Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tai Chi and Qigong -- warmup videos

Daily Qigong - 4 minute exercise. presents a 4-minute daily QIGONG exercise. Join in with Instructor Don Fiore. Stretching and breathing are important for senior and elderly health - and good for all ages. The movements can be done while sitting or standing. has more Senior and Holistic Health Tips and Exercise Programs.

Daily Tai Chi - join in this 9-minute exercise. presents a 9-minute "Easy Tai Chi" to do daily. Join in with Don Fiore and see how you feel afterwards. Great for a senior fitness routine and home workout. Helps with balance, coordination, circulation, and strengthening bones and muscles. The movements come from our "Easy TaiChi-Qigong" DVD that can be ordered on - a website for Holistic Health Tips and Exercises. (9:06)

Fiore's bio at

Easy Qigong & Easy Tai Chi - Senior Exercise. presents Don Fiore sharing Easy Qigong and Tai Chi movements with his Senior students at Sun Lakes, The Terraces, and SCAN Health Plan Arizona. Join in with the exercises. The complete Senior Exercise Program DVD called "Easy TaiChi-Qigong" is on the .ORG website. This DVD is recommended as a resource by the National Parkinson Association website and the Maximum Life website. Music: CMA's "Who We Are" and Erin Jacobsen's "Feather on the Breath of God." Video by Tori Fiore Film Projects. Don is giving Teacher Training with Certificates for "Easy Tai Chi & Qigong". For more info:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Richard and Mimi Fariña on Pete Seeger's TV show / also Donovan singing "Colours"

One of the people I really listened to when I was starting to play the mountain dulcimer in the 1970s was Richard Fariña. Even in Knoxville, Tennessee, which should have been (but wasn't always) a stronghold of Appalachian traditional music! So it was a revelation tonight to find some video clips of his playing on Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Quest" ... with some nice closeups of his left hand action with the noter. Worth studying.

Richard & Mimi Fariña -- "Dopico" and "Celebrations for a Grey Day." YouTube user realdinho, who posted it, says "the first couple of songs performed on Rainbow Quest hosted by Pete Seeger, originally broadcast Saturday, February 26, 1966 about two months before Richard's tragic death on 30 April 1966, the day Mimi turned 21..."

Other songs featuring the Fariñas on "Rainbow Quest"

Neal Hellman of Gourd Music, who put together a book of tablature in the 1970s, has a very nice profile of Fariña on his blog Neal's Tales at Including this:

... One evening he saw the Kentucky folk singer Jean Ritchie perform at folk club in Greenwich Village and became smitten by the mountain dulcimer. This, he decided, would be the perfect vehicle for his poetry. He soon married and toured with Carolyn Hester, but the relationship proved a disaster and ended in 1962. Folk legend has it that Carolyn pulled a gun on Richard in their Paris apartment shortly after he flirted with a young girl in a café. There are many stories like that surrounding the short life of Richard Fariña, all of which only added to his mystique.

In the spring of 1962 while still in Paris he met a sixteen-year-old dancer named Mimi Baez, and within a year they were married. The Baez family was skeptical of Richard at first, but in time his charm and wit won them over. Mimi and Richard composed music together on guitar and dulcimer, and by 1964 they were becoming a well-known folk duo. They recorded two wonderfully inspired and well-produced recordings for Vanguard Records—Celebrations for A Gray Day (April 1965) and Reflections in a Crystal Wind (December 1965). Their music consisted of Richard’s songs of political and social commentary as well as instrumentals he created for the mountain dulcimer. Mimi added her soprano harmony and played guitar and autoharp. They reached their peak at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, where even a massive thunderstorm could not keep the crowds from dancing to their music, all in various forms of undress.

And this: "He took the dulcimer out of the Appalachians and made it accessible to city kids like me. To anyone over forty who plays the dulcimer, Richard Fariña has earned patriarchal status." Hellman, like Farina, was originally from Brooklyn.

Bonus track: Donovan on Pete Seeger show

Pete Seeger & Donovan - Colours. Posted by YouTube user Jan Hammer. "Speaking of UK artists here is Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan appearing with Pete Seeger on the Show "Rainbow Quest".

Excerpt from background on "Rainbow Quest":

Rainbow Quest (1965--66) was a U.S. television series devoted to folk music and hosted by Pete Seeger. It was videotaped in black-and-white and featured musicians playing in traditional American music genres such as traditional folk music, old-time music, bluegrass and blues. The show's title is drawn from the lyrics of the song by Seeger "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread".


The program was produced on a low budget funded by Seeger and his co-producer, Sholom Rubinstein. Seeger's wife, Toshi, given the title "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer" in the closing credits after each show, actually functioned as the director by dint of the fact that she continually made suggestions to Rubinstein that he passed along to the camera operators. Eventually the cameramen simply followed her instructions without waiting for Rubinstein to repeat them. ...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Random thoughts on the Cas Walker song; some Zen moments at Don Pedi's "Tao of Dulcimer" retreat in Little Switzerland, N.C.; Carolina-style barbecue, Brother Jack's and other East Tennessee nostalgia

It's all in the bowin'. Learning the notes is fine, but ... -- Don Pedi

Some notes from Don Pedi's "Tao of Dulcimer" weekend Oct. 17-20 at Wildacres Retreat off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Little Switzerland, N.C. They're not in any particular order, and I made no attempt to cover the main points of the weekend. Instead, I jotted down notes when subjects came up that especially interested me. ...

Also a video clip of an iconic commercial touting Knoxville grocer Cas Walker's supermarkets that I played during a song-sharing circle the first night of the retreat. I promised to tab it out if anyone was interested.

Don is a T'ai Chi instructor in the lineage of T.T. Liang, and he's been conducting "Tao of Dulcimer" retreats for several years now. He bills them as a "relaxed, friendly, and non-competitive" weekend of traditional music and elementary T'ai Chi exercises. "Most people find these retreats fun, as well as a source of inspiration and rejuvenation," he says. And the weekend lived up to his billing

So there was a lot of music, philosophy, meditation and -- really -- a Zen-like quality floating around the mountaintop all weekend. A couple of highlights:

  • On simplicity. Traditional North Carolina musician Frank Proffitt's reaction to Earl Scruggs' famous bluegrass banjo style: "Boy, I'd like to know how to do that, and not do it!"

  • Zen philosophy, in seven words. "We live. We die. Get over it."
Frank Proffitt played a variety of instruments, including the mountain dulcimer, but he was especially known as a master of the traditional Appalachian fretless banjo. So his opinion of Scruggs' flashy but influential banjo-picking style carries considerable weight.

Other highlights follow. In no particular order of importance.

The Cas Walker song

For people of a certain age, Cas Walker's singing commercial was as much a part of the Knoxville experience as the Midday Merry-Go-Round, J. Bazzel Mull's Singing Convention, Krystal hamburgers, Brother Jack's or bluegrass night at Buddy's Barbecue on Kingston Pike. And driving through Knoxville on my way to Carolina put me in a nostalgic frame of mind.

So the Cas Walker song is what popped into my head Friday night at the dulcimer retreat when I got stumped during a song circle.

And I was really stumped for a minute there. I don't know the common dulcimer jam tunes in DAD well enough to lead them, but one of the folks from a Nashville-area dulcimer club had just played a Dolly Parton song (I forget which one), and the first thing that came to mind was the way Dolly Parton her start on Walker's "Farm and Home Show." So I blurted out, "Well, there's always the Cas Walker song." It goes like this:

Pick up your morning paper when it hits the street,
Cas Walker's prices can't be beat.
Try our Blue Band coffee and you'll ask for more.
Do all your (grocery) shopping, at a Cas Walker store (2x)

Cas Walker, who was a grocer, a flamboyant politician and something of an impresario, went off the air more than 30 years ago, but even today there's a Cas Walker tribute band fronted by a guy who played on the TV show. Here's footage by Keith McDaniel of Secret City Films in nearby Oak Ridge, of "Cas Walker" with David West and the Cider Mountain Boys:

A Cas Walker impersonator?!?

But it's not a bad likeness, and the song comes on at 0:25. Dolly Parton sang it on her 1994 Heartsongs album.

I remember the chorus as "do all your shopping at a Cas Walker store," but others -- including Dolly Parton and Knoxville Metro Pulse staff writer Betty Bean, who wrote a fine profile of Walker for the entertainment magazine in 1998 shortly before his death, remember it as "do your grocery shopping." She describes it like this:

... For anyone past the age of 25, no memory of an East Tennessee childhood is complete without a Cas Walker's Farm and Home Hour vision of Red Rector's Vienna-sausage fingers flying over the mandolin strings and Honey Wilds' big mitts whaling on the little ukulele he called his chili dipper. There were David West's hot banjo licks and, clear as yesterday morning, Curly Dan Bailey's high, lonesome tenor soaring on the "Do your grocery shopping" part of the Farm and Home Hour theme song, with yodeling Claude Boone calling out "Say that again," and all of them standing in front of the big painting of Cas treeing a whole family of coons and joining in to harmonize on the " a Cas Walker store" finale.

Contributors to a nostalgia thread "Can Anyone tell me what happened to Archies Restaurant and Cas Walker Supermarkets?" on the website, also remember it that way. But Knoxville blogger Jack Mabe, who heard it played not long ago at a senior center north of Knoxville, remembers it as I do: "When Larry hit the high notes on Cas's song (Do all your shoppin' at the Cas Walker store...), I looked around the room and saw nothing but smiles." Larry Mathis and Bud Brewster, who also played on the show, were the featured guests.

Mabe also repeats a characteristic story of Walker's days on the Knoxville City Council, about " the time Cas showed up late for a Knoxville city council meeting." He was recalled after a short while as mayor, was immediately elected to the council and served there for many years.

"Mr. Walker..." the clerk said as Cas walked in the door.

"I'm agin' it," Cas replied.

The clerk was calling the roll.

The Farm and Home Show was on WBIR-TV for many years, and I'll bet it was played both ways at one time or another.

[For a WBIR-TV news special "Thumpin' Good: Cas Walker's Legacy in East Tennessee," click here and follow the links to embedded highlights from his show. Almost as famous as the "Pick up your morning paper ..." jingle, especially toward the end of Walker's career in the 1970s and early 80s, was the "Thumpin' Good" watermelon commercial, here sung by amateur YouTube user 22fast.]

Richard Farina

Don, who got his start playing the dulcimer when he heard Richard and Mimi Farina in concert in Cambridge, Mass., says Farina played the dulcimer mostly in DAA, and mostly with a noter. But not always. Don demonstrated -- on "Hamish" (?) -- how he'd dog-nose two-note chords. It's as much a way of getting more texture in the drone as it is chording, and "dog-nosing" probably isn't the correct term for it; that's what I called it in East Tennessee when we played parallel thirds by fretting the melody string with the index finger and trailing it two frets down on the middle string and strumming across all the strings. It also works to play parallel fourths or fifths in different tunings.

Some North Carolina tunes

  • "Asheville" -- a variant of "Flop-Eared Mule" but faster -- at least the way Don plays it -- and with more embellishment.
  • "Take the Train to Charlotte" -- essentially the same tune as "Going Down Town" or "Going Down to Lynchburg." Played in G, but sometimes traditionally in D.
  • "Christmas Goose" -- Don composed it one time in a recording studio, early in his career, to fill out a cassette tape. Aeolian mode.
  • "Sheepy and the Goat" -- Children's song. Pentatonic? DAD. Don taught it at a junior high school in western Carolina, came back a year later and the kids had all learned it from each other. Like a revival of the oral tradition.
"Sheepy" is a traditional song from western North Carolina (Watauga County?), anyway. It's on a CD of Doc Watson's family songs, at any rate. Don taught it at the spring "Tao of Dulcimer" retreat; it's one of those tunes that just get into everybody's head, and you can't get it out. I wanted to learn it after it came up Friday night at the song swap, but I didn't dare ask! The folks who were there at the spring retreat made it clear that anybody who got it started up again would get murdered, and no jury would convict.

Bum-ditty -- to the dump, to the dump ...

Don wishes the dulcimer clubs hadn't popularized the bum-ditty strum. He says it sounds mechanical, and it gets in the way of learning the actual rhythmic pulse of traditional Appalachian music. Which is less like BUM-ditty than ditty-BUM and sometimes more like this:

To the dump
To the dump
To the dump dump dump
... think: the theme from the "Lone Ranger" or Rossini's William Tell Overture. But try not to think too much about it. And don't try to reproduce it exactly. Don't try to reproduce anything note for note. It's all in the bowin'.

The rhythm is subtle. Don describes it as "an underlying current." And if it sounds like anything, it's more like ditty-BUM and diddley-BUM varied to fit the words and maintaining the underlying pulse of the tune with regular stressed in-strokes on BUM to keep the beat.

Don credits Nashville session fidder Tommy Jackson, who backed artists like Hank Williams Sr., Bill Monroe and George Jones in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, with popularizing it in the old-time and country music world. But Don doesn't find much evidence of it in the older traditional Appalachian fiddle tunes he collects.

Don's recommendation to us: Don't pay much attention to other dulcimer players; listen instead for the syncopated pulse in country and old-time Appalachian string band music; and subtly incorporate it into our playing. "The 'diddley-BUM' will fit in a club that's playing 'BUM-ditty' but not the other way around."

As far as Don knows, the term "bum-ditty" was first used not by a traditional musician but by folk revivalist Pete Seeger in a banjo instruction book he wrote in the 1960s. Jean Ritchie got dulcimer players to using it in her 1963 instruction book.

Tai Chi links and readings

Don's webpage has more, along with stick figures for some of the box exercises we learned at Wildacres, at But when I asked between sessions, he especially recommended two books:

  • T'ai Chi Ch'uan for Health and Self Defense by T.T. Liang -- at "In 1971 I took my first T'ai Chi lesson with Master Liang. In August of 2002 he passed on, at the age of one hundred and two. This book was written when Master Liang was in his seventies." (Don's webpage)

  • The Dao of Taijiquan: Way to Rejuvenation by Tsung Hwa Jou -- at "In depth presentation by an inspired teacher." (webpage)

When I asked Don at Wildacres, he also recommended T.T. Liang's Imagination Becomes Reality, but it lists for $120 new and from $45.63 used on Amazon.

Unrelated footnote on Brother Jack's barbecue

Nothing to do with the retreat, other than the fact I think about barbecue whenever I'm back home, but posted here so I don't lose the link. On a blog called The Meatwave, a recipe for an eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce that has all the essentials (and then some) -- vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper (but, please, *no ketchup, no matter what the recipe says) -- that I remember. They put theirs in a plastic squeeze bottle, which I would never do, and I'd boil it up with a big dollop of cooking oil and use it to baste meat on the grill. Link here:

It will never replace Brother Jack's, which I remember as Carolina-style barbecue that somehow made it over the mountains to Knoxville (and maybe picked up a a hint of cloves on the way). Link here and here for oblique hints at the secret recipe. But it will suffice.


* See the comments on the Meatwave recipe by Chris, "The fact that you added any ketchup will get you beat up by East NC diehards (ha ha). ...," and Ben, "Chris is correct. Typically, Eastern NC sauce only consists of vinegar, sugar, salt and hot sauce/peppers. So the ketchup is a no-no for Eastern NC style, if you want to stay traditional. I live in the piedmont, west of Charlotte, so our sauces normally consist of vinegar and ketchup."

All barbecue, to slightly misquote legendary U.S. House Speaker Tip O'Neill, is local.

I remember it both ways in restaurants around Knoxville, but much prefer a thin sauce without ketchup. If I recall correctly, people used to say Bro. Jack's had "Carolina style" barbecued chicken. The cooking oil gives it the texture it needs for a baste.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Excerpts from Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment (1867) -- on "Go in the Wilderness" and "Old Ship of Zion"

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Army Life in a Black Regiment, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Title: Army Life in a Black Regiment

Author: Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Release Date: March 23, 2009 [EBook #6764]
Last Updated: February 4, 2013

Chapter 5. Out on Picket

A regiment ordered on picket was expected to have reveille at daybreak, and to be in line for departure by sunrise. This delighted our men, who always took a childlike pleasure in being out of bed at any unreasonable hour; and by the time I had emerged, the tents were nearly all struck, and the great wagons were lumbering into camp to receive them, with whatever else was to be transported. The first rays of the sun must fall upon the line of these wagons, moving away across the wide parade-ground, followed by the column of men, who would soon outstrip them. But on the occasion which I especially describe the sun was shrouded, and, when once upon the sandy plain, neither camp nor town nor river could be seen in the dimness; and when I rode forward and looked back there was only visible the long, moving, shadowy column, seeming rather awful in its snake-like advance. There was a swaying of flags and multitudinous weapons that might have been camels' necks for all one could see, and the whole thing might have been a caravan upon the desert. Soon we debouched upon the "Shell Road," the wagon-train drew on one side into the fog, and by the time the sun appeared the music ceased, the men took the "route step," and the fun began.

A regiment ordered on picket was expected to have reveille at daybreak, and to be in line for departure by sunrise. This delighted our men, who always took a childlike pleasure in being out of bed at any unreasonable hour; and by the time I had emerged, the tents were nearly all struck, and the great wagons were lumbering into camp to receive them, with whatever else was to be transported. The first rays of the sun must fall upon the line of these wagons, moving away across the wide parade-ground, followed by the column of men, who would soon outstrip them. But on the occasion which I especially describe the sun was shrouded, and, when once upon the sandy plain, neither camp nor town nor river could be seen in the dimness; and when I rode forward and looked back there was only visible the long, moving, shadowy column, seeming rather awful in its snake-like advance. There was a swaying of flags and multitudinous weapons that might have been camels' necks for all one could see, and the whole thing might have been a caravan upon the desert. Soon we debouched upon the "Shell Road," the wagon-train drew on one side into the fog, and by the time the sun appeared the music ceased, the men took the "route step," and the fun began.

The "route step" is an abandonment of all military strictness, and nothing is required of the men but to keep four abreast, and not lag behind. They are not required to keep step, though, with the rhythmical ear of our soldiers, they almost always instinctively did so; talking and singing are allowed, and of this privilege, at least, they eagerly availed themselves. On this day they were at the top of exhilaration. There was one broad grin from one end of the column to the other; it might soon have been a caravan of elephants instead of camels, for the ivory and the blackness; the chatter and the laughter almost drowned the tramp of feet and the clatter of equipments. At cross-roads and plantation gates the colored people thronged to see us pass; every one found a friend and a greeting. "How you do, aunty?" "Huddy (how d'ye), Budder Benjamin?" "How you find yourself dis mor-nin', Tittawisa (Sister Louisa)?" Such saluations rang out to everybody, known or unknown. In return, venerable, kerchiefed matrons courtesied laboriously to every one, with an unfailing "Bress de Lord, budder." Grave little boys, blacker than ink, shook hands with our laughing and utterly unmanageable drummers, who greeted them with this sure word of prophecy, "Dem's de drummers for de nex' war!" Pretty mulatto girls ogled and coquetted, and made eyes, as Thackeray would say, at half the young fellows in the battalion. Meantime the singing was brisk along the whole column, and when I sometimes reined up to see them pass, the chant of each company, entering my ear, drove out from the other ear the strain of the preceding. Such an odd mixture of things, military and missionary, as the successive waves of song drifted by. First, "John Brown," of course; then, "What make old Satan for follow me so?" then, "Marching Along"; then, "Hold your light on Canaan's shore"; then, "When this cruel war is over" (a new favorite, sung by a few); yielding presently to a grand burst of the favorite marching song among them all, and one at which every step instinctively quickened, so light and jubilant its rhythm,—

"All true children gwine in de wilderness,
Gwine in de wilderness, gwine in de wilderness,
True believers gwine in de wilderness,
To take away de sins ob de world," —

Chapter 9. Negro Spirituals

* * *

Their best marching song, and one which was invaluable to lift their feet along, as they expressed it, was the following. There was a kind of spring and lilt to it, quite indescribable by words.


"Jesus call you. Go in de wilderness,
Go in de wilderness, go in de wilderness,
Jesus call you. Go in de wilderness
To wait upon de Lord.
Go wait upon de Lord,
Go wait upon de Lord,
Go wait upon de Lord, my God,
He take away de sins of de world.

"Jesus a-waitin'. Go in de wilderness,
Go, &c.
All dem chil'en go in de wilderness
To wait upon de Lord."

* * *

Among the songs not available for marching, but requiring the concentrated enthusiasm of the camp, was "The Ship of Zion," of which they had three wholly distinct versions, all quite exuberant and tumultuous.


"Come along, come along,
And let us go home,
O, glory, hallelujah?
Dis de ole ship o' Zion,
Halleloo! Halleloo!
Dis de ole ship o' Zion,

"She has landed many a tousand,
She can land as many more.
O, glory, hallelujah! &c.

"Do you tink she will be able
For to take us all home?
O, glory, hallelujah! &c.

"You can tell 'em I'm a comin',
Halleloo! Halleloo!
You can tell 'em I'm a comin',
Come along, come along," &c.

XXIX. THE SHIP OF ZION. (Second version.)

"Dis de good ole ship o' Zion,
Dis de good ole ship o' Zion,
Dis de good ole ship o' Zion,
And she's makin' for de Promise Land.
She hab angels for de sailors, (Thrice.)
And she's, &c.
And how you know dey's angels? (Thrice.)
And she's, &c.
Good Lord, Shall I be one? (Thrice.)
And she's, &c.

"Dat ship is out a-sailin', sailin', sailin',
And she's, &c.
She's a-sailin' mighty steady, steady, steady,
And she's, &c.
She'll neither reel nor totter, totter, totter,
And she's, &c.
She's a-sailin' away cold Jordan, Jordan, Jordan,
And she's, &c.
King Jesus is de captain, captain, captain,
And she's makin' for de Promise Land."

XXX. THE SHIP OF ZION. (Third version.)

"De Gospel ship is sailin',
O, Jesus is de captain,
De angels are de sailors,
O, is your bundle ready?
O, have you got your ticket?

This abbreviated chorus is given with unspeakable unction.

The three just given are modifications of an old camp-meeting melody; and the same may be true of the three following, although I cannot find them in the Methodist hymn-books. ...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Jan Nederveen Pieterse on hybridity, creolization, "crossover culture," world music / cf. Sterling Brown on 19th-century spirituals as a hybrid art form; Ulf Hannerz on Turner's frontier thesis

Jan Nederveen Pieterse (YAN NAYderv'n PEterseh)

Nederveen Pieterse is a Dutch scholar, author of wide-ranging books on globalization, cultural studies, formerly of universities in the Netherlands and Africa and UIUC, now on the faculty at the University of California Santa Barbara

"Globalization goes in circles: Hybridities East-West." In Dominique Schirmer, Gernot Saalmann, Christl Kessler, eds, Hybridising East and West, Münster: LIT Verlag, 2006.

[Money quote: "In the United States, crossover culture denotes the adoption of black cultural characteristics by European Americans and of white elements by African Americans." ***

Hybridity has become a prominent theme because it matches a world of intensive intercultural communication, growing migration and diaspora lives, everyday multiculturalism, and the erosion of boundaries at least in some spheres.New hybrid forms are indicators of profound changes that are taking place because of mobility, migration and multiculturalism. However, hybridity thinking also concerns existing or, so to speak, old hybridity, and thus involves different ways of looking at historical and existing cultural and institutional arrangements. This suggests not only that things are no longer the way they used to be but were never really the way they used to be, or used to be viewed. (1)

If practices of mixing are as old as the hills, the thematization of mixing as a perspective is fairly new and dates from the 1980s. In a wider sense it includes the idea of bricolage in culture and art. Dada made mixing objects and perspectives its hallmark and inspired the collage. Surrealism moved further along these lines and so do conceptual and installation art. Psychoanalysis brought together widely diverse phenomena—such as dreams, jokes, Freudian slips and symbols—under new headings relevant to psychological diagnosis.

While hybridity may be unremarkable in itself, the critical contribution of hybridity as a theme is that it questions boundaries that are taken for granted. Thus, hybridity is noteworthy from the viewpoint of boundaries that are considered essential or insurmountable.

Hybridity is an important theme also in that it represents one of three major approaches to globalization and culture. One is the idea that global culture is becoming increasingly standardized and uniform (as in McDonaldization); second is the idea that globalization involves a ‘clash of civilizations’; and third is globalization as hybridization or the notion that globalization produces new combinations and mixtures. The hybridity view holds that cultural experiences past and present have not been simply moving in the direction of cultural synchronization. Cultural synchronization does take place, for instance in technological change, but countercurrents include the impact nonwestern cultures have on the West and the influence nonwestern cultures exercise on one another. The cultural convergence view ignores the local reception of western culture, the indigenization of western elements, and the significance of crossover culture and `third cultures' such as world music. It overrates the homogeneity of western culture and overlooks that many of the cultural traits exported by the West are themselves of culturally mixed character if we examine their lineages. (2)

Creole languages and creolization in linguistics was the next field to engage social science interest. Creolization came to describe the interplay of cultures and cultural forms (Hannerz 1992). In the Caribbean and North America creolization stands for the mixture of African and European elements (as in the Creole cuisine of New Orleans) while in Latin America criollo originally denotes those of European descent born in the continent. The appeal of creolization is that it goes against the grain of nineteenth-century racism and the accompanying abhorrence of métissage as miscegenation, as in the view that race mixture leads to decadence and decay for in every mixture the lower element would be bound to predominate. The cult of racial purity involves the fear of and disdain for the half- [3] caste. By foregrounding the mestizo, the mixed and in-between, creolization highlights what has been hidden and values boundary crossing. The Latin American term mestizaje also refers to boundary crossing mixture. Since the early 1900s, however, this served as an élite ideology of ‘whitening' or Europeanization; through the gradual `whitening' of the population and culture Latin America was supposed to achieve modernity. In the United States, crossover culture denotes the adoption of black cultural characteristics by European Americans and of white elements by African Americans. A limitation of these terms is that they are confined to the experience of the post-sixteenth century Americas and typically focus on `racial’ mixing. (2-3)

"Negro Folk Expression: Spirituals, Seculars, Ballads and Work Songs" by Sterling Brown

THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON, one of the very first to pay respectful attention to the Negro spiritual; called it a startling flower growing in dark soil. Using his figure, we might think of this flower as a hybrid, as the American Negro is a hybrid. And though flowers of its family grew in Africa, Europe, and other parts of America, this hybrid bloom is uniquely beautiful.

A large amount of recent scholarship has proved that the spirituals are not African, either in music or meaning (a claim made once with partisan zeal), that the American Negro was influenced by the religious music of rural America from the Great Awakening on, that at the frontier camp meetings he found to his liking many tunes both doleful and brisk, and that he took over both tunes and texts and refashioned them more to his taste. But careful musicologists, from studying phonograph records of folk singing rather than, as earlier, inadequate, conventional notations of "art" spirituals, are coming around to the verdict of Alan Lomax that "no amount of scholarly analysis and discussion can ever make a Negro spiritual sound like a white spiritual."

Quotes on hybridity

Cf. Yim Tan Lisa Wong, "Hybridity & Postcolonial Music." 1997. Postcolonial Studies @ Emory "Examples of musical hybrids abound as the post-colonial period of history reigns. The colonized and the colonists affected and influenced one another. The diaspora of migrants contribute to the fusion of different cultures’ musical instruments, structure, and sound. The result of the hybrid musical forms demonstrates a new world sound, one that can not be compartmentalized according to land, language, and political borders."

Ulf Hannerz, "Flows, Boundaries and Hybrids: Keywords in Transnational Anthropology"‎

Flux, mobility, recombination and emergence have become favored themes as globalization and transnationality frequently offer the contexts for our thinking about culture. We now look for test sites of theory where some, at least, of the inhabitants are creoles, cosmopolitans, or cyborgs, where communities are diasporas, and where boundaries do not really contain, but are more often interestingly crossed. Borderlands are often where the action is, and hybridity and collage are among our preferred words for characterizing qualities in people and their products.

* * *

...The American historian Frederick Jackson Turner's (/1893/1961) writings a hundred years ago set in motion a small, mostly 9 14 North American but for some time also transnational and comparative academic industry. For Turner, the moving frontier had been a region of opportunity - forever more wilderness turning into free land, where pioneers were self-reliant but could also join together without the constraints of the traditions and inequalities they had left behind, without the burden of a heritage:

The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. (Turner 1961: 39)

Later critics have pointed out that Turner's frontier history could serve as an American myth, even as a symbolic tool of domestic cultural debate between the established East and the changing West. No doubt, from Turner to John F. Kennedy's 1960s New Frontier, the idea of the frontier has had largely favorable connotations in American culture, pointing toward the future, suggesting an environment of progress and opportunity which committed and able human beings can shape for themselves.

In the sense which Turner put into scholarly circulation, however, the frontier has at the same time stood for a particular historical form of globalization: the expansion and settlement of Europeans in other parts of the world. Inside Europe, Turner noted, a frontier would be "a 15 fortified boundary line running through dense populations". In Latin America, in Australia and in Southern Africa, just as in North America, the frontier was between what counted and what did not count; wilderness. If there were indigenous inhabitants there, to the extent that they entered into frontier imagery, they too were wild. Indeed, as Turner suggests, "the wilderness masters the colonist" as well. He is stripped of the superfluous baggage of civilization. The frontier, in this view, becomes primarily an ecological zone, rather more than one of a confluence of cultural streams.

Anyway, here we are now, with hybridity, collage, mélange, hotchpotch, synergy, bricolage, creolization, mestizaje, mongrelization, syncretism, transculturation, third cultures and what have you ...


Jim Leseman "The Creolization of Migrant Music " Published 30 Oct 2009. - dead link

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. 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."

His Linkedin profile page cites [Paper] The Creolization of Migrant Music, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where he read for MSc / drs., Sociology, 2008 – 2010.

Monday, October 07, 2013

"Roll Jordan, Roll" Port Royal, S.C., 1862 / notes on "blue tonality" and misc. videos of Jamaican religious ceremonies, American gospel and Italian orchestral arrangements


"Roll Jordan, Roll," not the gospel quartet version popularized most recently by the Fairfield Four but the original version sung in 1862 by freed slaves behind Union lines in South Carolina, works beautifully on a mountain dulcimer in DAD or another Mixolydian tuning. Collected by Lucy McKim (later Mrs. Wendell Garrison) on a visit to Port Royal, S.C., with her father in June 1862. In 1867 she would provide notation for Slave Songs of the United States and is listed on the title page as a co-author. Excellent bio by Margaret Hope Bacon (1987) PDF] lucy mckim garrison pioneer in folk music - Pennsylvania History‎

In 1862 at the age of 19, she published a letter discussing "Roll Jordan" and others she heard in Port Royal:

The editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music published a letter [Nov. 8, 1862] from Miss Lucy McKim, of Philadelphia, accompanying a specimen of the songs in vogue among the [N]egroes about Port Royal. Miss McKim accompanied her father thither on a recent visit, and wrote as follows :

It is difficult to express the entire character of these [N]egro ballads by mere musical notes and signs. The odd turns made in the throat, and the curious rhythmic effect produced by single voices chiming in at different irregular intervals, seem almost as impossible to place on score as the singing of birds or the tones of an Æolian harp. The airs, however, can be reached. They are too decided not to be easily understood, and their striking originality would catch the ear of any musician. Besides this, they are valuable as an expression of the character and life of the race which is playing such a conspicuous part in our history. The wild, sad strains tell, as the sufferers themselves never could, of crushed hopes, keen sorrow, and a dull, daily misery which covered them as hopelessly as the fog from the rice-swamps. On the other hand, the words breathe a trusting faith in rest in the future—in “Canaan‘s fair and happy land,” to which their eyes seem constantly turned.

* * *

Perhaps the grandest singing we heard was at the Baptist Church, on St. Helena Island, when a congregation of three hundred men and women joined in a hymn:

“Roll, Jordan, roll, Jordan!
Roll, Jordan, roll!”
It swelled forth like a triumphal anthem. That same hymn was [later] sung by thousands of [N]egroes on the Fourth of July last, when they marched in procession under the Stars and Stripes, cheering them for the first time as the “flag of our country.” A friend, writing from there, says that the chorus was indescribably grand — “that the whole woods and world seemed joining in that rolling sound.”

There is much more in this new and curious music of which it is a temptation to write, but I must remember that it can speak for itself, better than any one for it.

Source: Anecdotes, Poetry and Incidents of the War: North and South, 1860-1865, Collected and Arranged by Frank Moore. 1867. Mike Goad, "Music of the Port Royal Negroes," Anecdotes & Images, Chronicles of the Civil War.

"blue(s) tonality"

The term is Marshall Stearns' ...

The tonality of "Roll Jordan, Roll" is ambiguous, seems to go from Mixolydian to major (Ionian) modes. Published in D, it has both a C-natural in the melody and a C-sharp leading to the keynote at the end of the A part. The B part is straight-forward D major. There's also a variant in the A part where the F-sharp is lowered to an F-natural. I don't want to go overboard with this, but these are the degrees of the scale we'll find in blues a few decades later. Says Marshall W. Stearns, a jazz afficionado who taught at NYU and authored an influential history of jazz:

To be technical, two areas in the octave -- the third and the seventh in the scale (E-glat and B-flat in the scale of C) -- are attacked with an endless variety of swoops, glides, slurs, smears , and glosses. In other words, a singer, or instrumentalist, takes certain notes and cradles and caresses them lovingly.

With the addition of a few blue notes, the entire harmony becomes blue and blue tonality results. It occurs in almost all American Negro music, vocal and instrumental, [8] and especially in jazz. It can be heard in the field holler and the work song, the spiritual and gospel, minstrelsy and ragtime. Above all, you can hear it in the bittersweet mixture of the blues. But it doesn't stop there. Many Tin Pan Alley tunes are saturated with it and several classical composers have dabbled in it. Blue tonality has colored America's musical life. (7-8)

Marshall W. Stearns, The Story of Jazz. New York: Oxford, 1956.

More on blue notes ...

By Sterling Brown, early to mid-20th century African American poet, critic and folklorist ...

Around themes of hard-luck, desperation, ironic contrasts between the hope and the actuality—"the blues ain't nothing but the poor man's heart disease"—grew up the Negro’s secular songs of sorrow. Musically the blues were suited to carry the burden of grief. Comprising twelve or occasionally sixteen bars, involving certain simple harmonic changes, stressing the "blue note" in which the third and seventh are not pitched steadily but waver between flat and natural, they brought a poignance to American music. They lend themselves to improvisation and are basic to much hot jazz.
"Stray Notes on Jazz," Vassar Brew (1946).

A useful analysis on YouTube. A graduate of Portland State University in Oregon, Danny Cauldle has fronted several bands and "played at fairs, farmers markets, busking on the street, bars, clubs, talent shows and private gigs" in Oregon and California. He now works for a home care agency in Fresno, Calif., and has an online project to post 1,000 videos to YouTube.

Of "Roll Jordan, Roll," Cauldle says, "I wanted to explore the melodies of the slave songs of the United States. The Spiritual melody is centered around the pentatonic scale and generally stays with 1 key swaying from major mode to minor mode. In the 3rd bar we sing a C-natural (flat-7) with lends itself to many options. The most easy and obvious is a D7 chord functioning as V7/IV." Very good! He understands the modality of the tune, and I'm intrigued by the steps he explains for memorizing a song ... whistling it gives you a tactile sense of whether the pitch is going up or down?!? Well, why wouldn't it?

Post #386 | Slave Songs Of The United States | Roll, Jordan, Roll | Spiritual | By Danny Caudle

Instrumental performance of the original version from Slave Songs played on a fretless minstrel-style banjo by Tim Twiss of Milford Music, Highland, Mich. Twis has a lot of early banjo music.

Notes from radio interview with Jim Thomas, director of the Slave Songs Project, who sang with the Fisk Jubilee Singers ... see article in the Martha's Vinyard Times on Thomas, founder and president of the Martha's Vineyard-based U.S. Slave Song Project, w/ link to his website at

Thomas discusses the song and sings a passage from the Jubilee Singers' version beginning at 12:00. Says of the early spirituals, "They're personal stories of groups of people who were ripped away from Africa." Believes RJR one of two earliest songs because it preserves an echo of crossing the Atlantic. The other is "Deep River."

US SLAVE SONGS PROJECT.mpg. Radio Interview with Jim Thomas, Slave Songs/Spirituals Expert. Interview Black History Month, February 2011 on WFVA NewsTalk 1230, Fredericksburg/Stafford, Virginia by Bob Hagan, host of the TownHall program.

Quotes taken down while watching video ...

"There has not been a new slave song since 1865."

ca. 6:00 "This was a group of teenagers who were told not to talk to each other during the work day. And they found a way to communicate. " -- cf. texting "The slaves found this common way to communicate that resembles texting."

3 ways adapted from different parts of Africa -- call and response -- slow sustained chords -- syncopated

c-and-r cf. Greek chorus

They saw the master and mistress were moved by that language [of the church], And they could use that language to comunicate with each other and not be detected.

A variant of "Roll Jordan, Roll" by the Fisk University Jubilee Singers was popularized with different lyrics but (at least to my ear) a similar tonality, and it became the one we usually hear today. Not available on YouTube, except as noted above in Jim Thomas' radio interview. A 1920s-era recording by the Fisk Jubilee Quartet is available at

An Italian orchestral arrangement ...

Roll Jordan Roll (spiritual tradizionale - elaborazione di F.Rossi) Loggia dei Cavalieri, Treviso.

Direttore : M° Francesco Rossi Voci Soliste: Laura Bellio - Giovanni Frasson Coro Vox Nova di Silea - Coro E. Montale di San Donà di Piave Orchestra E. Montale di San Donà di Piave: Flauto traverso: M° Riccardo Agnoletto, Gaia Roberta Parcianello Clarinetto: Carlo Sutto Tromba: Luigi Terracciano Violini: Sara Boem, Beatrice Borriello, Davide Bragato, Elena Degan Violoncelli: M° Caterina Pillon, Eleonora Ziggiotti Chitarra classica: Giacomo Pavan Chitarra elettrica: Andrea Artico, Lorenzo Zemolin Batteria e percussioni: Paolo Furlan Pianoforte: Arianna de Stefani, Francesco Rossi

A couple of the many gospel arrangements ...

Roll, Jordan, Roll - Mahalia Jackson - Gospels, Spirituals & Hymns

Nashville Bluegrass Band & Fairfield 4 - Roll Jordan Roll

In Jamaica, Fisk Jubilee Singers' words but in a context more like that of West African religious ceremony, ring shout, etc. ...

GEORGE BANTON-ROLL JORDAN ROLL LIVE IN CANADA. No description. Apparently a concert for Jamaican expats. Cf. Fairfield Four.

Zion Sacred Heart Roll Jordan Roll. No description available. Anniversary celebration at a church in Jamaica? In comments:

"Azizi Powell 7 months ago Thanks for posting this video. I added it to a post on my cultural blog. Google Pancocojams [] Jamaican Songs About The River Jordan (Part I). That post includes some information about two other Jamaican "Roll Jordan Roll" & "Roll River Jordan" songs.
I couldn't find the lyrics to this song, & so I transcribed the words from this video. Additions & corrections are very welcome. Thanks again & God bless!

Jamaican man dancing to roll Jordan roll at a nine-night.

Jamaican Traditional Wake (Nine Night). One of the strongest Jamaican traditions concerning death, is that of a wake, also called Nine Night or Set Up. Nine-Nights are no longer a time to mourn but a time to celebrate since the loved one is no longer suffering in life. When friends come they do not come with just condolences they come with food, drink and music; this is after all a celebration.

Friday, October 04, 2013

"Where the Notes are on a Dulcimer" -- revised tip sheet for Clayville

Blast email sent out to my Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music list this morning ...
Hi everybody --

Last night I sent out a tip sheet for beginners titled "Where the Notes are on a Dulcimer," and I should have proof-read it one more time! So if you printed it out, please throw out the hard copy. And if you haven't yet, please delete it. There's a pretty egregious error in it, and I'm attaching herewith a revised copy.

(I won't tell you what the error was. When I wrote for newspapers, I learned to *never* repeat the error when I was writing a correction. But if it were left uncorrected, it would have you playing in something called the "mixolydian mode." I love mixolydian tunes, and I'm fascinated with modal harmony. But we don't need to get into it in a tip sheet for beginners!)

So here's the revised version of "Where the Notes are on a Dulcimer." Basically it shows you how to find the different notes of a D major scale on a mountain dulcimer. Since I tend to lose handouts or stick them in the wrong bookbag when I'm headed out to a jam session, I've also scanned it and posted the JPEG to my blog ...