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More obscure Canadian mumming

Desert Dancer 21 Mar 12 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,olddude 21 Mar 12 - 12:17 PM
Nerd 21 Mar 12 - 05:10 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 22 Mar 12 - 12:09 AM
Desert Dancer 22 Mar 12 - 04:36 PM
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Subject: More obscure Canadian mumming
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 11:55 AM

One of those funny coincidences: Just a few days ago I posted a link to a nice film of mumming from Newfoundland, and on Facebook today, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress provided a link to a previously unpublished mummers play found in Newfoundland and Saskatchewan:
Three weeks ago, the head of the AFC archive, Michael Taft, retired. In honor of Micheal, we present one of his greatest finds as a folklorist, the "Newfoundland-and-Saskatchewan Squid-and-Bigfoot Mummers Play and Mock Wedding," as performed by the AFC Staff on the occasion of Michael's retirement.

The full details can be read here.

An excerpt of the opening moments:

Cast enters singing "O Canada." After "My home and native land," the singers become increasingly unsure of the words and tune, and eventually fizzle out.
Bass-Ackwards.
In comes I, old Bass-Ackwards
From the reading room I have traveled stackwards
From old Manila, where the envelopes grow
To the town of Mylar, where the dust can't go,
I have moved, rehoused, preserved, and accessioned.
And now I have handled every collection
So I've come to report to my archive head
About crumbling acetate, and sticky shed
Paper going brown (from acid, I'm guessing)
Tapes that smell like salad dressing
Cylinders and spools of wire
fieldnotes damaged by water and fire
But whether it take a year or a day
Here is Bigfoot, to clear the way!


I think this find is a treasure that should not be missed by anyone with interest in mumming traditions, ethnography, or cryptozoology. Or library science.

If I'm not mistaken, one of our own Mudcat folk Geeks was involved with this... or is that a folk Nerd? I always have trouble figuring out which of those terms is appropriate.

;-)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: More obscure Canadian mumming
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 12:17 PM

Dear Becky
Priceless


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Subject: RE: More obscure Canadian mumming
From: Nerd
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 05:10 PM

Yes, it is indeed me who organized this performance and played Bigfoot...thanks for posting, Becky!


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Subject: RE: More obscure Canadian mumming
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 22 Mar 12 - 12:09 AM

The Cape Breton's Acadian French still cellebrate Mi-Carême which I believe to be closely related to the mumming tradition:
Mi-Carême


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Subject: RE: More obscure Canadian mumming
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Mar 12 - 04:36 PM

Sandy, it's interesting how that Lenten "Mi-Carême" looks just like the Christmas "mummering" in Newfoundland that I had linked to before. It looks like there's no particular performance or theatrics in either of those, other than individual disguises.

(As an aside, I enjoyed visiting Cheticamp on my Cape Breton visit some years back, and Cheticamp Reel is a favorite to play.)

Nerd's Washington, DC, production was a wonderful spoof based on the English/British Christmas mumming plays -- but I guess it's also traditional to adapt the details of the play to spoof contemporary issues of one sort or another (an especially local issue in this case: the retirement of one of the folklorists).

There's nothing like self-referential folk activities! :-)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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