Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I sommarens soliga daga and "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall" -- two choral traditions (or one choral tradition and one half-baked memory of high school)

ÖSTERVÅLA, Sweden -- When our turn came around to suggest a song, Debi and I completely, utterly blanked out. We were at a gathering of Swedish musicians at a retreat center on Lake Tämnaren north of Stockholm, and we'd been singing around the supper table for a good half hour after a meal of Thai carry-out.

After-dinner singing at the Nordiska Psalmodikonförbundet's annual meeting.

It was a festive occasion, the annual meeting of the Nordiska Psalmodikonförbundet, a society of people who play a folk zither called the psalmodikon, and the singing was followed by a jam session involving two nyckelharpor (Swedish keyed fiddles), a harmonica, a couple of ukes and -- something I'd never seen before and couldn't have imagined -- a psalmodikon playing backup chords.

But the singing was what stood out to a visitor from North America. About a dozen of us were gathered around the table, and all but two of us joined in on song after song -- they knew all the words, too, and several sang harmony parts -- and it sounded like fun. It was, too, as I'd catch a melody and softly join in singing "ah" on the second or third verse, nice and soft so I wouldn't ruin the harmonies.

After a while they asked us, well, what do you sing at parties in America?

Welp, we answered, uh ...

Long silence. Debi and I exchanged halfway panic-stricken glances. What do we sing?

Well, we don't sing all that much, we said. We don't learn as many songs in school as Swedes do, and we don't sing them much after we get out of elementary school.

But there are a few, we added, searching our memories. We used to sing one called "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall" on the school bus. I'd sing it in high school back in Tennessee, on the way to "away" ball games, and it drove our chaperones crazy.

Oh, the Swedes replied. "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall." That sounds rather nice. Will you sing it for us?

So Debi and I joined in:

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall,
Ninety-nine bottles of beer.
Take one down,
Pass it around,
And ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall.

What else could we do?

We sang the next verse, and the Swedes joined in:

Ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall,
Ninety-nine bottles of beer.
Take one down,
Pass it around,
And ninety-seven bottles of beer on the wall.

And so it went, everyone joining in. I won't claim it was great music, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn the Swedes were humoring their North American guests who don't sing in public after they get out of school and aren't very good at it when we try, but we got down as far as 94 or 95 bottles of beer on the wall.

In Sweden, it's different. I've been told, and we heard it again that night at Östervåla, more Swedes per capita take part in church or community choirs than in any other country worldwide. Behind that statistic lies a simple fact -- they sing in groups because it's fun, and they've learned it from childhood.

It has other benefits as well, according to a study by the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg (Göteborg) University, ranging from cardiac to mental well-being.

Certainly it was a lot of fun at Östervåla. I wish we sang at social gatherings in America.

At any rate, perhaps inspired by our bravura performance of "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall," the Psalmodikonförbundet folks launched into what sounded like a chest-thumping march that is actually a school song called I sommarens soliga daga (in summer's sunny days). Summers throughout Scandinavia are lovely -- and brief -- and they are celebrated in several favorite Swedish songs. A lot of Swedish folk tunes are in minor modes that sound dark to American ears, but the summer tune are upbeat, peppy and really quite nice.

At one time, the Swedish education authorities decreed that every graduate of the Swedish school system ought to be able to join in a few songs, and I sommarens soliga daga was one of them. Clearly the school authorities were onto a good idea.

At any rate, another bravura performance followed around the table at Östervåla.

I liked the song immediately, and made a note of its title. When I got home, I looked it up -- even transposed it from B-flat to D and put it on a "good intentions" playlist I keep at home -- the ever-growing collection of tunes I want to learn on the dulcimer someday, when and if I ever follow through on my good intentions.

I sommarens soliga daga has this: I sommarens soliga dagar är en svensk sång i tvåtakt med text av Gustaf Johansson. Melodin är enligt Sjung, svenska folk en ”gammal marschmelodi".

Sången ingick från 1943 bland de stamsånger som var obligatoriska i skolundervisningen men ströks från listan redan 1949.

"Allsång på Skansen" (06 August, 2013). Wikipedia, Allsång på Skansen (Sing-along at Skansen) is a Swedish show held at Skansen, Stockholm, every summer on Tuesdays between 8pm and 9pm. The audience is supposed to sing-along with musical guests to well-known Swedish songs. The show started in 1935 on a small scale; about 50 people in the audience. Today about 10,000–25,500 people come to each performance.

Lill Babs: "I sommarens soliga dagar" & "Full orkan"

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Second line parade at Pete Fountain's funeral in New Orleans


Posted live this afternoon by the New Orleans Historic Collection. I copied it to my Facebook feed at I can't get back to the original, so I'm posting the link through my FB timeline here in the hopes it'll get us there later.

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Hindu temple in Chatham, per article in Illinois Times

Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 12:08 am
Hindus at home on the prairie
Chatham temple eyes expansion
By Bruce Rushton

[verbatim quotations copied and pasted from article at]

* * *

[Lede:] At sunset one recent Thursday, Dr. Dharmendra Nimavat pauses outside the Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield, where he is installing new flags to replace storm-tattered banners.

New complete-with-fold-marks flags of India and the temple itself are ready, but the U.S. flag is missing. Nimavat, a pediatrician at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, unlocks the temple and checks inside. Still no luck. An American flag will be here soon, he determines after making a phone call. In the meantime, the flags that are ready are hoisted, with top position, above the Indian flag, left vacant for the expected U.S. flag, which Nimavat explains should naturally fly above the flag of his native land.

“Wherever you stay, that’s your home country,” Nimavat says. “You should respect it.”

* * *

In the Springfield area, desire for a temple that ended up in Chatham grew over the years, fueled by folks like Nimavat, who came to this country in 1996. Worshipping at home, where phone calls and other distractions are near givens, isn’t the same as coming to the temple, he says.

“You don’t get the same vibes when you come to the temple – it’s different,” Nimavat says. “The second generation that’s coming from India, they’re really driving things. They demanded it (a temple), and it’s happened.”

In the early days, before acquiring property, temple members gathered in basements, Nimavat recalls. The need for such gatherings, and for a temple, isn’t just religious. The temple has 90 members, most of Indian heritage (there is also a member from Iran and a member from Nepal). The U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t distinguish between people of Indian descent and other Asians, but it’s fair to say that Indians are a small fraction of the local population.

“The temple is a focal point,” Rao says. “It’s a meeting place to imbibe in our culture so that children in our community get an opportunity to get in touch with our roots. The other factor is, although people can pray at home, deities in temples have been specially energized, imbued with the presence of God. They’ve, in effect, been brought to life by a priest.

“Put another way, air is everywhere. But you go in front of an air conditioner if you want to get cool.”

* * *

Some compromises are almost inevitable.

In India, Hindu temples tend to be carved from granite. Granite and granite carvers being scarce in central Illinois, the temple in Springfield will likely feature plaster, says Rao, who grew up in Florida, where he says that his father helped organize and build the first Hindu temple in Tampa. It wasn’t an easy task, he recalls.

“I initially thought I would not be like my father,” Rao says. “Over time, people change.”

Hinduism evolved over centuries across India, one of the planet’s most populous nations. Besides geography, devotees are separated by language, and so traditions and beliefs vary. In the United States, however, the Indian population is relatively small, and so organizers must coalesce a temple community from folks who didn’t necessarily follow the same religious customs in their homeland. It is, essentially, a theological melting pot within a cultural melting pot that every immigrant experiences in the United States.

“It’s fondue all over,” says Dr. Kartik Mani, a cardiovascular physician who is chairman of the temple’s board of trustees.

Diversity is apparent during temple ceremonies. While groups of a dozen or more devotees seated on the floor sing or chant together, others walk in, alone or in twos and threes, to present offerings of fruit or money at three altars that display statues of more than a dozen deities. Paying no attention to group rituals, individual devotees clasp hands in prayer form or prostate themselves in various directions or simply linger for a few moments at the altar before leaving. Some appear to pray before pictures of deities that hang from the walls. Some announce their entrance into the worship room by ringing a bell that hangs at the entrance, others do not. No two devotees do exactly the same thing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Augustana Synod as folk church -- miscellaneous references

Emory Lindquist. Shepherd of an Immigrant People: The Story of Erland Carlsson. Rock Island: Augustana Historical Society, 1978. The constitution emphasized the concept of a folk församling (a people's church) in contrast with ren församling (a pure congregation of believers) that was organized by Pastor Olof Olsson at Lindsborg, Kansas, in August 1869. ... The difference between {Carosson's church" and "Olsson's church" reflects the separate views of each pastor and the change in emphasis in some quarters of the läsare (readers) movement in 1854 and in contrast with 1869. (35)

n17, p. 39 For the implications of "ren församling" and Olof Olsson, see Emory Lindquist, Smoky Valley People ... pp. 25-32

Sunday, August 14, 2016

washington phillips dulceola


Washington Phillips

Wikimedia Commons

Take your burden to the Lord [Columbia 19__].

on ukulele

YouTube user Todd B

Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Ar Eirinn ... (For Ireland, I Won't Say Her Name)" -- a slow air for the Clayville-Prairieland sessions

Our regular "third Thursday" session of the Clayville-Prairieland Academy of Music is from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, in the narthex (lobby) at Peace Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson, in Springfield.

Ar Eirinn Ní Neosfainn Cé hÍ - Liam Clancy

By request. It's a simple melody and we can pick it up easily. (In fact, we just about had it when we were playing it by ear the other day at Clayville.) Since it's a slow air, it's been played in just about every key imaginable -- including D. Let's us play it in D, since we've got dulcimer tab in D, but let's be careful we're all in the same key. A couple of aids:

Martin Dardis, who maintains the Irish Songs website, has this to say about it:

An Irish folk / love Irish song. The tin whistle sheet music notes are included.
I only ever heard The Wolfe Tones sing this beautiful love song,To hear Tommy Byrne of the Tones sing it would send a shiver down your spine. What a singer he is,and such beautiful harmonies from The Wolfe Tones. The song was written by John Barry Oge from County Kerry. I asked Brian Warfield from The Wolfe Tones where he got the song from and he said he got it when it was written in Gaelic and translated it to English. The tin whistle notes are included with basic letter notes along with a video to help you on your way to learning the song.

HOWEVER: More confusion possible here, if we're not careful, about keys. Dardis gives the chords above in D. So far, so good. But the Wolfe Tones video he embeds is in F, and he also gives the chords in F for those who wish to sing along. Then on top of that, for reasons I might understand if I played the tin whistle, he gives the melody in standard notation and whistle tab in the key of G. Once we learn the melody in D, we can transpose it to G. Or to any key we choose. But we need to play it in one key at a time!

Lots of good information on the Mudcat Cafe thread at Including this -- Mary O'Hara in Song for Ireland, says,

"The melody of this song has travelled far. Clondillon relates hearing a Roumanian folk singer sing the tune believing it to be a Roumanian folksong. Perhaps some soldier of fortune belonging to the Wild Geese had the gift of song! " [bracketed material omitted]

"Seán óg [ó Tuama ?] explained the story to me like this: a young man fell secretly in love with a girl. Too poor to support her and too shy to propose, he went abroad to seek his fortune. However, when he returned to claim his beloved, he was shattered to find her married to his brother. Still in love, he composed this song to her but, for obvious reasons, refused to reveal her name."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Den Danske Salmeduo plans CD, book for 500th anniversary of Reformation

"Salmer til folket – en Luther-koncert med Den Danske Salmeduo." Reformationsjubilæum. Aarhus Stift: En Del af Folkekirken

Den Danske Salmeduo er, i samarbejde med en række erfarne skribenter, i færd med at lave en kombineret cd- og bogudgivelse, der skal sætte nyt lys på Luthers salmer. Cd’en vil indeholde duoens instrumentale nyfortolkninger af Luther-salmer. Bogen vil bl.a. indeholde en række korte tekster – både faglige og skønlitterære – der afdækker forskellige aspekter ved reformationen og dens samfundsmæssige og kulturelle betydning, både historisk, men ikke mindst i nutiden. Den skal bibringe en forståelse af Luthers musikhistoriske betydning – også ud over det rent kirkelige. Skribenterne bliver journalist Kåre Gade, biskop Henrik Wigh-Poulsen, digter Peter Laugesen og musikhistoriker Thorkil Mølle. Der planlægges udgivelse ved årsskiftet 2016-17.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Schedule for joint commoration of the Reformation Oct. 31 in Lund and Malmö

LWF General Secretary Martin Junge shares details about Lund, Malmö preparations

"From Conflict to Communion – Together in Hope” is the theme of the Joint Ecumenical Commemoration, which will be held in Lund and Malmö, Sweden, on 31 October. The event brings together Lutherans and Catholics from around the world to jointly commemorate the Reformation and look to the future. LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge and Pope Francis will jointly host the event. Lutheran World Information asked Junge how people can participate in the event and what the day means for him.

* * *

The commemoration event will have two main parts. In the early afternoon of 31 October, a common prayer will take place in Lund Cathedral. The liturgy is based on the report From Conflict to Communion and its Common Prayer, which were jointly developed by Catholics and Lutherans. At the same time there will be an event in Malmö Arena. Those who are there will be able to follow a live stream of the common prayer at the cathedral. After the common prayer the hosts will move to the Arena and join the people gathered there to witness activities showing the commitment to common witness and service of Catholics and Lutherans around the world. Highlights of the joint work of LWF World Service and Caritas Internationalis will be shown, including care for refugees, peace building and advocacy for climate justice.

Attendance in Lund Cathedral will be by invitation only but up to 10,000 people can participate in Malmö Arena. Registration will be necessary and only those registered with tickets will be able to enter the arena.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Petersburg dulcimer group to play at State Fair

Pictured L-R are Debbie Hill of Tallula, Jackie Horn, Kate Kanaley-Miller of Petersburg, Jill Coy from Pleasant Plains, Beckie Hart and Marilyn Montgomery of Petersburg.
To Perform at Illinois State Fair

The "Wildwood Strings and Friends" Dulcimer Group have been invited to play at the Illinois State Fair again. They will perform on Senior Citizen Day, Monday, August 15, 2016, and be located outside the Illinois Building in the Looking for Lincoln exhibit. Their performances will be at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM and at 3:00 PM. They will play Civil War era songs and songs President Lincoln enjoyed.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Song Legacy of Scottish-Irish Migration -- on a new website featuring European trad music

Among the great many cultural connections between Ireland and Scotland, the mutual influence of each nation’s musical and singing traditions on the other is perhaps one of the most interesting. As a case in point, below are some archival examples which point to the legacy of people travelling back and forward between the two countries, and the songs they took with them.

[On the Europeana Sounds website at ... "Europe's sound heritage at your fingertips."

Friday, August 05, 2016

esbjörn misc references

Student skit [at Augie] about Lars Paul Esbjörn [20 min.]