The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #131171   Message #3442392
Posted By: Arkie
26-Nov-12 - 09:54 AM
Thread Name: Quills: African-American panpipes
Subject: RE: Quills: African-American panpipes
Here in the Arkansas Ozarks, in the early part of the 20th century there was a gentlemen who played the quills. He was the father of the barber who cut my hair in the 1970s when I had first moved to Stone County. Since I played a little music and sang one of the songs his father had sung, he mentioned his father's quill playing to me one day as he was snipping away. As he described it, his father would sing, play a bit on the quills and give a sharp 'whoop'. At the time I came here there was only one person of African descent in the county. That is also true today, although Toni was sent here a few years back by the National Forest Service. However, some music and customs were influenced by steamboat and riverboat workers. The White River forms an eastern border for Stone County and there was, at one time, active commercial traffic on the river. Steamboat traffic ended around 1900 when the railroad was completed but from what I have been told there were still some riverboats in operation and folk along the river would pick up music they would hear on the boats.

I regret not asking the barber if he knew how his father learned to make and play the quills. Had not thought of it in years, until seeing this thread. And now he is gone. Died earlier this year.