Milkmaids & Ploughboys
I got very excited to find a book called Folk Song in England by Steve Roud, mostly because I was hopeful it would be a source of new (to me) old songs. The Roud Folk Song Index (over 25,000 songs) resides at the Vaughn Williams Memorial Library, and is comprised of printed sources that predate 1900, includes the Child Ballads (songs of Scotland and England collected by Francis James Child in the mid-late 1800s), as well as field recordings from all manner of collectors. It is pretty much the go-to place if you want to research folk songs from England and Scotland. I found a video of Mr. Roud speaking to librarians at the Library of Congress, where he describes some of the problems he encountered in creating his index. For example, there are many songs in which "boy meets girl, boy murders girl, boy gets hanged"; how do you index each of the 28 versions? The motif may be fundamentally the same, yet the lyrics or tunes aren't, and they were collected in different countries. Such is the stuff librarians have to puzzle over, and I thank them for doing so! What I found funny is Roud's description of how he started his collecting in his 20s; after indexing all his Beatles albums and all his books, he became interested in folk music and wanted to catalog the songs, too. Clearly, this is a man of extreme patience and diligence. But of course, though it is a fat book, it is NOT the index, nor is it a collection of songs. Instead, it is a history of folk song from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. And though the book is not the encyclopedia I naïvely expected, I'm really enjoying its careful exploration of how folk songs have been collected, who collected them, and why. I always wonder about song origins, so I hope to learn more as I read. It's tempting to think that the songs were composed by milkmaids and ploughboys, but it is also true that country folk sang songs they liked that were composed by more educated people. I'll be curious to see what Mr. Roud's book puts forth on this particular piece of the puzzle!
FALL HARMONY WORKSHOPS All of the upcoming harmony workshops are on Saturdays from 2:00 - 4:00pm, and cost is $75. Email me with any questions you have about where you fit in: Intro to Harmony: September 22 Intermediate Harmony: October 6 Advanced Harmony: October 20 DO YOU WISH OUR WORKSHOPS WERE CLOSER TO YOU? If there are 8 - 12 students who would like to learn harmony singing and can offer a living room, church, or community center for two or three hours, Libby and I will bring the workshop to you! Find out how!
DON'T FORGET! Bring your kids or grandkids to the Freight and Salvage on Sunday, July 1st from 1 - 2:00pm. My daughter, Calvaleigh Rasmussen, and I will be hosting the Silly Song Sing-along. It's FREE, but you'll need to get a free ticket to attend. The songs will be perfect for kids four to fourth grade, but everyone is welcome to join us and learn some very, very silly songs!
LARK CAMP! July 27 - August 4 in the beautiful Mendocino Woodlands! I'll be teaching two classes; Get Your Voice Out of the Closet and Scottish Travellers Songs. Lark Camp was started in 1980 to allow traditional musicians and dancers to gather and share their skills. The event is an open forum for instrumentalists, singers and dancers to learn without being in too rigid a structure. I think I've been attending for 15 years, and I'm not bored, yet!