Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Jamaica Farewell" -- a standard from the '50s for this week's Prairieland Strings and Clayville Academy sessions

Back by popular demand --

A few weeks ago at Clayville, we started playing "Jamaica Farewell" by ear, and we didn't do such a bad job with it. After all, it's one our Prairieland Dulcimer Strings group used to play in an earlier incarnation. But we were a little rusty, especially on the words.

I mean, c'mon, what is *akee rice anyway?

So I said I'd find the dulcimer tab and send around a link. Here it is, with standard notation and guitar chords, on Shelley Stevens' website:

She posted it to her tab archives in September 2006.

We have two sessions of the Prairieland Strings/Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music coming up this week:

  • From 7 to 9 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church (formerly Atonement, Faith and Luther Memoria), 2800 West Jefferson, Springfield.
  • From 10 a.m. to noon at Clayville Historic Stagecoach Stop, Ill. Rte. 125, Pleasant Plains.

The song was on Belafonte's classic 1956 LP album Calypso. It is credited to Lord Burgess (Irving Louis Burgie), who wrote eight of the 11 songs on Calypso. His mother was Barbados and his father was from Virginia. Wikipedia's article on Belafonte says this about the songs" Many of the compositions recorded for Calypso, including 'Banana Boat Song' and 'Jamaica Farewell', gave songwriting credit to Irving Burgie, Belafonte and his team, but were really previously recorded [traditional] Jamaican mento songs sold as calypso.

Wikipedia's article on "Jamaica Farewell," which is unusually informative even for Wikipedia and is probably definitive, says this:

Though many, including Belafonte himself, have said that the song was popular in the West Indies since long before Burgess, it is believed that Burgess compiled and modified the song from many folk pieces to make a new song, and it is clear that it was Belafonte who popularised the song outside the Caribbean Islands. Burgess acknowledged his use of the tune of another mento, "Iron Bar"

As far as I'm concerned, that settles it. Here's the original verison, uploaded by YouTube user Arup Chakraborty:


* Wikipedia's article on "Jamaica Farewell" has this: "The term "Ackee" from the line "ackee, rice, saltfish is nice" refers to the fruit of a tropical tree indigenous to the Ivory Coast and Gold Coast of West Africa; taken to Jamaica in 1793. It has some poisonous properties, yet if properly prepared the fruit is quite good and is a part of the national dish 'ackee and saltfish'."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Peace Lutheran Church -- contemporary service -- Saturday, July 30 (Pentecost XI)


The Power Of The Cross (Live) Travis Cottrell - Topic

Our contemporary service is at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 30, at Peace Lutheran Church (formerly Atonement, Faith and Luther Memorial), 2800 West Jefferson, Springfield.

Call to Worship/Gathering Music: "One True God"

Worship Set:

Creed: "We Believe"

sung Lord's Prayer

Closing Song: "I Will Follow"


* Michelle: "The Power of the Cross" is new. Rob or I will lead on the verses, and the other of us and you will help do the echo with the congregation. We may introduce the chorus first (not sure yet) and we'll build the bridge in kinda like they do on the recording -- congregation will join after hearing the first two times.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gunnar Fredelius -- Psalmodikon med en Låt efter Joel Janson (It's all in the bowing, Part ___)

Psalmodikon med en Låt efter Joel Janson. Gunnar Fredelius


Låt efter Perols gudmund efter Nylands Erik med Gunnar Fredelius och Sven Nordin. The text in the video is wrong. We both play the 3 row kind of nyckelharpa at this one!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Two children's songs about cats, "Warm Kitty" and "Lille Katt" (little cat in Swedish)


"Lille Katt" (little cat), in Emil i Lönneberga

Mike Anderson has a lovely children's song up on Facebook, and it reminds me of an equally lovely song from a Swedish movie adaptation of a book by Astrid Lindgren. The book is Emil i Lönneberga, and the song is called "Lille Katt" (little cat), sung by Emil's sister Ada.

But first, Mike's song:

Mike posted it to Facebook yesterday, saying, "This tune has become a regular part of my shows (adults and kids!) I am amazed how much I have changed the words. I need to relearn the words the kids wrote; they are much better!!"

Lille katt, lille katt, lille söte katta. Vet du att, vet du att, de blir mörkt om natta. Lille gris, lille gris, lille söte grisen. Om du frys, om du frys, så gör eld i spisen. Lille ko, lille ko, lille söte koa. De va ho, de va ho, ho som sket på broa. Lille mor, lille mor, lille söte mora. Ho fick skor, ho fick skor, men dom va för stora. Lille far, lille far, lille söte faren. En sån karl, en sån karl, de e tur vi har'en. Little cat , little cat, Little katta the honeymoon . Do you know that , you know , they become dark if stay overnight. Little pig , little pig, the honeymoon little pig. If you freeze , you freeze , so does the fire in the fireplace . Little cow , little cow, little the honeymoon koa . They huh , ho, ho va , trough shat on broa . Little mother , little mother, little the honeymoon mora . Ho got shoes , ho got shoes, but judgment va large . Little father , little father, the honeymoon little sheep. What a man , what a man , e the turn we har'en . Read more: LetsSingIt - Your favorite Music Community

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Down in Union County" as played by Charlie Acuff, arguably East Tennessee's best old-time fiddle player

Charlie Acuff interviewed by John Rice Irwin

In this interview at Irwin's Museum of Appalachia on Highway 61 near Norris, he and Acuff discuss Charlie's father and fiddle-maker Fate Cassidy, comparing Everett Acuff's fiddles to Uncle Fate's. Then they play a tune -- "Down in Union County to see Mrs. Suzy Ann."

Acuff died in 2013 at the age of 93. He worked at the Alcoa Inc. aluminum plant in Alcoa, Tenn., and played in Knoxville-area bands for many years. Old-time musicians considered his style to be less commercial than that of musicians who moved to Nashville and played in the growing country music industry. He was revered by younger musicians, especially after the old-time music revival that began in the 1970s and continues to the present.

"Over the years his gentle spirit and steadfast love for old-time music has inspired scores of younger players, a number of whom will be on hand to play for his birthday party," said staff writer Morgan Simmons of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, when his 90th birthday was celebrated in 2009 at the Music Row store outside of Maryville.

Simmons said Acuff had been hospitalized recently, but:

"We decided to go ahead with the event even if we have to take Charlie down in a wheelchair," said Juanita Johnson, who has played bass with Acuff for the past 30 years. "The doctors are optimistic he'll be able to make it."

Like his second cousin, country music legend Roy Acuff, Charlie grew up in Union County. At age 12 he learned to fiddle from his grandfather, Charlie Boyd Acuff, whose repertory included "Josie Girl" and "Cricket on the Hearth" - tunes that date back to the Civil War.

In 1938 Acuff began playing on Knoxville radio with his brother, Gayle, backing him up on guitar. For 14 years he played fiddle with the old-time band the Lantana Drifters, and in 1985 he received the Tennessee Governor's Award in the Arts.

His last public performance was in October at the Museum of Appalachia's Fall Homecoming. Accompanying him on guitar that day was 30-year-old John Alvis, who has been playing with Acuff since he was 12 years old.

"Charlie has never been one to turn down a gig," Alvis said. "He still gets that twinkle in his eyes. All he has to do is walk out on stage, and the crowd loves it."

According to an unsigned obituary in the Maryville paper:

Acuff received a Tennessee Governor’s Award in the Arts in a 2005 ceremony that also included Memphis soul legend Isaac Hayes. Roy Garrett, who owned Roy’s Record Shop in downtown Maryville for 42 years before closing the store in 2005, said Acuff was a longtime customer.

Garrett said he would visit venues where Acuff was playing and he was oftentimes invited onstage to play alongside the southpaw fiddler.

“I didn’t play a whole lot back then,” Garrett said. “But he knew that I did and he would always invite me up to do a song or two with him when they were playing.”

Garrett said Acuff had a large number of fans in the area and was an extremely likeable person with a great personality.

He said musician and songwriter John Hartford, who died in 2001, learned a great deal of Old Time fiddle tunes from Acuff.

“John’s well known for knowing a lot of Old Time fiddle tunes,” Garrett said. “But John learned a lot of (those) tunes from Charlie. When someone like Charlie dies out, they take a lot of Old Time fiddle tunes out with them in their head.”

Another Performance

Roger Howell - Lunsford Festival 2015 - "Down in Union County."

At the daytime portion of the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival at Mars Hill University, in Mars Hill, N.C., Oct. 24, 2015. Master fiddler Roger Howell playing and singing "Down in Union County." Other musicians are Bobby Hicks on the fiddle, Mike Hunter on the mandolin, Brian Hunter on the guitar, and John Davis on the bass.

Works Cited

"Lefty Fiddler Charlie Acuff Dies," Maryville (Tenn.) Daily Times, Nov. 23, 2013.

Morgan Simmons. "Event to Recognize Fiddler Charlie Acuff's 90th Birthday."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dulcimer arrangements of a couple of Mixolydian tunes -- "June Apple" and "Rocky Top" -- for Thursday's Clayville-Prairieland session

David Schnauffer and Butch Baldassari playing "June Apple"

We've been playing a couple of tunes lately in the Mixolydian mode, "Over the Waterfall" and "Down the River I Go, Uncle Joe." It's like the good old major do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do mode we learned in elementary school, but with a flatted seventh -- "ti" in the do-re-mi scale -- that gives a lot of those old southern Appalachian ballads and fiddle tunes their distinctive high lonesome sound.

So this week I'd like to highlight a couple of other Mixolydian tunes:

  • June Apple. Dulcimer tab at by Ron Zuckerman or at by Barbara Feick. I's also in Steve Seifert's "Join the Jam." If you read music, you'll notice Zuckerman's looks like it's in G, and Feick's looks like it's in D (but with the C-sharp of a D scale flatted down to C-Natural). Relax -- it's just two ways of writing the same thing, the flatted seventh that gives the tune its high lonesome sound. If you don't read music, don't worry about it. Just play the C chords.

  • Rocky Top. Available at on the Bellingham (Wash.) Dulcimer Club website. (Scroll down directory to "Rocky Top" to open PDF document.) It's more of a bluegrass tune, an Osborne Brothers hit from 1967, but "paper-trained" music readers will notice that C-natural in the key of D. That's the flatted seventh that makes it Mixolydian. And if you don't read music, just play the C chord that gives the song its wild mountain music flavor.

Our meeting is from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Peace Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson.

Some video clips on YouTube.

  • Doc Watson and David Holt playing"June Apple" -- filmed in 1988 at his Merle Fest gathering, named for his late son Merle Watson:

  • Mountain dulcimers playing "Rocky Top" -- Radella Ashton and Bing Futch at their dulcimer festival, JAM'N'QUE:

    Osborne Brothers performing "Rocky Top" on TV in 1967:

More sources on creolization, religion, syncretism

Charles Stewart. "From Creolization to Syncretism: Climbing the Ritual Ladder." Department of Anthropology, University College London.

page 4:

pages 7-8:

Joshua Roth 2007 study of Brazilian workers in Japan == participation in a kite-flying ritual -- took part, added Samba drumming to the ritual (pp. 10-11) -- and this discussion on pp. 13-14:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Planxty Bill Monroe"

Tater Tate with Bill Monroe - Jerusalem Ridge

Outtakes from an article I'm finishing on Don Pedi's "Tao of Dulcimer" retreats ...

(Better not say anything more about the story, though, since I'm writing it on spec and don't want to jinx it.)

Actually, this one is the only outtake.

I tried and I tried, but I couldn't fit it into the article without going way out on a tangent. And it's too good not to get down in black in white.

So here it is.

It came up at the spring retreat back in April when we were going around the circle calling tunes, and someone called the Bill Monroe standard "Jerusalem Ridge." It's not exactly Don's style of music. But we retuned to EAD (which put us in E-minor), and by golly we played it.

And that's when I learned in Ireland "Jerusalem Ridge" is sometimes called "Planxty Bill Monroe."

Made my day.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Contemporary worship music for Peace Lutheran's "blended" service July 17 (Pentecost IX) -- with a self-indulgent little footnote on Chris Tomlin's Psalm 100 and memories of Anglican chant

Not exactly the Jubilate Deo I grew up with, but it's a nice song!

Official Lyric/Chord video for “Psalm 100” by Chris Tomlin

This service is one of three or four "blended" services that bring together parishioners and musicians from the contemporary and traditional services at Peace Lutheran Church (formerly Atonement, Faith and Luther Memorial), 2800 West Jefferson, Springfield, the Rev. Paul Schwartzkopf officiating. It will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, July 17.

Some notes to the contemporary praise team follow with links to our part(s) in the service:

Call to Worship: "Psalm 100" (we are doing it in a different key than Chris Tomlin does it on the video ...)

Hymn of Praise: (after the greeting) "Holy Holy Holy (God with Us)"

The Hymn of the Day for the 17th is "Seek Ye First" - we're not leading it, but many of you might be familiar with it

"Lord's Prayer"

Songs during Communion:

Closing/Sending Song: "My Life is in You" (ties right in to Paul's message for the day)

* * *

Psalm 100: What a long, strange trip, to quote Jerry Garcia, it's been

"Jubilate Deo" (Morning Prayer) @ St. John's Detroit

Jubilate Deo in the Anglican tradition Here, at right, are the settings for Psalm 100 (Jubilate Deo) in the Episcopal Hymnal of 1940. The title is the Latin for the first line, "O be joyful in the Lord all ye lands" in the translation of the 1928 prayer book that went with the 1940 hymnal, which is the one I knew (and still catch myself repeating when we recite the creed in a different denomination more than 50 years later)! It's traditionally part of Morning Prayer, and I think we chanted it every Sunday. Most Sundays, at any rate.

There are numerous settings of the canticles floating around, some dating back to Thomas Tallis and the English Reformation. The one recorded above at St. John's Episcopal Church in Detroit is close to the one I remember from St. Francis Episcopal Mission in Norris, Tenn.

St. John's, which is holding out against all odds in downtown Detroit, makes it part of its mission and ministry to maintain the Anglican liturgical tradition. (More on the St. John's website at They have some gorgeous video clips on YouTube, if you like the "high-church" Episcopal or Anglo-Catholic musical tradition.

A canticle is simply a "little song" -- that's what the word means in English -- that was sung, or chanted during the service. We weren't particularly high church at St. Francis (or weren't until we went off to church camp down on Sewanee Mountain and came home from camp with high-falutin' notions), but we chanted a lot, at least in my memory, and I recall learning to sing different plainsong settings in four-part harmony after I joined the choir at the age or 14 or 15.

There are solo recordings of the Jubilate, including two settings from the 1940 hymnal, available on line at

Another canticle I remember was the Magnificat, Mary's song in the gospel of St. Luke that begins "My soul doth magnify the Lord." (Heaven only knows how it's translated today -- maybe "The Lord is, like, way cool?") It's associated with the Christmas story, but it also figures in Evening Prayer throughout the liturgical year, along with the Nunc dimittis (Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace). As with Jubilate Deo, we had more than one form of the Magnificat in the 1940 hymnal. Both are available today on the website:

Monday, July 04, 2016

Ode to Joy / "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee" -- an easy tune that's been in the news lately, for Tuesday's slow jam at Peace Lutheran in Springfield

Imprompteau ("scratch") orchestra at anti-Brexit demonstration, London, June 24

The tune is the theme from the final movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, a choral setting of "Ode to Joy" by German poet Friedrich Schiller. It is the official anthem of the European Union.

The night after voters in England voted last month to leave the EU, it was performed live outside St. Martin-in-the-Fields by a scratch orchestra of musicians and singers, mostly young, from around Europe and the UK (shown in this video produced by Apple and Biscuit Recordings of London). It's a grand piece of music, and one that conveys the aspirations for peace in Europe since Beethoven's time. And it was especially appropriate as those hopes dimmed with the "Brexit" vote.

Luckily for us, it's also a chestnut that gets played a lot by dulcimer clubs.

For an arrangement by Heidi Mueller that has the notes, backup (guitar) chords and dulcimer tab for a chord-melody arrangement that doesn't get carried away on exotic piano-style chords, go to the Bellingham (Wash.) Dulcimer Club website and scroll down the directory (it's alphabetical) till you get to "Ode to Joy." Click on the link that says "chord-melody in boldface italics. Or follow this link:

Lyrics are available in the Timeless Truths collection of hymns at

Timeless Truths has sheet music in G. But ours, of course, is in "D for dulcimer."

Below are several YouTube clips:

  • Christian contemporary crossover artist Amy Grant and veteran country music performer Vince Gill at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, Dec. 18, 2014 for the Grant/Gill annual Christmas concert with Jenny Gill & Corrina Gill.

  • A pickup group performing the tune as a straight-up bluegrass number at Bob's Barn jamboree in Lake Odessa, Mich., Feb. 2, 2014, before the regular 4-7 p.m. jam there.

  • A flash mob in happier times performing the original, Beethoven's version, on Europe Day 2015 in Strasbourg, France, by the orchestra and chorus of Strasbourg University, directed by Corinna Niemeier.

  • And finally, a parody on John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" show just before the UK voted to leave the European Union. CONTENT ADVISORY: If you don't like hearing the "f-bomb," you won't like it ... no matter how clever it may be to others (but it is clever if you have a British-type sense of humor and find the idea of having carnal relations with a 27-nation economic union amusing).

    Click here: