The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60438   Message #967644
Posted By: Frankham
17-Jun-03 - 11:20 AM
Thread Name: Is that really you?
Subject: RE: Is that really you?
There are those who are good mimics. Frank Warner, the veteran folklorist, put out an album in which he perfectly mimiced the people he had learned songs from.

Where it gets weird for me is when I hear young white kids forcing their voices trying to sound black.

How much of an actor do you have to be to sing folk songs?

Pete Seeger is from New England. He sometimes speaks to my ear like Katherine Hepburn (which is OK by me). When he interprets Appalachia, you know that he really isn't coming from there but if you are a Pet fan (I am) does it matter? Same goes for when Pete sings a blues.

Burl Ives was trained by a Metropolitan vocal coach to sing Schuber Lieder. Did anyone care when he sang folk song concerts?

Josh White sang in a voice more suited to gospel music than to blues. He was not a shouter though. Early Belefonte listened to Josh. (Check out Mark Twain). Did Belefonte really sound like a Calypso singer?

In any of these cases, did the public care?

It might be that one person's view of an "honest voice" may differ from another's. Maybe it goes beyond "voice" to an attitude?

Frank Hamilton