Throughout the Upland South, the banjo has become an emblem of white mountain folk, who are generally credited with creating the short-thumb-string banjo, developing its downstroking playing styles and repertory, and spreading its influence to the national consciousness. In this groundbreaking study, however, Cecelia Conway demonstrates that these European Americans borrowed the banjo from African Americans and adapted it to their own musical culture. Like many aspects of the African-American tradition, the influence of black banjo music has been largely unrecorded and nearly forgotten—until now.
Drawing in part on interviews with elderly African-American banjo players from the Piedmont—among the last American representatives of an African banjo-playing tradition that spans several centuries—Conway reaches beyond the written records to reveal the similarity of pre-blues black banjo lyric patterns, improvisational playing styles, and the accompanying singing and dance movements to traditional West African music performances. The author then shows how Africans had, by the mid-eighteenth century, transformed the lyrical music of the gourd banjo as they dealt with the experience of slavery in America.
By the mid-nineteenth century, white southern musicians were learning the banjo playing styles of their African-American mentors and had soon created or popularized a five-string, wooden-rim banjo. Some of these white banjo players remained in the mountain hollows, but others dispersed banjo music to distant musicians and the American public through popular minstrel shows.
By the turn of the century, traditional black and white musicians still shared banjo playing, and Conway shows that this exchange gave rise to a distinct and complex new genre—the banjo song. Soon, however, black banjo players put down their banjos, set their songs with increasingly assertive commentary to the guitar, and left the banjo and its story to white musicians. But the banjo still echoed at the crossroads between the West African griots, the traveling country guitar bluesmen, the banjo players of the old-time southern string bands, and eventually the bluegrass bands.
The Author: Cecelia Conway is associate professor of English at Appalachian State University. She is a folklorist who teaches twentieth-century literature, including cultural perspectives, southern literature, and film.
American folk music has long presented a problematic conception of authenticity, but the reality of the folk scene, and its relationship to media, is far more complicated. This book draws on the fields of media archaeology, performance studies, and sound studies to explore the various modes of communication that can be uncovered from the long American folk revival. From Alan Lomax's cybernetic visions to Bob Dylan's noisy writing machines, this book retrieves a subterranean discourse on the concept of media that might help us to reimagine the potential of the networks in which we work, play, and sing.
Trinidad is known for its vibrant musical traditions, which reflect the island’s ethnic diversity. The annual Carnival, far and away the biggest event in Trinidad, is filled with soca and calypso music. Soca is a dance music derived from calypso, a music with African antecedents. In parang, a Venezuelan and Spanish derived folk music that dominates Trinidadian Christmas festivities, groups of singers and musicians progress from house to house, performing for their neighbors. Chutney is also an Indo-Caribbean music. In Bacchanalian Sentiments, Kevin K. Birth argues that these and other Trinidadian musical genres and traditions not only provide a soundtrack to daily life on the southern Caribbean island; they are central to the ways that Trinidadians experience and navigate their social lives and interpret political events.
Birth draws on fieldwork he conducted in one of Trinidad’s ethnically diverse rural villages to explore the relationship between music and social and political consciousness on the island. He describes how Trinidadians use the affective power of music and the physiological experience of performance to express and work through issues related to identity, ethnicity, and politics. He looks at how the performers and audience members relate to different musical traditions. Turning explicitly to politics, Birth recounts how Trinidadians used music as a means of making sense of the attempted coup d’état in 1990 and the 1995 parliamentary election, which resulted in a tie between the two major political parties. Bacchanalian Sentiments is an innovative ethnographic analysis of the significance of music, and particular musical forms, in the everyday lives of rural Trinidadians.
The remarkable story of how modern Irish music was shaped and spread through the brash efforts of a Chicago police chief.
Irish music as we know it today was invented not just in the cobbled lanes of Dublin or the green fields of County Kerry, but also in the burgeoning metropolis of early-twentieth-century Chicago. The genre’s history combines a long folk tradition with the curatorial quirks of a single person: Francis O’Neill, a larger-than-life Chicago police chief and an Irish immigrant with a fervent interest in his home country’s music.
Michael O’Malley’s The Beat Cop tells the story of this singular figure, from his birth in Ireland in 1865 to his rough-and-tumble early life in the United States. By 1901, O’Neill had worked his way up to become Chicago’s chief of police, where he developed new methods of tracking criminals and recording their identities. At the same time, he also obsessively tracked and recorded the music he heard from local Irish immigrants, enforcing a strict view of what he felt was and wasn’t authentic. Chief O’Neill’s police work and his musical work were flip sides of the same coin, and O’Malley delves deep into how this brash immigrant harnessed his connections and policing skills to become the foremost shaper of how Americans see, and hear, the music of Ireland.
The Beautiful Music All Around Us presents the extraordinarily rich backstories of thirteen performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains. Including the children's play song "Shortenin' Bread," the fiddle tune "Bonaparte's Retreat," the blues "Another Man Done Gone," and the spiritual "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down," these performances were recorded in kitchens and churches, on porches and in prisons, in hotel rooms and school auditoriums. Documented during the golden age of the Library of Congress recordings, they capture not only the words and tunes of traditional songs but also the sounds of life in which the performances were embedded: children laugh, neighbors comment, trucks pass by.
Musician and researcher Stephen Wade sought out the performers on these recordings, their families, fellow musicians, and others who remembered them. He reconstructs the sights and sounds of the recording sessions themselves and how the music worked in all their lives. Some of these performers developed musical reputations beyond these field recordings, but for many, these tracks represent their only appearances on record: prisoners at the Arkansas State Penitentiary jumping on "the Library's recording machine" in a rendering of "Rock Island Line"; Ora Dell Graham being called away from the schoolyard to sing the jump-rope rhyme "Pullin' the Skiff"; Luther Strong shaking off a hungover night in jail and borrowing a fiddle to rip into "Glory in the Meetinghouse."
Alongside loving and expert profiles of these performers and their locales and communities, Wade also untangles the histories of these iconic songs and tunes, tracing them through slave songs and spirituals, British and homegrown ballads, fiddle contests, gospel quartets, and labor laments. By exploring how these singers and instrumentalists exerted their own creativity on inherited forms, "amplifying tradition's gifts," Wade shows how a single artist can make a difference within a democracy.
Reflecting decades of research and detective work, the profiles and abundant photos in The Beautiful Music All Around Us bring to life largely unheralded individuals--domestics, farm laborers, state prisoners, schoolchildren, cowboys, housewives and mothers, loggers and miners--whose music has become part of the wider American musical soundscape. The hardcover edition also includes an accompanying CD that presents these thirteen performances, songs and sounds of America in the 1930s and '40s.
Ewan MacColl is one of the outstanding British singers and songwriters of the mid to late 20th century,and his work has been covered by artists including Roberta Flack, Johnny Cash and the Pogues. He was also a committed political activist.
For sixty years he was at the cultural forefront of numerous political struggles,producing plays,songs and radio programs on subjects ranging from the Spanish Civil War to the Poll Tax. A founder-member of Theatre Workshop,MacColl as the famous company's resident dramatist,and his plays earned the admiration of contemporaries including George Bernard Shaw,Sean O'Casey and Hugh MacDiarmid. MacColl lived an energetic and colorful life.
This is the first biography of MacColl, and was prepared with the authorization of his collaborator and widow, Peggy Seeger. It charts MacColl's early years, his involvement in the Communist Party, in radical theatre, his pioneering radio programs,as well as his extensive work in the British folk-revival. Exhaustively researched and energetically written, this is an illuminating account of a major and controversial twentieth-century political artist.
For more than 150 years, individuals have traveled the countryside with pen, paper, tape recorders, and even video cameras to document versions of songs, music, and stories shared by communities. As technologies and methodologies have advanced, the task of gathering music has been taken up by a much broader group than scholars. The resulting collections created by these various people can be impacted by the individual collectors’ political and social concerns, cultural inclinations, and even simple happenstance, demonstrating a crucial yet underexplored relationship between the music and those preserving it.
Collecting Music in the Aran Islands, a critical historiographical study of the practice of documenting traditional music, is the first to focus on the archipelago off the west coast of Ireland. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile argues for a culturally equitable framework that considers negotiation, collaboration, canonization, and marginalization to fully understand the immensely important process of musical curation. In presenting four substantial, historically valuable collections from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, she illustrates how understanding the motivations and training (or lack thereof) of individual music collectors significantly informs how we should approach their work and contextualize their place in the folk music canon.
The untold story of Chicago’s pivotal role as a country and folk music capital.
Chicago is revered as a musical breeding ground, having launched major figures like blues legend Muddy Waters, gospel soul icon Mavis Staples, hip-hop firebrand Kanye West, and the jazz-rock band that shares its name with the city. Far less known, however, is the vital role Chicago played in the rise of prewar country music, the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and the contemporary offspring of those scenes.
In Country and Midwestern, veteran journalist Mark Guarino tells the epic century-long story of Chicago’s influence on sounds typically associated with regions further south. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and deep archival research, Guarino tells a forgotten story of music, migration, and the ways that rural culture infiltrated urban communities through the radio, the automobile, and the railroad. The Midwest’s biggest city was the place where rural transplants could reinvent themselves and shape their music for the new commercial possibilities the city offered. Years before Nashville emerged as the commercial and spiritual center of country music, major record labels made Chicago their home and recorded legendary figures like Bill Monroe, The Carter Family, and Gene Autry. The National Barn Dance—broadcast from the city’s South Loop starting in 1924—flourished for two decades as the premier country radio show before the Grand Ole Opry. Guarino chronicles the makeshift niche scenes like “Hillbilly Heaven” in Uptown, where thousands of relocated Southerners created their own hardscrabble honky-tonk subculture, as well as the 1960s rise of the Old Town School of Folk Music, which eventually brought national attention to local luminaries like John Prine and Steve Goodman. The story continues through the end of the twentieth century and into the present day, where artists like Jon Langford, The Handsome Family, and Wilco meld contemporary experimentation with country traditions.
Featuring a foreword from Grammy-nominated songwriter Robbie Fulks and casting a cross-genre net that stretches from Bob Dylan to punk rock, Country and Midwestern rediscovers a history as sprawling as the Windy City—celebrating the creative spirit that modernized American folk idioms, the colorful characters who took them into new terrain, and the music itself, which is still kicking down doors even today.
Pilipino Cultural Nights at American campuses have been a rite of passage for youth culture and a source of local community pride since the 1980s. Through performances—and parodies of them—these celebrations of national identity through music, dance, and theatrical narratives reemphasize what it means to be Filipino American. In The Day the Dancers Stayed, scholar and performer Theodore Gonzalves uses interviews and participant observer techniques to consider the relationship between the invention of performance repertoire and the development of diasporic identification.
Gonzalves traces a genealogy of performance repertoire from the 1930s to the present. Culture nights serve several functions: as exercises in nostalgia, celebrations of rigid community entertainment, and occasionally forums for political intervention. Taking up more recent parodies of Pilipino Cultural Nights, Gonzalves discusses how the rebellious spirit that enlivened the original seditious performances has been stifled.
Can musicians really make the world more sustainable? Anthropologist Mark Pedelty, joined an eco-oriented band, the Hypoxic Punks, to find out. In his timely and exciting book, Ecomusicology, Pedelty explores the political ecology of rock, from local bands to global superstars. He examines the climate change controversies of U2's 360 Degrees stadium tour—deemed excessive by some—and the struggles of local folk singers who perform songs about the environment. In the process, he raises serious questions about the environmental effects and meanings on music.
Ecomusicology examines the global, national, regional, and historical contexts in which environmental pop is performed. Pedelty reveals the ecological potentials and pitfalls of contemporary popular music, in part through ethnographic fieldwork among performers, audiences, and activists. Ultimately, he explains how popular music dramatically reflects both the contradictions and dreams of communities searching for sustainability.
For Prespa Albanians, both at home in Macedonia and in the diaspora, the most opulent, extravagant, and socially significant events of any year are wedding ceremonies. During days and weeks of festivities, wedding celebrants interact largely through singing, defining and renegotiating as they do so the very structure of their social world and establishing a profound cultural touchstone for Prespa communities around the world.
Combining photographs, song texts, and vibrant recordings of the music with her own evocative descriptions, ethnomusicologist Jane C. Sugarman focuses her account of Prespa weddings on notions of gendered identity, demonstrating the capacity of singing to generate and transform relations of power within Prespa society. Engendering Song is an innovative theoretical work, with a scholarly importance extending far beyond southeast European studies. It offers unique and timely contributions to the analysis of music and gender, music in diaspora cultures, and the social constitution of self and subjectivity.
Ever wanted to know the "correct" words to "Roll Me Over?" Wondered where the melody of "Sweet Betsy from Pike" came from? Ed Cray ranges from "The Cod Fish Song" to "Hallelujah I'm a Bum" in a tireless quest to answer such questions and restore bawdy to an esteemed place in our folk music canon.
Extensively revised and including forty more songs than its predecessor, the second edition of The Erotic Muse is a unique collection of bawdy and even forbidden American folksongs. Cray presents the full texts of some 125 works with melodies for most and detailed annotations for all. In addition, he adds lively commentary that places the songs in historical, social, and, where appropriate, psychological context.
This impressive compilation offers a nearly complete listing of sound recordings made by American minority artists prior to mid-1942. Organized by national group or language, the seven-volume set cites primary and secondary titles, composers, participating artists, instrumentation, date and place of recording, master and release numbers, and reissues in all formats. Because of its clear arrangements and indexes, it will be a unique and valuable tool for music and ethnic historians, folklorists, and others.
Fiddling for Norway is an engrossing portrait of a fiddle-based folk revival in Norway, one that in many ways parallels contemporary folk institutions and festivals throughout the world, including American fiddling. It is a detailed case study in the politics of culture, the causes and purposes of folk revivals, and the cultivation of music to define identity.
The book begins with an investigation of the people and events important to Norwegian folk fiddling, tracing the history of Norwegian folk music and the growth and diversification of the folk music revival. The narrative takes us to fiddle clubs, concerts and competitions on the local, regional, and national levels, and shows how conflicting emphases—local vs. national identity, tradition vs. aesthetic qualities—continue to transform Norwegian folk music. Goertzen utilizes a large anthology of meticulously transcribed tunes to illustrate personal and regional repertoires, aspects of performance practice, melodic gesture and form, and tune relationships. Ethnomusicologists and readers who fiddle will enjoy both the music and the stories it tells.
Challenging and considerably broadening popular and scholarly definitions of American folk music, Folksongs of Another America recovers the diverse, multilingual traditions of immigrant, Native American, rural, and working-class performers in America's Upper Midwest during the 1930s and 1940s. The book extensively documents 187 tunes and songs in more than twenty-five languages, with full original lyrics and English translations, and biographical notes on the performers. The companion musical tracks and documentary film will be freely available for listening, viewing, or download through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin Libraries' Digital Collections Center.
Folk-Songs of the South:Collected Under the Auspices of the West Virginia Folk-Lore Society is a collection of ballads and folk-songs from West Virginia. First published in 1925, this resource includes narrative and lyric songs that were transmitted orally, as well as popular songs from print sources. Through 186 ballads and songs and 26 folk tunes, this collection archives a range of styles and genres, from English and Scottish ballads to songs about the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the opening of the American West, boat and railroad transportation, children’s play-party and dance music, and songs from African American singers, including post-Civil war popular music. The original introduction by Cox contains vibrant portraits of the singers he researched, with descriptions of performance style and details about personalities and attitudes. With a new introduction by Alan Jabbour, this reprint renews the importance of this text as a piece of scholarship, revealing Cox’s understanding of the workings of tradition across time and place and his influence upon folk-song research.
Tarantella, a genre of Southern Italian folk music and dance, is an international phenomenon--seen and heard in popular festivals, performed across the Italian diaspora, even adapted for New Age spiritual practices. The boom in popularity has diversified tarantella in practice while setting it within a host of new, unexpected contexts. Incoronata Inserra ventures into the history, global circulation, and recontextualization of this fascinating genre. Examining tarantella's changing image and role among Italians and Italian Americans, Inserra illuminates how factors like tourism, translation, and world music venues have shifted the ethics of place embedded in the tarantella cultural tradition. Once rural, religious, and rooted, tarantella now thrives in settings urban, secular, migrant, and ethnic. Inserra reveals how the genre's changing dynamics contribute to reimagining Southern Italian identity. At the same time, they translate tarantella into a different kind of performance that serves new social and cultural groups and purposes. Indeed, as Inserra shows, tarantella's global growth promotes a reassessment of gender relations in the Italian South and helps create space for Italian and Italian-American women to reclaim gendered aspects of the genre.
Between 1959 and 1968, New England saw a folk revival emerge in more than fifty clubs and coffeehouses, a revolution led by college dropouts, young bohemians, and lovers of traditional music that renewed the work of the region's intellectuals and reformers. From Club 47 in Harvard Square to candlelit venues in Ipswich, Martha's Vineyard, and Amherst, budding musicians and hopeful audiences alike embraced folk music, progressive ideals, and community as alternatives to an increasingly toxic consumer culture. While the Boston-Cambridge Folk Revival was short-lived, the youthful attention that it spurred played a crucial role in the civil rights, world peace, and back-to-the-land movements emerging across the country.
Fueled by interviews with key players from the folk music scene, I Believe I'll Go Back Home traces a direct line from Yankee revolutionaries, up-country dancers, and nineteenth-century pacifists to the emergence of blues and rock 'n' roll, ultimately landing at the period of the folk revival. Thomas S. Curren presents the richness and diversity of the New England folk tradition, which continues to provide perspective, inspiration, and healing in the present day.
The Sacred Harp choral singing tradition originated in the American South in the mid-nineteenth century, spread widely across the country, and continues to thrive today. Sacred Harp isn’t performed but participated in, ideally in large gatherings where, as the a cappella singers face each other around a hollow square, the massed voices take on a moving and almost physical power. I Belong to This Band, Hallelujah! is a vivid portrait of several Sacred Harp groups and an insightful exploration of how they manage to maintain a sense of community despite their members’ often profound differences.
Laura Clawson’s research took her to Alabama and Georgia, to Chicago and Minneapolis, and to Hollywood for a Sacred Harp performance at the Academy Awards, a potent symbol of the conflicting forces at play in the twenty-first-century incarnation of this old genre. Clawson finds that in order for Sacred Harp singers to maintain the bond forged by their love of music, they must grapple with a host of difficult issues, including how to maintain the authenticity of their tradition and how to carefully negotiate the tensions created by their disparate cultural, religious, and political beliefs.
Folk music is more than an idealized reminder of a simper past. It reveals a great deal about present-day understandings of community and belonging. It celebrates the shared traditions that define a group or nation. In America, folk music--from African American spirituals to English ballads and protest songs--renders the imagined community more tangible and comprises a critical component of our diverse national heritage.
In "I Hear America Singing," Rachel Donaldson traces the vibrant history of the twentieth-century folk music revival from its origins in the 1930s through its end in the late 1960s. She investigates the relationship between the revival and concepts of nationalism, showing how key figures in the revival--including Pete Seeger , Alan Lomax, Moses Asch, and Ralph Rinzler--used songs to influence the ways in which Americans understood the values, the culture, and the people of their own nation.
As Donaldson chronicles how cultural norms were shaped over the course of the mid-twentieth century, she underscores how various groups within the revival and their views shifted over time. "I Hear America Singing" provides a stirring account of how and why the revivalists sustained their culturally pluralist and politically democratic Americanism over this tumultuous period in American history.
Ilmatar gave birth to the bard who sang the Finnish landscape into being in the Kalevala (the Finnish national epic). In Ilmatar's Inspirations, Tina K. Ramnarine explores creative processes and the critical role that music has played in Finnish nationalism by focusing on Finnish "new folk music" in the shifting spaces between the national imagination and the global marketplace.
Through extensive interviews and observations of performances, Ramnarine reveals how new folk musicians think and talk about past and present folk music practices, the role of folk music in the representation of national identity, and the interactions of Finnish folk musicians with performers from around the globe. She focuses especially on two internationally successful groups—JPP, a group that plays fiddle dance music, and Värttinä, an ensemble that highlights women's vocal traditions. Analyzing the multilayered processes—musical, institutional, political, and commercial—that have shaped and are shaped by new folk music in Finland, Ramnarine gives us an entirely new understanding of the connections between music, place, and identity.
Inspired by the Hank Williams and Leadbelly recordings he heard as a teenager growing up outside of Boston, Jim Rooney began a musical journey that intersected with some of the biggest names in American music including Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Bill Monroe, Muddy Waters, and Alison Krauss. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is Rooney's kaleidoscopic first-hand account of more than five decades of success as a performer, concert promoter, songwriter, music publisher, engineer, and record producer.
As witness to and participant in over a half century of music history, Rooney provides a sophisticated window into American vernacular music. Following his stint as a "Hayloft Jamboree" hillbilly singer in the mid-1950s, Rooney managed Cambridge's Club 47, a catalyst of the ‘60’s folk music boom. He soon moved to the Newport Folk Festival as talent coordinator and director where he had a front row seat to Dylan "going electric."
In the 1970s Rooney's odyssey continued in Nashville where he began engineering and producing records. His work helped alternative country music gain a foothold in Music City and culminated in Grammy nominations for singer-songwriters John Prine, Iris Dement, and Nanci Griffith. Later in his career he was a key link connecting Nashville to Ireland's folk music scene.
Writing songs or writing his memoir, Jim Rooney is the consummate storyteller. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is his singular chronicle from the heart of Americana.
Inari Sámi Folklore: Stories from Aanaar
August V. Koskimies and Toivo I. Itkonen, revised by Lea Laitinen; Edited and translated by Tim Frandy University of Wisconsin Press, 2020 Library of Congress GR201.I53K613 2019 | Dewey Decimal 398.20948977
A rich multivoiced anthology of folktales, legends, joik songs, proverbs, riddles, and other verbal art, this is the most comprehensive collection of Sámi oral tradition available in English to date. Collected by August V. Koskimies and Toivo I. Itkonen in the 1880s from nearly two dozen storytellers from the arctic Aanaar (Inari) region of northeast Finland, the material reveals a complex web of social relations that existed both inside and far beyond the community.
First published in 1918 only in the Aanaar Sámi language and in Finnish, this anthology is now available in a centennial English-language edition for a global readership. Translator Tim Frandy has added biographies of the storytellers, maps and period photos, annotations, and a glossary. In headnotes that contextualize the stories, he explains such underlying themes as Aanaar conflicts with neighboring Sámi and Finnish communities, the collapse of the wild reindeer populations less than a century before, and the pre-Christian past in Aanaar. He introduces us to the bawdy humor of Antti Kitti, the didacticism of Iisakki Mannermaa, and the feminist leanings of Juho Petteri Lusmaniemi, emphasizing that folktales and proverbs are rooted in the experiences of individuals who are links in a living tradition.
Javier F. León and Helena Simonett curate a collection of essential writings from the last twenty-five years of Latin American music studies. Chosen as representative, outstanding, and influential in the field, each article appears in English translation. A detailed new introduction by León and Simonett both surveys and contextualizes the history of Latin American ethnomusicology, opening the door for readers energized by the musical forms brought and nurtured by immigrants from throughout Latin America.
Contributors include Marina Alonso Bolaños, Gonzalo Camacho Díaz, José Jorge de Carvalho, Claudio F. Díaz, Rodrigo Cantos Savelli Gomes, Juan Pablo González, Rubén López-Cano, Angela Lühning, Jorge Martínez Ulloa, Maria Ignêz Cruz Mello, Julio Mendívil, Carlos Miñana Blasco, Raúl R. Romero, Iñigo Sánchez Fuarros, Carlos Sandroni, Carolina Santamaría-Delgado, Rodrigo Torres Alvarado, and Alejandro Vera.
In one sense a folklorist's portrayal of a notable folk artist's life and art, Listening for a Life is equally a rethinking of the processes involved in such work, not only in how the folklorist conveys her subject but in how her subject constitutes and performs herself into being through dialogue with others: those present, those once present, those imagined and anticipated.
Drawing on Bahktinian and feminist theory, Sawin pushes forward our understanding of the interactive roles of ethnographer and subject and in the process gives us a deeper understanding of folk singer and storyteller Bessie Eldreth and her greatest art, herself.
Long Steel Rail
Norm Cohen University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress ML3551.C57 2000 | Dewey Decimal 782.42162130159
Impeccable scholarship and lavish illustration mark this landmark study of American railroad folksong. Norm Cohen provides a sweeping discussion of the human aspects of railroad history, railroad folklore, and the evolution of the American folksong. The heart of the book is a detailed analysis of eighty-five songs, from "John Henry" and "The Wabash Cannonball" to "Hell-Bound Train" and "Casey Jones," with their music, sources, history, variations, and discographies. A substantial new introduction updates this edition.
Joe Wilson (1938-2015), a native of rural East Tennessee, was a civil rights activist, self-educated scholar, founder/administrator of nationally important roots music enterprises, and was legendary for his colorful writing and opinions. Lucky Joe’s Namesake, a companion to Roots Music in America: Collected Writings of Joe Wilson (also published by the University of Tennessee Press), brings us Wilson’s life and observations, mostly in his own words.
From humble mountain beginnings, Wilson’s career progressed through Nashville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and New York City, before settling him for twenty-eight years near the seats of power in Washington, D.C. as the executive director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. In that role, he developed a national model for folk festival presentations, stalked the halls of federal representatives seeking support for traditional artists, and filled concert venues throughout the world with audiences eager to experience the work of master folk musicians. A powerful advocate on behalf of agrarian values, social justice, artistic authenticity, and cultural democracy, Joe wrote in an engaging, humorous, and memorable style.
This eclectic anthology is filled with Joe Wilson’s brilliant published writing for magazines, books, and newspapers as well as privately circulated unpublished works, including an extended autobiographical essay. Readers are sure to benefit from Wilson’s lessons and artful ruminations culled from a lifetime of devotion to music and cultural and social activism.
Fred Bartenstein teaches country and bluegrass music history at the University of Dayton. He is the editor of Bluegrass Bluesman: Josh Graves, a Memoir and coauthor and editor of The Bluegrass Hall of Fame: Inductee Biographies, 1991–2014.
Son Jarocho was born as the regional sound of Veracruz but over time became a Mexican national genre, even transnational, genre—a touchstone of Chicano identity in the United States. Mario Barradas and Son Jarocho traces a musical journey from the Gulf Coast to interior Mexico and across the border, describing the transformations of Son Jarocho along the way.
This comprehensive cultural study pairs ethnographic and musicological insights with an oral history of the late Mario Barradas, one of Son Jarocho’s preeminent modern musicians. Chicano musician Francisco González offers an insider’s account of Barradas’s influence and Son Jarocho’s musical qualities, while Rafael Figueroa Hernández delves into Barradas’s recordings and films. Yolanda Broyles-González examines the interplay between Son Jarocho’s indigenous roots and contemporary role in Mexican and US society. The result is a nuanced portrait of a vital and evolving musical tradition.
In this vivid musical ethnography, Timothy Rice documents and interprets the history of folk music, song, and dance in Bulgaria over a seventy-year period of dramatic change. From 1920 to 1989, Bulgaria changed from a nearly medieval village society to a Stalinist planned industrial economy to a chaotic mix of capitalist and socialist markets and cultures.
In the context of this history, Rice brings Bulgarian folk music to life by focusing on the biography of the Varimezov family, including the musician Kostadin and his wife Todora, a singer. Combining interviews with his own experiences of learning how to play, sing and dance Bulgarian folk music, Rice presents one of the most detailed accounts of traditional, aural learning processes in the ethnomusicological literature.
Using a combination of traditionally dichotomous musicological and ethnographic approaches, Rice tells the story of how individual musicians learned their tradition, how they lived it during the pre-Communist era of family farming, how the tradition changed with industrialization brought under Communism, and finally, how it flourished and evolved in the recent, unstable political climate.
This work—complete with a compact disc and numerous illustrations and musical examples—contributes not only to ethnomusicological theory and method, but also to our understanding of Slavic folklore, Eastern European anthropology, and cultural processes in Socialist states.
For the Achi, one of the several Mayan ethnic groups indigenous to Guatemala, the music of the marimba serves not only as a form of entertainment but also as a form of communication, a vehicle for memory, and an articulation of cultural identity. Sergio Navarrete Pellicer examines the marimba tradition—the confluence of African musical influences, Spanish colonial power, and Indian ethnic assimilation—as a driving force in the dynamics of cultural continuity and change in Rabinal, the heart of Achi culture and society. By examining the performance and consumption of marimba music as essential parts of a system of social interaction, religious practice, and ethnic identification, Navarrete Pellicer reveals how the strains of the marimba resonate with the spiritual yearnings and cultural negotiations of the Achi as they try to come to terms with the violence and economic hardship wrought by their colonial past.
Increasingly popular in the United States and Europe, Andean panpipe and flute music draws its vitality from the traditions of rural highland villages and of rural migrants who have settled in Andean cities. In Moving Away from Silence, Thomas Turino describes panpipe and flute traditions in the context of this rural-urban migration and the turbulent politics that have influenced Peruvian society and local identities throughout this century.
Turino's ethnography is the first large-scale study to concentrate on the pervasive effects of migration on Andean people and their music. Turino uses the musical traditions of Conima, Peru as a unifying thread, tracing them through the varying lives of Conimeos in different locales. He reveals how music both sustains and creates meaning for a people struggling amid the dramatic social upheavals of contemporary Peru.
Moving Away from Silence contains detailed interpretations based on comparative field research of Conimeo musical performance, rehearsals, composition, and festivals in the highlands and Lima. The volume will be of great importance to students of Latin American music and culture as well as ethnomusicological and ethnographic theory and method.
Music and Social Change in South Africa looks at contemporary maskanda-a folk musical genre distinguished by fast guitar picking and blues-style vocal intonation-against the backdrop of South Africa's history. A performance practice that emerged in the early decades of the twentieth century among Zulu migrant workers, maskanda is strongly associated with young Zulu men's experiences of repression and dislocation during imperial and, more particularly, apartheid rule.
Working closely with translated song lyrics and musical notation-and applying musical and socio-political analysis to this music and its cultural context-Olsen argues that maskanda offers insight into how the post-apartheid ideal of social transformation is experienced by those who were marginalized for most of the twentieth century.
Drawing on a decade of research, Olsen strives to demystify the Zulu part of contemporary experience in South Africa and to reveal some of the complexities of the social, economic, and political landscape of contemporary South Africa.
One of the most important ethnomusicologists of the century, John Blacking achieved international recognition for his book, How Musical Is Man? Known for his interest in the relationship of music to biology, psychology, dance, and politics, Blacking was deeply committed to the idea that music-making is a fundamental and universal attribute of the human species. He attempted to document the ways in which music-making expresses the human condition, how it transcends social divisions, and how it can be used to improve the quality of human life.
This volume brings together in one convenient source eight of Blacking's most important theoretical papers along with an extensive introduction by the editor. Drawing heavily on his fieldwork among the Venda people of South Africa, these essays reveal his most important theoretical themes such as the innateness of musical ability, the properties of music as a symbolic or quasi-linguistic system, the complex relation between music and social institutions, and the relation between scientific musical analysis and cultural understanding.
Música norteña, a musical genre with its roots in the folk ballad traditions of Northern Mexico and the Texas-Mexican border region, has become a hugely popular musical style in the U.S., particularly among Mexican immigrants. Featuring evocative songs about undocumented border-crossers, drug traffickers, and the plight of immigrant workers, música norteña has become the music of a “nation between nations.” Música Norteña is the first definitive history of this transnational music that has found enormous commercial success in norteamérica.
Cathy Ragland, an ethnomusicologist and former music critic, serves up the fascinating fifty-year story of música norteña, enlivened by interviews with important musicians and her own first-hand observations of live musical performances. Beyond calling our attention to musical influences, Ragland shows readers the social and economic forces at work behind the music. By comparing música norteña with other popular musical forms, including conjunto tejano, she helps us understand and appreciate the musical ties that bind the Mexican diaspora.
We were going down the road, and we came to this house. There was a little boy standing by the road just crying and crying.
We stopped, and we heard the biggest racket you ever heard up in the house.
“What’s the matter, son?”
“Why, Maw and Paw are up there fightin’.”
“Who is your Paw, son?”
“Well, that’s what they are fightin’ over.”
Brimming with ballads, stories, riddles, tall tales, and great good humor, My Curious and Jocular Heroes pays homage to four people who guided and inspired Loyal Jones’s own study of Appalachian culture. His sharp-eyed portraits introduce a new generation to Bascom Lunsford, the pioneer behind the “memory collections” of song and story at Columbia University and the Library of Congress; the Sorbonne-educated collector and performer Josiah H. Combs; Cratis D. Williams, the legendary father of Appalachian studies; and the folklorist and master storyteller Leonard W. Roberts. Throughout, Jones highlights the tales, songs, jokes, and other collected nuggets that define the breadth of each man’s research and repertoire.
In recent years, there has been an upsurge in interest in "roots music" and "world music," popular forms that fuse contemporary sounds with traditional vernacular styles. In the 1950s and 1960s, the music industry characterized similar sounds simply as "folk music." Focusing on such music since the 1950s, The Never-Ending Revival: Rounder Records and the Folk Alliance analyzes the intrinsic contradictions of a commercialized folk culture. Both Rounder Records and the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance have sought to make folk music widely available, while simultaneously respecting its defining traditions and unique community atmosphere. By tracing the histories of these organizations, Michael F. Scully examines the ongoing controversy surrounding the profitability of folk music. He explores the lively debates about the difficulty of making commercially accessible music, honoring tradition, and remaining artistically relevant, all without "selling out."
In the late 1950s through the 1960s, the folk music revival pervaded the mainstream music industry, with artists such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez singing historically or politically informed ballads based on musical forms from Appalachia and the South. In the twenty-first century, the revival continues, and it includes a variety of music derived from Cajun, African American, and Mexican traditions, among many others. Even though the mainstream music industry and media largely ignore the term "folk music," a strong allure based on nostalgia, the desire for community, and a sense of exclusiveness augments an enthusiastic following connected by word-of-mouth, numerous festivals, and the Internet. There are more folk festivals now than there were during the original boom of the 1960s, suggesting that music artists, agents, and record label representatives are striking a successful balance between tradition and profitability. Scully combines rich interviews of music executives and practicing folk musicians with valuable personal experience to reveal how this American subculture remains in a "never-ending revival" based on fluid definitions of folk and folk music.
First popularized by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Paul Simon, the a cappella music known as isicathamiya has become internationally celebrated as one of South Africa's most vibrant and distinct performance traditions. But Ladysmith Black Mambazo is only one of hundreds of choirs that perform "nightsongs" during weekly all-night competitions in South Africa's cities.
Veit Erlmann provides the first comprehensive interpretation of isicathamiya performance practice and its relation to the culture and consciousness of the Zulu migrant laborers who largely compose its choirs. In songs and dances, the performers oppose the class and racial oppression that reduces them to "labor units." At the same time, Erlmann argues, the performers rework dominant images to symbolically reconstruct their "home," an imagined world of Zulu rural tradition and identity.
By contrasting the live performance of isicathamiya to its reproduction in mass media, recordings, and international concerts, Erlmann addresses important issues in performance studies and anthropology, and looks to the future of isicathamiya live performance in the new South Africa. Featuring an Introduction by Joseph Shabalala, the lead singer and founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the study of music, performance, popular culture, or South Africa.
Ole Hendricks was an immigrant both representative and exceptional—a true artistic talent who nevertheless lived a familiar immigrant experience. By day, he was a farmer. But at night, his fiddle lit up dance halls, bringing together all manner of neighbors in rural Minnesota. Each tune in his repertoire of waltzes, reels, polkas, quadrilles, and more were copied neatly into his commonplace book.
Such tunebooks, popular during the nineteenth century, rarely survive and are often overlooked by folk scholars in favor of commercially produced recordings, published sheet music, or oral tradition. Based on extensive historical and genealogical research, Amy Shaw presents a grounded picture of a musician, his family, and his community in the Upper Midwest, revealing much about music and dance in the area. This notable contribution to regional music and folklore includes more than one hundred of Ole's dance tunes, transcribed into modern musical notation for the first time. Ole Hendricks and His Tunebook will be valuable to readers and scholars interested in ethnomusicology and the Norwegian American immigrant experience.
This long-awaited project presents the results of a major research effort to determine the parameters of the stylistic variability of Arab folk music in Israel. Central to this old and highly improvised musical tradition is a unique modal framework that combines the concept of maqam—the foundation of Arab music theory—with other characteristics, including those of the text. Palestinian Arab Music is a comprehensive analysis of this music as actually practiced, examining both musical and nonmusical factors, their connection with the traits of individual performers, and their interaction with sociocultural phenomena.
Working initially with their own 1957 invention, the Cohen-Katz Melograph, and later with computers, Dalia Cohen and Ruth Katz recorded and digitized several hundred Palestinian music performances. The authors analyzed the musical tradition in light of its main variables. These include musical parameters, modal frameworks, the form and structure of the music, its poetic texts, and aspects of the social functions of the tradition. As a result of their study, the vexed aspect of intonation in practice is revealed to exist in a special relationship with the scale systems or maqamat, which are in turn of great importance to organizing the music and determining its modal systems.
A classic book about Appalachian life and music, now updated with new material.
Past Titan Rock, a winner of the Appalachian Award for Literature, is available in a new edition as part of the series Sounding Appalachia, with an introduction by series editor Travis D. Stimeling.
In 1977 Ellesa Clay High thought she would spend an afternoon interviewing Lily May Ledford, best known as the lead performer of an all-female string band that began playing on the radio in the 1930s. That meeting began an unexpected journey leading into the mountains of eastern Kentucky and a hundred years into the past. Set in Red River Gorge, an area of steep ridges and box canyons, Past Titan Rock is a multigenre, multivocal re-creation of life in that region. With Ledford’s guidance, High traveled and lived in the gorge, visiting with people who could remember life there before the Works Progress Administration built roads across the ridges and into the valleys during the New Deal. What emerges through a unique combination of personal essay, oral history, and short fiction is a portrait of a mountain culture rich in custom, oral tradition, and song. Past Titan Rock demonstrates the depth of community ties in the Red River Gorge and raises important questions about how to resist destructive forces today.
Born into folk music's first family, Peggy Seeger has blazed her own trail artistically and personally. Jean Freedman draws on a wealth of research and conversations with Seeger to tell the life story of one of music's most charismatic performers and tireless advocates.Here is the story of Seeger's multifaceted career, from her youth to her pivotal role in the American and British folk revivals, from her instrumental virtuosity to her tireless work on behalf of environmental and feminist causes, from wry reflections on the U.K. folk scene to decades as a songwriter. Freedman also delves into Seeger's fruitful partnership with Ewan MacColl and a multitude of contributions which include creating the renowned Festivals of Fools, founding Blackthorne Records, masterminding the legendary Radio Ballads documentaries, and mentoring performers in the often-fraught atmosphere of The Critics Group. Bracingly candid and as passionate as its subject, Peggy Seeger is the first book-length biography of a life set to music.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signaled the onset of tumultuous political, economic, and social reforms throughout Eastern Europe. In Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union these changes were linked to the activities and philosophies of political figures such as Václav Havel, Lech Walesa, and Mikhail Gorbachev. In Bulgaria, however, these changes were first heralded and even facilitated by particular musicians and shifting musical styles.
Based on fieldwork conducted between 1988 and 1996 with professional Bulgarian folk musicians, Donna A. Buchanan's PerformingDemocracy argues that the performances of traditional music groups may be interpreted not only as harbingers but as agents of Bulgaria's political transition. Many of the musicians in socialist Bulgaria's state folk ensembles served as official cultural emissaries for several decades. Through their reminiscences and repertoires, Buchanan reveals the evolution of Bulgarian musical life as it responded to and informed the political process. By modifying their art to accommodate changing political ideologies, these musicians literally played out regime change on the world's stages, performing their country's democratization musically at home and abroad.
Performing Democracy and its accompanying CD-ROM, featuring traditional Bulgarian music, lyrics, notation, and photos, will fascinate any reader interested in the many ways art echoes and influences politics.
Play Me Something Quick and Devilish explores the heritage of traditional fiddle music in Missouri. Howard Wight Marshall considers the place of homemade music in people’s lives across social and ethnic communities from the late 1700s to the World War I years and into the early 1920s. This exceptionally important and complex period provided the foundations in history and settlement for the evolution of today’s old-time fiddling.
Beginning with the French villages on the Mississippi River, Marshall leads us chronologically through the settlement of the state and how these communities established our cultural heritage. Other core populations include the “Old Stock Americans” (primarily Scotch-Irish from Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia), African Americans, German-speaking immigrants, people with American Indian ancestry (focusing on Cherokee families dating from the Trail of Tears in the 1830s), and Irish railroad workers in the post–Civil War period. These are the primary communities whose fiddle and dance traditions came together on the Missouri frontier to cultivate the bounty of old-time fiddling enjoyed today.
Marshall also investigates themes in the continuing evolution of fiddle traditions. These themes include the use of the violin in Westward migration, in the Civil War years, and in the railroad boom that changed history. Of course, musical tastes shift over time, and the rise of music literacy in the late Victorian period, as evidenced by the brass band movement and immigrant music teachers in small towns, affected fiddling. The contributions of music publishing as well as the surprising importance of ragtime and early jazz also had profound effects. Much of the old-time fiddlers’ repertory arises not from the inherited reels, jigs, and hornpipes from the British Isles, nor from the waltzes, schottisches, and polkas from the Continent, but from the prolific pens of Tin Pan Alley.
Marshall also examines regional styles in Missouri fiddling and comments on the future of this time-honored, and changing, tradition. Documentary in nature, this social history draws on various academic disciplines and oral histories recorded in Marshall’s forty-some years of research and field experience. Historians, music aficionados, and lay people interested in Missouri folk heritage—as well as fiddlers, of course—will find Play Me Something Quick and Devilish an entertaining and enlightening read.
With 39 tunes, the enclosed Voyager Records companion CD includes a historic sampler of Missouri fiddlers and styles from 1955 to 2012.
Composed of a core set of two drums and two gongs, p’ungmul is a South Korean tradition of rural folk percussion. Steeped in music, dance, theater, and pageantry, but centrally focused on rhythm, such ensembles have been an integral part of village life in South Korea for centuries, serving as a musical accompaniment in the often overlapping and shifting contexts of labor, ritual, and entertainment.
The first book to introduce Korean drumming and dance to the English-speaking world, Nathan Hesselink’s P’ungmul offers detailed descriptions of its instrumentation, dance formations, costuming, actors, teaching lineages, and the complexities of training. Hesselink also evaluates how this tradition has taken on new roles and meanings in the twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, investigating the interrelated yet contested spheres of history, memory, government policy, grassroots politics, opportunities for musical transmission, and performance practices and aesthetics.
P’ungmul offers those interested in ethnomusicology, world music, anthropology, sociology, and Asian studies a special glimpse into the inner workings of a historically rich, artistically complex, and aesthetically and aurally beautiful Korean musical and dance tradition.
The cowboy songs and dusty Texas car rides of his youth set Patrick B. Mullen on a lifelong journey into the sprawling Arcadia of American music. That music fused so-called civilized elements with native forms to produce everything from Zydeco to Conjunto to jazz to Woody Guthrie. The civilized/native idea, meanwhile, helped develop Mullen's critical perspective, guide his love of music, and steer his life's work. Part scholar's musings and part fan's memoir, Right to the Juke Joint follows Mullen from his early embrace of country and folk to the full flowering of an idiosyncratic, omnivorous interest in music. Personal memory merges with a lifetime of fieldwork in folklore and anthropology to provide readers with a deeply informed analysis of American roots music. Mullen opens up on the world of ideas and his own tireless fandom to explore how his cultural identity--and ours--relates to concepts like authenticity and "folkness." The result is a charming musical map drawn by a gifted storyteller whose boots have traveled a thousand tuneful roads.
Joe Wilson served for twenty-eight years as executive director of the National Folk Festival and National Council for Traditional Arts. Throughout his impressive career, Wilson wrote extensively and colorfully about many facets of vernacular music in North America, including works on major folk instruments, as well as on characteristic musical styles, especially old-time, bluegrass, modern country, blues, cowboy, a cappella gospel, and others. This volume, a companion to Lucky Joe’s Namesake: The Extraordinary Life and Observations of Joe Wilson, compiles Wilson’s best writings on musical topics, including some previously unpublished works.
With wry humor, Wilson covers the origins of roots music in eighteenth-century America and its subsequent dispersion through races, classes, ethnic groups, and newly settled regions. Wilson knew, worked with, and wrote about many iconic artists of the twentieth century, including Willie Nelson, Doc Watson, Clarence Ashley, the Stanley Brothers, Kenny Baker, Cephas & Wiggins, John Jackson, and members of the Hill Billies—the band whose name came to signify an entire genre of the earliest recorded roots music. This carefully curated volume is comprised of works previously scattered in liner notes, small-circulation magazines, tour booklets, and unpublished manuscripts, all collected here and organized by theme.
The writings of this legendary, internationally recognized figure will be indispensable to roots music fans and will delight readers and students interested in the traditional arts and dedicated to preserving historic folkways.
Fred Bartenstein teaches country and bluegrass music history at the University of Dayton. He is the editor of Bluegrass Bluesman: Josh Graves, a Memoir and coauthor and editor of The Bluegrass Hall of Fame: Inductee Biographies, 1991–2014
In Roots of the Revival: American and British Folk Music in the 1950s, Ronald D. Cohen and Rachel Clare Donaldson present a transatlantic history of folk's midcentury resurgence that juxtaposes the related but distinct revivals that took place in the United States and Great Britain.
After setting the stage with the work of music collectors in the nineteenth century, the authors explore the so-called recovery of folk music practices and performers by Alan Lomax and others, including journeys to and within the British Isles that allowed artists and folk music advocates to absorb native forms and facilitate the music's transatlantic exchange. Cohen and Donaldson place the musical and cultural connections of the twin revivals within the decade's social and musical milieu and grapple with the performers' leftist political agendas and artistic challenges, including the fierce debates over "authenticity" in practice and repertoire that erupted when artists like Harry Belafonte and the Kingston Trio carried folk into the popular music mainstream.
From work songs to skiffle, from the Weavers in Greenwich Village to Burl Ives on the BBC, Roots of the Revival offers a frank and wide-ranging consideration of a time, a movement, and a transformative period in American and British pop culture.
In 1978, four musicians crowded into a cramped basement theater in downtown Seoul, where they, for the first time, brought the rural percussive art of p’ungmul to a burgeoning urban audience. In doing so, they began a decades-long reinvention of tradition, one that would eventually create an entirely new genre of music and a national symbol for Korean culture.
Nathan Hesselink’s SamulNori traces this reinvention through the rise of the Korean supergroup of the same name, analyzing the strategies the group employed to transform a museum-worthy musical form into something that was both contemporary and historically authentic, unveiling an intersection of traditional and modern cultures and the inevitable challenges such a mix entails. Providing everything from musical notation to a history of urban culture in South Korea to an analysis of SamulNori’s teaching materials and collaborations with Euro-American jazz quartet Red Sun, Hesselink offers a deeply researched study that highlights the need for traditions—if they are to survive—to embrace both preservation and innovation.
In Segregating Sound, Karl Hagstrom Miller argues that the categories that we have inherited to think and talk about southern music bear little relation to the ways that southerners long played and heard music. Focusing on the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth, Miller chronicles how southern music—a fluid complex of sounds and styles in practice—was reduced to a series of distinct genres linked to particular racial and ethnic identities. The blues were African American. Rural white southerners played country music. By the 1920s, these depictions were touted in folk song collections and the catalogs of “race” and “hillbilly” records produced by the phonograph industry. Such links among race, region, and music were new. Black and white artists alike had played not only blues, ballads, ragtime, and string band music, but also nationally popular sentimental ballads, minstrel songs, Tin Pan Alley tunes, and Broadway hits.
In a cultural history filled with musicians, listeners, scholars, and business people, Miller describes how folklore studies and the music industry helped to create a “musical color line,” a cultural parallel to the physical color line that came to define the Jim Crow South. Segregated sound emerged slowly through the interactions of southern and northern musicians, record companies that sought to penetrate new markets across the South and the globe, and academic folklorists who attempted to tap southern music for evidence about the history of human civilization. Contending that people’s musical worlds were defined less by who they were than by the music that they heard, Miller challenges assumptions about the relation of race, music, and the market.
This book is a lyrical, scholarly exploration of the connection between one family's musical traditions and its rural community of Zion, Arkansas. In 1959, three Gilbert sisters—Alma, Helen, and Phydella—began compiling songs they remembered as their own and sending them to one another in letters. Their tendency to center memory in sound rather than sight reveals an unusual musical birthright. Robert Cochran has constructed a composite portrait of this family for whom music is the center of life. He examines their lived experience as they anchor their history through song, singing, and the playing of musical instruments. The Gilberts are wonderful exemplars of the "mediation of oral tradition," and when approached through their music, they reveal themselves as remarkable individuals with an elaborate and firmly held sense of their unique identities. A decade in the making, Singing in Zion is written with a memoirist's sense of family history and an ethnographer's sense of the rich encounter of worlds. This narrative has a seductive simplicity that conveys much of the Gilbert family's charm while at the same time establishing a broader framework that is firmly academic. It will be enjoyed by all readers.
Songs for the Spirits examines the Vietnamese practice of communing with spirits through music and performance. During rituals dedicated to a pantheon of indigenous spirits, musicians perform an elaborate sequence of songs--a "songscape"--for possessed mediums who carry out ritual actions, distribute blessed gifts to disciples, and dance to the music's infectious rhythms. Condemned by French authorities in the colonial period and prohibited by the Vietnamese Communist Party in the late 1950s, mediumship practices have undergone a strong resurgence since the early 1990s, and they are now being drawn upon to promote national identity and cultural heritage through folklorized performances of rituals on the national and international stage.
By tracing the historical trajectory of traditional music and religion since the early twentieth century, this groundbreaking study offers an intriguing account of the political transformation and modernization of cultural practices over a period of dramatic and often turbulent transition. An accompanying DVD contains numerous video and music extracts that illustrate the fascinating ways in which music evokes the embodied presence of spirits and their gender and ethnic identities.
This thirtieth anniversary edition of Sound and Sentiment makes Steven Feld's landmark, field-defining book available to a new generation of scholars and students. A sensory ethnography set in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, among the Kaluli people of Bosavi, Sound and Sentiment introduced the anthropology of sound, or the cultural study of sound. After it was first published in 1982, a second edition, incorporating additional field research and a new postscript, was released in 1990. The third edition includes all of the material from the first two editions, along with a substantial new introduction in which Feld discusses Bosavi's recent history and reflects on the challenges it poses for contemporary theory and representation.
Lawrence Gellert has long been a mysterious figure in American folk and blues studies, gaining prominence in the left-wing folk revival of the 1930s for his fieldwork in the U.S. South. A "lean, straggly-haired New Yorker," as Time magazine called him, Gellert was an independent music collector, without formal training, credentials, or affiliation. At a time of institutionalized suppression, he worked to introduce white audiences to a tradition of black musical protest that had been denied and overlooked by prior white collectors.
By the folk and blues revival of the 1960s, however, when his work would again seem apt in the context of the civil rights movement, Gellert and his collection of Negro Songs of Protest were a conspicuous absence. A few leading figures in the revival defamed Gellert as a fraud, dismissing his archive of black vernacular protest as a fabrication—an example of left-wing propaganda and white interference. A Sound History is the story of an individual life, an excavation of African American musical resistance and dominant white historiography, and a cultural history of radical possibility and reversal in the defining middle decades of the U.S. twentieth century.
Today's popular tassa drumming emerged from the fragments of transplanted Indian music traditions half-forgotten and creatively recombined, rearticulated, and elaborated into a dynamic musical genre. A uniquely Indo-Trinidadian form, tassa drumming invites exploration of how the distinctive nature of the Indian diaspora and its relationship to its ancestral homeland influenced Indo-Caribbean music culture.
Music scholar Peter Manuel traces the roots of neotraditional music genres like tassa drumming to North India and reveals the ways these genres represent survivals, departures, or innovative elaborations of transplanted music forms. Drawing on ethnographic work and a rich archive of field recordings, he contemplates the music carried to Trinidad by Bhojpuri-speaking and other immigrants, including forms that died out in India but continued to thrive in the Caribbean. His reassessment of ideas of creolization, retention, and cultural survival defies suggestions that the diaspora experience inevitably leads to the loss of the original culture, while also providing avenues to broader applications for work being done in other ethnic contexts.
The Tamburitza Tradition is a lively and well-illustrated comprehensive introduction to a Balkan folk music that now also thrives in communities throughout Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Tamburitza features acoustic stringed instruments, ranging in size from tamburas as small as a ukulele to ones as large as a bass viol.
Folklorist Richard March documents the centuries-old origins and development of the tradition, including its intertwining with nationalist and ethnic symbolism. The music survived the complex politics of nineteenth-century Europe but remains a point of contention today. In Croatia, tamburitza is strongly associated with national identity and supported by an artistic and educational infrastructure. Serbia is proud of its outstanding performers and composers who have influenced tamburitza bands on four continents. In the United States, tamburitza was brought by Balkan immigrants in the nineteenth century and has become a flourishing American ethnic music with its own set of representational politics.
Combining historical research with in-depth interviews and extensive participant-observer description, The Tamburitza Tradition reveals a dynamic and expressive music tradition on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, illuminating the cultures and societies from which it has emerged.
The folksongs of Texas's Mexican population pulsate with the lives of folk heroes, gringos, smugglers, generals, jailbirds, and beautiful women. In his cancionero, or songbook, Américo Paredes presents sixty-six of these songs in bilingual text—along with their music, notes on tempo and performance, and discography. Manuel Peña's new foreword situates these songs within the main currents of Mexican American music.
Based on a deep understanding of several genres of music, Burton shows the diversity of traditional music, and particularly singing styles, in the state that is the gateway for blues, country, and folk music.
Transforming Tradition examines the phenomenon of the folk song revival, those vibrant meldings of popular and folk culture that captured public awareness in the 1950s and 1960s. We remember the folk revival as forums for performers like Joan Baez and the Kingston Trio, and as incubators for unlikely radio hits like "Tom Dooley" and "Blowin' in the Wind." But it also gave rise to a bustling and influential subculture of hootenanies, coffeehouses, and blues and bluegrass appreciation, sowing a legacy that remains a vital part of American culture.
Many of the contributors to this collection performed during the revival era. Today, their expertise in folklore, ethnomusicology, and cultural history allow them to blend insider knowledge and trained analysis to offer unique perspectives.
While the Haitian musical tradition is probably best known for the Vodou-inspired roots music that helped topple the two-generation Duvalier dictatorship, the nation’s troubled history of civil unrest and its tangled relationship with the United States is more intensely experienced through its art music, which combines French and German elements of classical music with Haiti's indigenous folk music. Vodou Nation examines art music by Haitian and African American composers who were inspired by Haiti’s history as a nation created by slave revolt.
Around the time of the United States’s occupation of Haiti in 1915, African American composers began to incorporate Vodou-inspired musical idioms to showcase black artistry and protest white oppression. Together with Haitian musicians, these composers helped create what Michael Largey calls the “Vodou Nation,” an ideal vision of Haiti that championed its African-based culture as a bulwark against America’s imperialism. Highlighting the contributions of many Haitian and African American composers who wrote music that brought rhythms and melodies of the Vodou ceremony to local and international audiences, Vodou Nation sheds light on a black cosmopolitan musical tradition that was deeply rooted in Haitian culture and politics.
The seminal work of Ruth Rubin, a pioneering collector, singer, folklorist, writer, and crusader for the vanishing legacy of the Yiddish world, Voices of a People remains the only general introduction to Yiddish folksong.
A priceless collection of song texts in Yiddish and English, as well as a selection of tunes Rubin transcribed, this volume brings the Jews' ancient, itinerant culture alive through children's songs, dancing songs, and songs about love and courtship, poverty and work, crime and corruption, immigration, and the dream of a homeland. Rubin's notes and annotations weave each text into the larger story of the Jewish experience.
Noted scholar Mark Slobin provides a new foreword that includes a biographical sketch of Rubin and an assessment of her contributions over a lifetime of collecting, absorbing, and disseminating Yiddish folksong.
Voices of the Magi explores the popular Catholic musical ensembles of southeastern Brazil known as folias de reis (companies of kings). Composed predominantly of low-income workers, the folias reenact the journey of the Wise Men to Bethlehem and back to the Orient, as they roam from house to house, singing to bless the families they visit in exchange for food and money. These gifts, in turn, are used to prepare a festival on Kings' Day, January 6, to which all who contributed are invited.
Focusing on urban folias, Suzel Ana Reily shows how participants use the ritual journeys and musical performances of the folias to create sacred spheres distinct from, yet intimately related to, their everyday world. Reily calls this practice "enchantment" and argues that it allows the folia communities to temporarily make the social ideals of mutual reciprocity and equality embodied in their religious beliefs a reality. The contrast between their ritual experiences and the daily lives of these impoverished workers, in turn, reinforces the religious convictions of these devotees of the music of the Magi.
West African Pop Roots
John Collins Temple University Press, 1992 Library of Congress ML3503.A358C63 1992 | Dewey Decimal 781.630966
"Collins-Lowry gives persuasive examples of how employment gains made by Blacks in the 80's were rather more marginalized than we like to think."
Against the backdrop of increasing ambivalence in the federal government commitment to race-based employment policies, this book reveals how African-Americans first broke into professional and managerial jobs in corporations during the sixties and offers in-depth profiles of their subsequent career experiences.
Two sets of interviews with the most successful Black executives in Chicago's major corporations are used to demonstrate how the creation of the Black business elite is connected to federal government pressures and black social unrest that characterized the civil Rights movement in the sixties.
Black Corporate Executives presents, first hand, the dilemmas and contradictions that face this first wave of Black managers and reveals a subtle new employment discrimination. Corporations hired these executives in response to race-conscious political pressures and shifted them into "racialized" positions directing affirmative action programs or serving "special" markets of minority clients, customers, or urban affairs. Many executives became, as one man said, "the head Black in charge of Black people." These positions gave upper-middle-class lifestyles to those who held them but also siphoned these executives out of mainstream paths to corporate power typically leading through planning and production areas. As the political climate has become more conservative and the economy undergoes restructuring, these Black executives believe that the importance of recruiting Blacks has waned and that the jobs Blacks hold are vulnerable.
Collins-Lowry's analysis challenges arguments that justify dismantling affirmative action. She argues that it is a myth to believe that Black occupational attainments are evidence that race no longer matters in the middle-class employment arena. On the contrary, Blacks' progress and well-being are tied to politics and employment practices that are sensitive to race.
Think cowboys croon lullabies to cattle at night? Not exactly. Whether 'round the campfire or in the barroom, cowboys love a lusty chorus of the kinds of songs their mothers never taught them. Guy Logsdon painstakingly sought out, listened to, and recorded the bawdy songs of America's real working cowboys. Honest and hilarious songs ranging from "Little Joe, the Wrangler" to "Boring for Oil" and "Old Man's Lament" reveal an affection for humor--sometimes crude, sometimes clever--as well as an affable warts-and-all view of human nature.
Winner of the Westerners International Co-Founders Awards of the Western History Association, 1990.
Relying on extensive archival research and on sixty interviews with
fiddlers and their families and friends, Cauthen tells the rich, full story
of old-time fiddling in Alabama.
Writing of life in the Alabama Territory in the late 1700s,
A. J. Pickett, the state's first historian, noted that the country abounded
in fiddlers, of high and low degree. After the defeat of the Creek Indians
at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1813, the number of fiddlers swelled
as settlers from the southern states surrounding Alabama claimed the land.
The music they played was based on tunes brought from Ireland, Scotland,
and England, but in Alabama they developed their own southern accent as
their songs became the music of celebration and relaxation for the state's
pioneers. Early in the 20th century such music began to be called "old-time
fiddling," to distinguish it from the popular music of the day, and the
term is still used to distinguish that style from more modern bluegrass
and country fiddle styles.
In With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow, Cauthen focuses
on old-time fiddling in Alabama from the settlement of the state through
World War II. Cauthen shows the effects of events, inventions, ethnic groups,
and individuals upon fiddlers' styles and what they played. Cauthen gives
due weight to the "modest masters of fiddle and bow" who were stars only
to their families and communities. The fiddlers themselves tell why they
play, how they learned without formal instruction and written music, and
how they acquired their instruments and repertoires. Cauthen also tells
the stories of "brag" fiddlers such as D.Dix Hollis, Y. Z. Hamilton, Charlie
Stripling, "Fiddling" Tom Freeman,"Monkey" Brown, and the Johnson Brothers
whose reputations spread beyond their communities through commercial recordings
and fiddling contests. Described in vivid detail are the old-style square
dances, Fourth of July barbeques and other celebrations, and fiddlers'
conventions that fiddler shave reigned over throughout the state's history.
"The past fifteen years have been a time of intense scholarly interest in women, resulting in an explosion of literature that has begun to reveal the overriding effects of gender on other cultural domains. Affecting all aspects of culture, issues of sexuality, gender-related behaviors, and inter-gender relations also have profound implications for music performance. This volume represents an introduction to the field of women, music, and culture and in no way attempts to be comprehensive in its coverage nor conclusive in its implications. For example, Western classical music is not discussed here, many large world areas are not covered, nor does this volume present a comprehensive survey of all recent developments in feminist-oriented anthropology. What these essays do share is a focus on women's culture identity and musical activity, either in socially isolated performance environments or within the public arenas shared by their male counterparts."--From the preface