes the strategic march which broke the heart of the Confederacy, was written by Lieuts. Byers and Rockwell while in prison at Columbia, S.C., just before Sherman's army made triumphal capture of that city.

"It was on Feb. 17, 1865, that Sherman's army entered the caital of the first secession state of the Confederacy and soon afterward the two lieutenants were set free with other solodiers. They joined in the jubilation of thier victorius comrades and went to General Sherman's headquarters and presented him with the manuscript of the song. Three nights later, Kimberly received the music manuscripts from an orderly who came from Sherman with an order for him to come to headquarters and sing the song. It was just about the time for retiremen and this, together with the fact that there was aheavy rainfall, resulted in a postponement of the general's wish.

"Not until two weeks later, when the army was camped at Goldsboro, N.C., did Kimberly have an opportunity to carry out the general's wishes. Then he appeared at headquarters and with his band serenaded General Sherman, who was very fond of music.

"In his high tenor voice, Kimberly, then but 20 years old, sang the song for the first time and General Sherman was so delighted that Kimberly responded to the encore by repeating it. It remkained a favorite with General Sherman and a million others."
Onew of the first volunteers from Wisconsin. w/ 2nd Wisconsin Volunteers when band instruments abandoned when retreating from Stonewall Jackson in 1862.

After regimental bands discharged, he returned to Wisconsin and raised another band - was leader of the band of the 1st Brigade, 3d Division, XV Corps under Gen. John Logan. "They were given much credit for keeping up the spirit of Sherman's army on the march to the sea." Left the band after the Grand Review in May 1865.

"Sailing at High Tide"

Fort Clarke [Fla.] Middle School Concert Band playing Sea Song Trilogy
"Sea Song Trilogy" arranged by Anne McGinty, containing: (1) "Johnny Come Down To Hilo"; (2) "The Sailors Alphabet"; and (3) "Sailing At High Tide" [according to notes to performance by symphonic band at McAdams Junior High School in Dickinson, Texas]. "Sailing at High Tide" begins at 1:54.