The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23696 Message #643591
Posted By: Kaleea
06-Feb-02 - 01:32 AM
Thread Name: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
There is too much emphasis on being aghast at what some perceive to be prejudice! Lighten up, folks. We cannot go back several decades or hundreds of years & change the prejudices of the composers. We cannot change the lyrics to Stephen Fosters songs where he commonly & liberally uses vocabulary of the time (i.e., "darkies" "ethopian" etc.). If we take songs in context of when they were written, and by whom, especially a "folk" song, then we are students of music, musicoligists, if you will, if only of the armchair variety. At this point, we then must accept the song & it's lyrics for what they are, and not place blame, but rather ascertain the message, if any, which the song offers. If we like a song, if it speaks to us, then it has a message worth sharing to others. I have heard the Whistling Gypsy Rover song as long as I can remember. I have heard some of the above versions in english & Irish, and sometimes they sing that the "whistlin' Gypsy Rover" is a pauper, an ideal of the proverbial, romantic "gypsy" living as Robin Hood in the forest. Most of the time, it is the classic tale of the prince who, posing as a pauper, finds love and takes her home, for her to find that she has indeed won the brass ring & married a prince. But most miss one important clue to his personality & musicianship, and that is of the "irish tin whistle" or "penny whistle," which gives a whole new meaning to "he whistled & he sang till the green woods rang." I prefer to enjoy the version where they came to a castle fine.