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Much More Irishness': Newfoundland Hears Its Own Distinct Voices From 1970s 0 E. Mee By Holly McKenzie-Sutter— “In the 1970s, Aidan O'Hara became known on Newfoundland's Cape Shore as ‘the real Irishman’ who came to town armed with a recorder, gathering traditional songs and stories. The Donegal-born broadcaster eventually produced documentaries showcasing the province's unique Irish-influenced culture for viewers and listeners in Ireland itself. The population of Newfoundland and Labrador was once almost half Irish or Irish descendants. According to the latest Canadian census, that number is now estimated at around 20 per cent, but the cultural influence remains strong in the outport communities settled by Irish immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Before his extended visit in the 1970s, O'Hara recalls an Ireland that wasn't aware of the strong Irish influence in outport communities like Branch. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on CBC’s website. McKenzie-Sutter, Holly. “'Much More Irishness': Newfoundland Hears Its Own Distinct Voices From 1970s.” The Canadian Press. (August 2, 2018). <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/distinct-newfoundland-voices-aidan-ohara-1.4772481>
by E. Mee
Monday, September 10, 2018
How a Newfoundland Folklorist Introduced Jerry Garcia to Bluegrass Music 0 E. Mee By Juanita Mercer — “Before forming the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia spent the early 1960s playing bluegrass music. In a local twist, his introduction to the genre came partly from St. John’s-based folklorist, bluegrass aficionado and Grammy Award-winner Neil Rosenberg. Rosenberg wrote the liner notes for the recently released ‘Before the Dead’ album — a collection of Garcia’s performances — mostly bluegrass — that marked the beginning of his ‘long, strange trip’ to stardom. Rosenberg moved to Newfoundland in 1968 when he became a folklore professor at Memorial University, but he spent his youth in Berkeley, Calif., where he was in a band called The Redwood Canyon Ramblers. They were the San Francisco Bay Area’s first bluegrass band when they formed in 1959. They were also the first bluegrass band Garcia ever saw in concert. He would go on to spend the first few years of the 1960s practising and performing bluegrass tunes. Fast-forward to May 1964. Rosenberg was in the last year of his folklore master’s degree program at Indiana University when Garcia paid him a visit. It was Garcia’s first trip outside of California; he was on a mission to learn more about bluegrass. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The Telegram’s website. Mercer, Juanita. “Before the Dead: How a Newfoundland and Labrador Folklorist Introduced Jerry Garcia to Bluegrass Music.” The Telegram. (September 1, 2018). <http://www.thetelegram.com/living/before-the-dead-how-a-newfoundland-and-labrador-folklorist-introduced-jerry-garcia-to-bluegrass-music-238182/>
by E. Mee
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Philip Pullman: Why We Believe in Magic 0 E. Mee By Philip Pullman — “A new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford brings together a multitude of objects and artworks – there’s a ‘poppet’ or rag doll with a stiletto stuck through its face, an amulet containing a human heart, a wisp of ‘ectoplasm’ apparently extruded by a medium in Wales, and too many others to count – from a dark world of nonsense and superstition that we ought to have outgrown a long time ago. At least, that’s how I imagine rationality would view it. I find myself in an awkward position rationality-wise, because my name is listed on the website of the Rationalist Association as a supporter, and at the same time I think this exhibition is full of illuminating things, and the mental world it illustrates is an important – no, an essential part of the life we live. I’d better try to work out what I mean. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The Guardian’s website. Pullman, Philip. “Philip Pullman: Why We Believe in Magic.” The Guardian. (September 1, 2018). <https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/sep/01/the-limits-of-reason-philip-pullman-on-why-we-believe-in-magic>
by E. Mee
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Brazil Museum Fire: ‘Incalculable’ Loss 0 E. Mee By Dom Phillips — “Brazil’s oldest and most important historical and scientific museum has been consumed by fire, and much of its archive of 20 million items is believed to have been destroyed. The fire at Rio de Janeiro’s 200-year-old National Museum began after it closed to the public on Sunday and raged into the night. There were no reports of injuries, but the loss to Brazilian science, history and culture was incalculable, two of its vice-directors said. ‘It was the biggest natural history museum in Latin America. We have invaluable collections. Collections that are over 100 years old,’ Cristiana Serejo, one of the museum’s vice-directors, told the G1 news site. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The Guardian’s website. Phillips, Dom. “Brazil Museum Fire: ‘Incalculable’ Loss As 200-year-old Rio Institution Gutted.” The Guardian. (September 3, 2018). <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/03/fire-engulfs-brazil-national-museum-rio>
by E. Mee
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Smithsonian Folkways: 70 Years of Peerless Sounds 0 E. Mee By Harley Brown —  “In 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was founded for one purpose, laid down by donor James Smithson in his last will and testament: for ‘the increase and diffusion of knowledge.’ Huib Schippers, director and curator of the establishment’s nonprofit record label, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, likes to translate that as simply ‘battling stupidity.’ Established in 1948 in New York and acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987, Folkways celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The Washington, D.C.-based label has both an expansive and eclectic catalog of material: from 1955’s Sounds of Medicine (a collection of recordings of the human body) to 1958’s Sounds of North American Frogs, as well as audiotapes from the Red Scare in the 1950s, when Sen. Joseph McCarthy claimed that the U.S. government had been infiltrated by Communists. ‘We’re trying to become the national museum of sound,’ says Schippers, 59, who aims to eventually expand its archives from 60,000 to 100,000 tracks. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on Billboard’s website. Brown, Harley. “Smithsonian Folkways: 70 Years of Peerless Sounds.” Billboard. (August 27, 2018). <https://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/record-labels/8472385/smithsonian-folkways-70-years-of-peerless-sounds>
by E. Mee
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
The Race to Save One Man's Collection of Black Americana 0 E. Mee By Andrew Gumbel — “Oran Z’s house is so crammed with black American memorabilia there is barely room to move. The hallways are lined with glass-fronted display cabinets and plastic storage crates filled with everything from slave shackles to the disembodied wax heads of African-American icons. The shelves groan under the weight of thousands of dolls, vinyl records, Mammy cookie jars and a vast assortment of what he calls ‘knick-knack paddywhacks’ – curios, gadgets and toys, many of them startling in their unabashed racism. The dining table, doing double-duty as desk space for a bank of computers, is hemmed in by a set of outsized, high-backed leather chairs. The kitchen is strewn with every imaginable object except cooking equipment. And outside the house, behind the swimming pool and towards the Sierra Pelona mountains of the Mojave desert, are nine shipping containers filled to the brim with a lifetime’s obsessive accumulation. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The Guardian’s website. Gumbel, Andrew. “'It's Hidden History': The Race to Save One Man's Collection of Black Americana.” The Guardian. (August 28, 2018). <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/aug/28/oran-z-collecting-black-americana-hidden-history-race?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=284445&subid=4196605&CMP=GT_US_collection>  
by E. Mee
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
The Disneyfication of China’s Minority Foods 0 E. Mee By Georgia Freedman — “The entrance of Jiangshan Buluo Restaurant is flanked by rows of buffalo skulls mounted on sticks and lit from below to give them an eerie, sinister quality. The half dozen buildings that serve as the restaurant’s private dining rooms have thatched grass roofs, as if they were in a rustic village. Just inside the door to the main building, a long horizontal photo depicts a young man—his face painted with streaks of bright red paint, his hair wild—yelling menacingly as he leans over a long drum, arms stretched wide. These are the symbols of China’s Wa minority, a historically marginalized ethnic group with a population of about 430,000 who live in the mountains in Yunnan Province, near the border with Myanmar. For centuries the Wa cultivated a reputation as fierce fighters—and even head hunters—in order to keep the Han Chinese majority away from their lands. Now they use these same symbols to draw them in, trading on their “exotic” way of life to take advantage of China’s growing tourism market. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on Taste’s website. Freedman, Georgia. “The Disneyfication of China’s Minority Foods.” Taste. (August 27, 2018). <https://www.tastecooking.com/disneyfication-chinas-minority-foods/>
by E. Mee
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Why Teach the Crafts of African Fashion? 0 E. Mee By Brianne Chapelle — “The Crafts of African Fashion initiative centers on the idea of sustaining the heritage arts such as leatherwork, weaving, and resist-dye techniques in African fashion. Throughout the ten days of the 2018 Folklife Festival, African artisans gave workshops and demonstrations on their crafts and sold their wares in the Festival Marketplace. As we learned, educational forums and intergenerational inheritance of various crafts are crucial to the heritage arts’ sustainability. Not so surprisingly, all of the featured artisans also work professionally in education. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s website. Chapelle, Brianne. “Why Teach the Crafts of African Fashion?” Festival Blog. (August 29, 2018). <https://festival.si.edu/blog/why-teach-the-crafts-of-african-fashion>
by E. Mee
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Afropunk: The Alternative Black Experience 0 E. Mee By Jewel Anderson — “In 2003, James Spooner released Afro-Punk, a documentary film that follows the lives of four young African Americans heavily involved in the punk music scene. Punk was a subculture vastly ignored by the black community, and the film reveals the struggle for belonging in each of his subjects. They see themselves as outsiders with nowhere to go to be themselves. Inspired to wider action, Spooner went on to create a safe space where African American underdogs of all stripes could fully and freely express their spirit. In 2005, his Afropunk Festival debuted in Brooklyn, New York. Through the years, other locations have been added as the festival spread to the worlds of food, art, fashion, film, and other forms of music. Today, over 100,000 people attend the festivals in Atlanta, Paris, London, and Johannesburg. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s website. Anderson, Jewel. “Afropunk: The Alternative Black Experience.” Folklife Magazine. (August 6, 2018). <https://folklife.si.edu/magazine/afropunk-alternative-black-experience>
by E. Mee
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Aloha to You, Too, Ungrateful Mainlanders 0 E. Mee By Lawrence Downes — “The Hawaiian dictionary defines 'aloha' as 'love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity.' It is a synonym for 'sweetheart' or 'loved one,' 'hello,' 'farewell,' and 'beloved, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, lovable.' It is also a verb meaning 'to love' or 'to show kindness, mercy, pity, charity, affection.' The word means a lot to those of us with Hawaiian roots. So we were upset to hear that a fast-food chain in Chicago called Aloha Poke Co. has been sending letters ordering companies in Hawaii and elsewhere to stop using “aloha” in their names. Aloha Poke sells food in bowls meant to resemble poke, a Hawaiian dish made of raw fish and seaweed and other seasonings. Nobody in Hawaii told these guys they couldn’t do this to our beloved poke, even though they are making it wrong, or that they couldn’t make commercial use of our greatest word. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The Washington Post’s website. Downes, Lawrence. “Aloha to You, Too, Ungrateful Mainlanders.” The Washington Post. (August 1, 2018). <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/08/01/aloha-to-you-too-ungrateful-mainlanders/?utm_term=.914fe2cb24be>  
by E. Mee
Monday, August 27, 2018
Local Historian Documents Music Heard in the Rocky Mountains 200 Years Ago 0 E. Mee Press Release –– Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal co-editor Scott Walker’s article entitled, “The Hunters of Kentucky Reach Rendezvous,” was selected for the recently released 2018 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal, an annual peer-reviewed publication showcasing new ideas and discoveries related to that fascinating era of American History. Walker realized during years of volunteer living history interpretation at Fort Laramie National Historic Site that music of a particular time and place is as much a historical artifact as the things of material culture. His research shows that the popular song, “The Hunters of Kentucky,” which commemorates the American victory over British forces at the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, was sung in southwest Wyoming as trappers and traders gathered for the Ham’s Fork Rendezvous of 1834. The singer, a Nez Perce Indian named The Bull’s Head, was taught the tune by American trappers, and his enthusiastic renditions of it earned him the nickname, “Kentuck.” William Marshall Anderson, a visitor to the West that year, remarked upon The Bull’s Head’s performances and nickname. Kentuck became a popular guide and is mentioned by his nickname in traveler’s journals, including those of Reverend Samuel Parker and Narcissa Whitman. In addition to placing “The Hunters of Kentucky” at rendezvous, Walker includes a scan of the earliest known sheet music of the song, as well as a brief description of additional period music that might have been heard around trapper’s campfires. Other articles in Volume 12 include pieces on the discovery of a petroglyph in the Bighorn Basin that shows a fur trade era keelboat; a story of the ambush of Alfred Stephens and his party by Gros Ventre Indians as they left the 1832 Pierre’s Hole Rendezvous and the search for the location of that event; independent trappers deserting their positions with the Hudson’s Bay Company to join an American entrepreneur; the differences between the British and American fur trade companies in treatment and integration of Iroquois Indians; and research done on the origins of a remarkable Native American war shirt painted with keelboats and flags that is displayed at a museum in Germany. The Museum of the Mountain Man recently acquired an accurate replica of that shirt and it is available for viewing in Pinedale, Wyoming.  Copies of the 2018 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal can be purchased online here. The Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal is an academic peer-review publication intended to further the knowledge base and discussion of the Rocky Mountain fur trade era and provide an avenue for researchers to showcase their work. The Museum of the Mountain Man was opened in 1990 by the Sublette County Historical Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation. It is dedicated to preservation and education about the adventurous young men who were the first non-natives to stay in the mountains year-round trapping for beaver in the 1820’s and 1830’s. The Museum puts on many educational programs during the year including Living History Days with the American Mountain Men each May; more than 35 programs during Green River Rendezvous Days each July telling the real story of the mountain men and Plains Indians; and the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal, an annual peer-reviewed research publication.  All programs are free and open to the public thanks to generous sponsors and donors. The Sublette County Historical Society also owns and manages the Sommers Homestead Living History Museum, Lander Trail New Fork River Crossing Historical Park, Trapper’s Point, and the Green River Rendezvous Grounds in Daniel, Wyoming. For more information about the Museum of the Mountain Man, contact Clint Gilchrist, Director, at director@mmmuseum.com.
by E. Mee
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Two Creepy Urban Legends Surrounding Malaysia's Highland Towers 0 E. Mee By Nicholas Chow — “If you're born and bred in Malaysia, you would have heard of the Highland Towers tragedy. If you haven't (tsk!), you can read all about it here. Almost 25 years on, the remains of the apartments lay abandoned...until now! Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told The New Straits Times that efforts are underway to re-develop the area and turn it into a recreational park. In fact, the talks have become quite serious as Zuraida said she has met with the Highland Towers Redevelopment Committee not once, not twice, but five times to discuss the plans. The land structure is perfect to build a recreational park, said Zuraida, and the re-development would benefit the people of Ampang. Before the plans officially get the greenlight to proceed (Zuraida told the daily that it's still some time off as "there are still many more details which need to be finalised"), it's our duty to inform you that Highland Towers is apparently a paranormal hotspot. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on Rojak Daily’s website. Chow, Nicholas. “Two Creepy Urban Legends Surrounding the Highland Towers.” Rojak Daily. (August 20, 2018). <http://www.rojakdaily.com/skop/article/5653/two-creepy-urban-legends-surrounding-the-highland-towers>
by E. Mee
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
A Family’s 400-Year-Old Musical Secret Still Rings True 0 E. Mee By Lara Pellegrinelli — “The surest route to a drummer’s heart? Cymbals. 'You can have all the swirling harmony in the world,' the drummer Brian Blade said, 'but only the cymbals can put you over the top of that mountain you’re trying to climb. The tension is the beauty of it, like riding a wave until you need it to crest.' Mr. Blade, who is best known for playing with the country music singer Emmylou Harris and the jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter,  said he thinks of his cymbals as an extension of himself, though he also gives credit for his distinctive sound to the instruments he plays: Zildjians. He has endorsed the brand for 20 years, just one in a long, diverse roster of musicians to do so. Zildjian was incorporated in the United States in 1929. But the company’s relationship with drummers, and drumming itself, dates back much further: 400 years to be precise, to 1618, when a secret casting process resulted in the creation of a new bronze alloy for the court of Sultan Osman II, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire. …" To continue reading, visit the full article on the New York Times’s website. Pellegrinelli, Lara. “A Family’s 400-Year-Old Musical Secret Still Rings True.” The New York Times (August 3, 2018). <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/03/arts/music/zildjian-cymbals-400-years.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news>
by E. Mee
Monday, August 20, 2018
Ready For A Linguistic Controversy? Say "Mmhmm." 0 E. Mee By Kumari Devarajan — “Pop quiz: What's a word you use a hundred times a day — that doesn't show up in the dictionary? Give up? Mmhmm. You got it! Mmhmm is a small word that's often used unconsciously. But it can actually tell us a lot about language, bias and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Once upon a time, English speakers didn't say ‘mmhmm.’ But Africans did, according to Robert Thompson, an art history professor at Yale University who studies Africa's influence on the Americas. In a 2008 documentary, Thompson said the word spread from enslaved Africans into Southern black vernacular and from there into Southern white vernacular. He says white Americans used to say ‘yay’ and ‘yes.’ As for ‘mmhmm’? ‘That,’ he says, ‘is African.’ (By the way, no one really seems to know how to spell ‘mmhmm’ — we're guessing here, too.) But it's tough to verify whether Thompson is right. And there's a reason for that: Tracing the linguistic path of mmhmm, and many other words commonly used today, from West Africa to the U.S. South is difficult, is riddled with controversy — and experts say it has lingering effects on how the speech of African-Americans is perceived. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on NPR’s website. Devarajan, Kumari. “Ready For A Linguistic Controversy? Say 'Mmhmm.'” NPR (August 17, 2018). <https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2018/08/17/606002607/ready-for-a-linguistic-controversy-say-mhmm>
by E. Mee
Monday, August 20, 2018
Hallberg Set to Make Beautiful Music at Sperryville Dulcimer Museum 0 E. Mee By Patty Hardee — “In 1998, John Hallberg picked up his first Appalachian dulcimer. He and some friends were in a shop on Howard Street in Ocracoke on North Carolina’s Outer Banks when he spied several instruments made by a local luthier (a maker of stringed instruments). ‘They each had ducks [carved] on the scroll, and one of them had a jumping dolphin,’ said Hallberg in an interview. ‘I thought, ‘I’ll get the jumping dolphin and next year I’ll come back and get one with a duck head.’ I went back a couple of years later. The guy who had made the dulcimers had died. All the duck dulcimers had been sold and now I’m on [a search] for those duck dulcimers.’ Hallberg, 53, of Jenkins Hollow in Sperryville, had never played the dulcimer before then, but easily got hooked. He’s never taken lessons, but says the dulcimer is easy to learn to play and he’s learned to play by ear. Twenty years later he owns what he calls one of the world’s best collections of Appalachian dulcimers, numbering more than 60 instruments.  …”  To continue reading, visit the full article on Rapp News’s website. Hardee, Patty. “Hallberg Set to Make Beautiful Music at Sperryville Dulcimer Museum.” Rapp News (August 11, 2018). <https://rappnews.com/2018/08/11/hallberg-set-to-make-beautiful-music-at-sperryville-dulcimer-museum/>
by E. Mee
Monday, August 20, 2018
How Slender Man Became a Legend 0 E. Mee By Gabe Cohn — “Ask those who know best about what makes this legend so frightening and you’re likely to hear some version of this response: Slender Man is scary not because of what you know about him but because of what you don’t know. ‘He’s ambiguous,’ said Vincent J. Caffarello, a creator of a web series focused on him, ‘EverymanHYBRID.’ ‘It’s like the trifecta of unknowables,’ said Adam Rosner, the creator of ‘TribeTwelve,’ another web series. ‘Unknown, uncanny and unintelligible.’ ‘The mystery which surrounds him is what rattles my soul,’ said the actor Doug Jones, who portrayed him in a 2015 film. The character is a blank canvas for our fears but also for online storytelling. Now the namesake of a new horror film, Slender Man started to take shape in an online forum nearly a decade ago, at a time when daily life was shifting to social media and the border between the online world and the real one was starting to blur. Here’s a look at Slender Man’s evolution. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The New York Times’s website. Cohn, Gabe. “How Slender Man Became a Legend.” The New York Times (August 15, 2018). <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/movies/slender-man-timeline.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state>
by E. Mee
Thursday, August 16, 2018
A Miraculous Field Recording: The Guitar Playing of Joseph Spence 0 E. Mee By Amanda Petrusich — “Sixty years ago, the American folklorists Samuel Charters and Ann Danberg visited the Fresh Creek settlement on the eastern end of the Bahamian island of Andros, just north of the Tropic of Cancer. Andros is now known chiefly as a sport-fishing and scuba-diving destination—besides a sizable barrier reef, the island is bordered by a massive oceanic trench known as the Tongue of the Ocean, and has more blue holes than anywhere else in the world. But Andros has received misfits and refugees for hundreds of years... In the nineteen-thirties, the folklorist Alan Lomax travelled to the Bahamas and recorded local fishermen singing sea chanteys and anthems (there’s some enduring confusion about whether or not Lomax recorded Spence, too, although Todd Harvey, a curator at the American Folklife Center, which manages the thousands of recordings Lomax made under the auspices of the Library of Congress, recently told me he couldn’t find any definitive connection between Spence and Lomax). Even if Lomax had come across Spence, by the nineteen-fifties, Spence’s repertoire would have been broader and weirder, its influences more disparate and motley. Island cultures tend to be insular, which is why music developed there can feel so unique—it’s often conceived of and honed in relative isolation. Spence didn’t seem to think about his work in terms of genre, yet his playing refers to the musical conventions of Tin Pan Alley, to gospel hymns, Delta blues, Appalachian folk, calypso, and any other number of things a listener can sense but not quite explicate. His notes are often just a little off-kilter, yet even the technical imperfections in his playing feel precise and intentional. It was just the way he thought things sounded best. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The New Yorker's website. Petrusich, Amanda. “A Miraculous Field Recording: The Guitar Playing of Joseph Spence.” The New Yorker. (August 15, 2018). <https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-miraculous-field-recording-the-guitar-playing-of-joseph-spence>
by E. Mee
Thursday, August 16, 2018
The Banjo Gathering: Exploring Banjo History and the American Experience 0 E. Mee By Greg C. Adams — “Now, after 24 years of chasing the banjo and its long, complex history, I often reflect on the incredible people I’ve collaborated with through the years, building on that sense of community that attracted me to the banjo in the first place. I’ve enjoyed many rich opportunities to learn from a great diversity of individuals and traditions in the Americas, West Africa, and Europe. Here in the United States, some of the most significant people I’ve known in the banjo world are associated with the annual Banjo Gathering. Formerly called the Banjo Collectors Gathering, this event has informed many aspects of my life as an archivist, ethnomusicologist, and musician. Since 1998, this informal network of collectors, researchers, instrument builders, and musicians has shaped the way people understand and appreciate the banjo’s deep links within the greater American experience. What makes the Banjo Gathering distinct from other banjo-centric events is that its founders – banjo collectors and scholars Peter Szego and Jim Bollman – have maintained the event to focus entirely on the banjo as a historical, cultural, and design object. Each Gathering has met in a range of locations along the east coast with geographic significance to banjo history, such as Rochester, Boston, Long Island, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Williamsburg, Virginia. This year, the Banjo Gathering is celebrating its 20th anniversary (1998—2018) on November 1—4 by convening at Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music Museum (BCMM). Here, registered participants will experience the Gathering’s signature activities while exploring the banjo’s intersections with the museum’s mission to illuminate Bristol’s role in the birth and development of country music. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The Birthplace of Country Music’s website. Adams, Greg. “The Banjo Gathering: Exploring Banjo History and the American Experience.” The Birthplace of Country Music (August 8, 2018). <https://www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/the-banjo-gathering-exploring-banjo-history-and-the-american-experience/>
by E. Mee
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
In Rediscovered Reed Flute, a Soulful Link to Jordanian Identity 0 R. Rini Larson By Taylor Luck — “The mournful ballads of lost love, an upbeat tune to welcome the harvest, wandering mystical notes contemplating and celebrating God. For thousands of years these songs came from the ground in the Levant, given voice by the nay, one of the very first reed flutes. The nay was made from thick reeds that grew wild in the region stretching from Ancient Egypt to Mesopotamia—at the heart of which lies modern-day Jordan. Rabee Zureikat, like many Jordanians, had long been enamored of the nay, whose soulful, ethereal sound is often used as an intro to classical Arabic orchestral music and mournful solos aired by Egyptian and Syrian TV. But when he wanted to learn to play the nay in 2005, there was one problem: There were none to be found in Jordan. Despite Jordan being home to the very same reeds used by ancient Egyptians, he discovered, local knowledge of how to make the flute, which was once a common instrument for Bedouin, shepherds, and peasants alike, had apparently been lost. While the artform continued to flourish in nearby Egypt, Syria, and even further afield in Turkey, in Jordan the craft fell victim some time in the 20th century to increased urbanization. Jordanians even claimed that the reed that had grown locally for thousands of years had died out. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on The Christian Science Monitor’s website. Luck, Taylor. “In Rediscovered Reed Flute, a Soulful Link to Jordanian Identity.” The Christian Science Monitor (July 13, 2018). <https://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/amphtml/World/Middle-East/2018/0713/In-rediscovered-reed-flute-a-soulful-link-to-Jordanian-identity>
by R. Rini Larson
Friday, August 10, 2018
The Horse Skulls Hidden in the Dance Floors of Ireland 0 E. Mee By Allison Meier — “When restoring or renovating an old house in Ireland, it’s not unusual to find a horse skull under the floor. While the rather macabre discovery might suggest some ritual sacrifice, it likely has a more practical origin: acoustics. ‘The large volume of the skull made it an ideal sound-box that added resonance to the sound of dancing feet during céilidhe [a social gathering with music and dancing],’ explains vernacular architecture scholar Barry O’Reilly in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature. Back in 1945, Seán Ó Súilleabháin, archivist at the Irish Folklore Commission, published a survey of foundation finds in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. It revealed that throughout Ireland, horse skulls were hidden beneath floorboards, sometimes with their cavities packed with coins. Seán Mac Mathghamhna of County Clare stated: ‘I used hear the old people say that it was put there for the purpose of giving a fine hearty echo (macalla) to the house when people would be talking or walking inside the house. But, particularly, they put the head (with the coppers) in the floor so that their dancing would sound better, for the old people were all for sport.’ From County Kerry came a tale of a horse skull installed under a bridge ‘to give it a clear echo’; in County Wexford skulls were reportedly placed below church altars to ‘help the preacher to be heard all over the church. In some churches up to twenty of these heads were buried together.’ …” To continue reading, visit the full article on JSTOR Daily’s website. Meier, Allison. “The Horse Skulls Hidden in the Dance Floors of Ireland.” JSTOR Daily (July 30, 2018). <https://daily.jstor.org/the-horse-skulls-hidden-in-the-dance-floors-of-ireland/>
by E. Mee
Friday, August 3, 2018

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
Classroom-Office Building, Indiana University, 800 East Third Street, Bloomington IN 47405 USA
812/856-2379; www.afsnet.org


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