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College-based Chanty Ensemble-Pomona, Calif

Gibb Sahib 21 Apr 13 - 04:24 AM
Desert Dancer 21 Apr 13 - 04:28 AM
Gibb Sahib 21 Apr 13 - 06:51 AM
Desert Dancer 21 Apr 13 - 01:40 PM
ChanteyLass 21 Apr 13 - 09:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Apr 13 - 06:07 PM
Janie 23 Apr 13 - 08:15 PM
ChanteyLass 24 Apr 13 - 12:39 AM
Marc Bernier 24 Apr 13 - 09:33 AM
Gibb Sahib 24 Nov 13 - 11:16 PM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Nov 13 - 02:50 AM
Gibb Sahib 25 Nov 13 - 07:02 PM
Gibb Sahib 08 Dec 13 - 03:20 PM
ChanteyLass 08 Dec 13 - 08:35 PM
Charley Noble 08 Dec 13 - 09:05 PM
Desert Dancer 09 Dec 13 - 01:35 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Mar 14 - 05:29 AM
ChanteyLass 12 Mar 14 - 09:28 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Mar 14 - 12:41 AM
ChanteyLass 13 Mar 14 - 10:38 PM
Gibb Sahib 15 Mar 14 - 07:37 AM
Stewart 15 Mar 14 - 12:34 PM
ChanteyLass 15 Mar 14 - 10:54 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Mar 14 - 10:07 PM
Gibb Sahib 17 Mar 14 - 08:03 PM
ChanteyLass 17 Mar 14 - 08:57 PM
Gibb Sahib 17 Mar 14 - 09:27 PM
John Minear 18 Mar 14 - 09:19 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Mar 14 - 03:14 AM
ChanteyLass 30 Mar 14 - 07:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Apr 14 - 09:01 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Apr 14 - 09:04 PM
ChanteyLass 21 Apr 14 - 09:35 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Apr 14 - 01:04 AM
ChanteyLass 22 Apr 14 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,Jon Cannon 24 Apr 14 - 09:54 PM
ChanteyLass 25 Apr 14 - 08:26 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Jul 14 - 12:54 PM
ChanteyLass 07 Jul 14 - 10:13 PM
Gibb Sahib 11 Jul 14 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,mg 12 Jul 14 - 04:53 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Jul 14 - 06:50 PM
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Subject: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:24 AM

Just spreading the word about this chanty and maritime music ensemble that will be an official course at Pomona College (California) in the Fall semester of 2013.

Probably no one on this board is nearby, but it can't hurt to spread the word—at least for documentary purposes!

Does anyone know of any other college-based ensemble-courses that have taken place? It would be interesting to know what the precedents are.

https://www.facebook.com/PomonaCollegeChanty


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:28 AM

Cool! There is a monthly (non-academic) chantey sing in San Pedro, too.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 06:51 AM

Becky—

I lived in Long Beach for the better part of a year, but never did get to go to the chantey sing at the Whale and Ale in Pedro—transportation issues! However, my lack of a car never stopped me from taking a stroll to see the vessels in the downtown harbor several times a week—and singing to myself as I went!



If people check out some of the posts on the page: Pomona College, in a funny way, had actually some role in shaping chanties as we now know them. Robert Shaw, whose album of concert-style chanties were influential on today's "standard" versions (at least among popular audiences) first sang chanties there as a member of the glee club.

There is a lively interest in a capella singing at the college today; I hope some of the students with that inclination decide to join the group.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 01:40 PM

I wish you luck in pulling it together and I hope I can catch a performance sometime!

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 09:41 PM

What a great idea for a course! I am not aware of any colleges with related courses. I just looked at the website of Williams-Mystic and no similar course is listed.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 06:07 PM

ChanteyLass—

IIRC, Williams-Mystic does / has done a summer workshop on sailor songs.

This one at Pomona College will be interesting because it will culminate in a rather formal performance—with a program and program notes, etc! And ushers...haha

I think it may be some kind of milestone because it is being situated along with other "official" ensembles offered by a Music Department (i.e. orchestra, band, choir, gamelan ensemble, jazz).


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Janie
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 08:15 PM

Hurrah! Will look forward to sound links if they become available.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 12:39 AM

I am aware of the summer workshop. I keep hoping to participate someday! I have seen the price and think it is reasonable.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 09:33 AM

Yes, Williams/Mystic in fact does have a Chantey program. Don Sineti and myself are the instructors. The summer chantey program at the seaport is not however connected with the college program. I believe that is taught by Don & David Littlefield.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 11:16 PM

The flyer for the performance, Wed. Dec 4 @8pm in Claremont, California.

http://www.pomona.edu/academics/departments/music/fliers/sea-chanty-ensemble-con

It will be 14 students from the Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Pitzer, etc.)

We are starting to generate some buzz. As of now, 30 students are already signed up for next semester's course.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 02:50 AM

what a great poster! & a great idea.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 07:02 PM

Poster art was borrowed from an old collection of French bawdy sailor songs.

***

Here is an article on the group/course that just came out in the college paper.

http://tsl.pomona.edu/articles/2013/11/22/lifeandstyle/4566-sea-chanty-and-marit


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Dec 13 - 03:20 PM

The concert was a great success.

Here is the brief of what was on the program.


An Evening of Chanties, Sailor Songs, and Tunes
Presented by the Pomona College Sea Chanty & Maritime Music Ensemble


The President's March

"Sally Brown" - "Shenandoah" set
1. Shallow Brown; 2. Sally Brown; 3. Roll and Go; 4. Bound Down Trinidad; 5. Shinyoh;
6. Ride Down Trinidad; 7. Mother Dinah; 8. Sing Sally-oh; 9. Walkalong, You Sally Brown;
10. Rolling River

Rickett's Hornpipe – Larry O'Gaff – College Hornpipe

Can't You Dance the Polka?

"Hilo" set
1. John's Gone to Hilo; 2. Hilo Somebody Below; 3. Hilo, Boys, Hilo; 4. A Hundred Years Ago; 5. One Hundred Years and a Hilo; 6. Hilo John Brown, Stand to Your Ground; 7. Johnny Come Down to Hilo, Pull Down Below; 8. Johnny Come Down to Hilo, Poor Old Man

Roll, Bullies, Roll

True Yankee Whalermen

"Stormalong" set
1. Santy Anna; 2. Carry Him to the Burying Ground; 3. Stormalong John; 4. Yankee John, Stormalong; 5. Stormalong, My Stormy; 6. Mister Stormalong

Magelhan (Rolling Home)

Farewell set
1. Lowlands; 2. Pull Down Below; 3. Highland Laddie; 4. Clear the Track; 5. Rio Grande


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 08 Dec 13 - 08:35 PM

Wish I could have been there!


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Dec 13 - 09:05 PM

Happy to hear this went well.

Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Dec 13 - 01:35 PM

Glad it went well and sorry I had other stuff going on at the time! Will be keeping an eye on your announcements for future semesters.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 05:29 AM

Here's a brief snippet of the Fall 2013 performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnUETMbqt34

Very busy right now getting the Spring semester performance in shape! The date is April 30. It will include even more songs/tunes than the previous, and the group's size is increased to 22 members.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 09:28 PM

I enjoyed the video. Where was this crew rolling home to? I couldn't understand the word and am guessing it was some local place.

I hope the April 30th performance is a success and that everyone there enjoys these songs as much as I do.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 12:41 AM

That's very nice of you to say, ChanteyLass.

I agree: It's quite difficult if not nearly impossible to get where we were rolling home to...if some one (as I did!) edits out the rest of the song! It's: Hamburg! The song is the Low German ("Plattdüütsch") version. In Low German, it's spelled "Hamborg" and pronounced a little like "haamboish". Since the chorus is in English though, the audience was able to sing along nevertheless.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 10:38 PM

Ah! Now that I know what the word is, I've replayed the video and can make it out.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 07:37 AM

The very detailed program notes are here.

Program Notes


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Stewart
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 12:34 PM

It's great to hear that sea chanties have surfaced again at my old alma mater. As a member of the Pomona College Men's Glee Club (1955-59) I was not aware that they sang sea chanties in the past (see Program Notes, above post). Keep it up - great fun!

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 10:54 PM

I just read the program notes. You weren't kidding when you called them very detailed. Wow! Good work!


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 10:07 PM

Haha, ChanteyLass I am always very detailed... slow, but in the end of everything, very detailed :)

Here is the start of the show - the introduction. I chose "The President's March" because it gives it a sort of "college-y" feel (it feels like something the students would march to at Commencement/Convocation), and to mark this performance as a rather "American" perspective on maritime music.

PART 1


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 08:03 PM

Here's the full performance, in 10 parts.

Playlist.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 08:57 PM

I just watched Part 1. I'll be back for more.My computer isn't buffering well at the moment.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 09:27 PM

You can try adjusting it to 360p instead of HD (720p).


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: John Minear
Date: 18 Mar 14 - 09:19 PM

Hey Gibb, I have just finished watching the last three parts of this concert. I have never heard chanty singing like this before. What a fine piece of work all the way around from the research to the production itself. The students obviously enjoyed it and I really liked the way you got all of them involved in doing leads. The feel of the chanties was very realistic. And I've never seen them done in thematic sets like this. That was very enjoyable and educational, too, and showed most effectively the similarities and diversities of the different chanty families. I especially liked the "Sally Brown/Shenandoah" and the "Stormalong" sets. I'll bet some of these chanties have never been performed before. Your students seemed right at home with them. Those of us who have followed your research work here on Mudcat know how much went into each and every one of those songs in terms of background study and development. The program notes also make that clear. Congratulations to you and your crew, and may the Spring Concert be even more fun. I look forward to seeing and hearing it. Keep up all of your good work and it is especially gratifying to see you doing this in a college setting with young people. They are very lucky. Oh, and I appreciated the focus on the obvious Afro-American background of these chanties.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Mar 14 - 03:14 AM

Thank you very much for your comments, John!

As for what may have been new or rather uncommon in terms of repertoire in the performance - what had perhaps not been performed (i.e. aside from my youtubes) 'revived' before, or uncommonly performed - here is a sketch.

Sally Brown - often been performed, of course, but curiously uncommon in today's chanty sings... curious because it is one of the all-time most important chanties. I don't understand why it is so neglected.

Roll and Go - I did it on youtube, then it was done on Short Sharp Shanties project since it comes from John Short.

Ride Down Trinidad - not previously 'revived', to my knowledge

Mother Dinah - not often sung...I don't think I've ever heard it, at least.

Sing Sally-oh - not previously revived, TMK

Walkalong, You Sally Brown - not previously revived, TMK

Rolling River - very common of course, but we 'restore' the 'correct' melody that RR Terry's presentation (I allege) sent off track

Hilo Somebody Below - uncommon...or in a different form

Hilo, Boys, Hilo - uncommon...not really done

One Hundred Years and a Hilo - not previously revived, TMK

Hilo John Brown, Stand to Your Ground - at one time common in revival, but we 'restore' what I think McColl sent off track

Carry Him to the Burying Ground - common, but we eschew 'Great Big Sea' type default version and go back to some sources

Stormalong John - sometimes sung, but not in this style

Yankee John, Stormalong - I don't think many/any sing this nowadays

Stormalong, My Stormy - I don't think I've ever heard it sung.

Mister Stormalong - If any "stormalong" is sung, this is usually the one...yet still not sung enough IMO given the very weighty role of "storm along" chanties in the history of the genre

Lowlands - My idiosyncratic take. Inspired in part by the description of it as "the most wild and mournful of the chanties" (paraphrase) in 1882, and my feeling that contemporary renditions do not usually exhibit anything I'd imagine as sounding "wild and mournful."


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 07:55 PM

Last night I finally watched all the videos. It was great fun. I was glad that I finally had the time to see all of them. I didn't know when I started that I'd get through them all in one sitting, but I just kept sailing on. Also, when I was ready to start Mudcat was down so I couldn't get to the videos by clicking on your link above. I went to YouTube and looked there for Pomona College Chantey Ensemble or something similar and found them. I wish my college had offered something like that! Can you tell us anything about the reason these students (no names, of course!) chose this course?


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 09:01 PM

Hey, ChantyLass, thanks for that!

This semester, I think a good number of students simply heard from their friends who were in the group last semester, i.e. that it was fun/interesting.

In fact, I did not have to formally advertise the course/ensemble *at all*. There is a 2-3 day window during which currently enrolled students can sign up for courses for the next semester. Last semester, when that wind opened, I didn't even advertise anything and the class registration just filled up.

Some may be attracted by the idea that "no experience is necessary." In some of the other music department offerings, one has to audition.

Chanties are somewhat popular, I think, due to the video game that was released last fall called "Assassin's Creed IV". I hear about this game now and then from my students.

Also, I've recently become away that this HBO TV show called "Game of Thrones" is quite popular with college age students. While the show doesn't involve maritime music, the tone of it is similar to how many *imagine* the world of maritime music to be. That might have gotten a few students through the door.

There were about 32-34 students registered at some point (more than we can handle), and then as with every class some decided it wasn't for them and dropped out. Our final count tis semester is 22 students. I think that's a great number.

The "formula" seems to be working pretty well, to create interest in traditional music among "young people."


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 09:04 PM

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT!

Pomona College Sea Chanty & Maritime Music Ensemble
8 PM, Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Lyman Hall (Thatcher Music Building, Pomona College)

The unique sounds of the Golden Age of Sail are brought to life in a diverse program of traditional songs, tunes, and dance. The Ensemble performs both working chanties and leisure music of international deep-sea sailors, Deep South stevedores, East Coast fishermen, Caribbean boatmen, and other maritime laborers in their historical forms. Come and lend your voice to the choruses!

Concert flyer (pdf)


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 09:35 PM

Oh my goodness! It's almost time for the next concert!

I like that no experience or audition is needed. Chantey singer and folk singers in general don't always have the best voices. I could name some famous people . . . but I won't.

Is there any way you can turn your experiences with this class into a paper that you could submit for the 2015 Mystic Sea Music Festival? Or have you already done that or something else for this June's festival?

Are you in Facebook's Shanty and Seasong lovers group? Someone named Guy Giard posted a link there to your Pomona College Chanty YouTube page.

So many posts on that group's page are in Dutch that with a little help from translations by Bing (often awkward) I'm starting to understand a little of that language, at least when it relates to chanties!


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:04 AM

My feeling is that there are a certain number of people (e.g. students at my college) out there who want to engage music in some way - that is, some way beyond recorded media, videos, mp3-players and such - but are not sure where they fit.

Some have are "trained" musicians that join the "classical" groups, etc. Some take the initiative to form bands. Some engage some music performance that they see as part of their heritage. Some get into DJing or rapping. "A cappella" groups are particularly popular, but they require lots of dedication and an audition from members.

There are others still who haven't found any of the above options, and they don't feel they are competent to enter into those scenes. This Ensemble is for them. That is, while some have joined because they have a specific interest in maritime music, others just want to be in a group that accepts them without any reservations - AND which offers the chance to actually end up performing in a way that is decent, too.

I have seen, periodically, questions about how to get "young people" more involved in traditional music. I do have thoughts on it, though I'm not sure if I could put them in general terms. They've more to do with the specific things I do when working with the students, I guess. I think it also helps that I am between "young people" and "old people" :) - a mediator?

***
There is a fair chance that I'll submit a paper (on some topic) to next year's Mystic Symposium, if I expect to be in the area for other reasons (it is an expensive trip from California, which is why I didn't consider it for this year). As it turns out, I may end up being at the Festival this year anyway, though I could not have foreseen that when the Call for Papers was going round.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 09:19 PM

I hope you can make it!


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: GUEST,Jon Cannon
Date: 24 Apr 14 - 09:54 PM

Brown University has a chantey group! Go to www.arrr.net. They're pretty into the pirate thing, but they've also got a really decent repertoire and are getting a lot of young people into sea music. "Pirate" is a gateway drug.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 08:26 PM

I'm glad to hear Arrr is still going. I'm not sure how many years ago I first saw them at a Mystic Sea Music Festival, but I worried that when the original members graduated, it might cease to exist.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Jul 14 - 12:54 PM

The program from the Spring 2014 performance is here:

PROGRAM Notes

Lots of info on 19th century workers' music and history of the songs.

Songs include several Caribbean items, a Low German and a Swedish song, opera tunes, and more!


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 07 Jul 14 - 10:13 PM

Once again, great job and interesting information! I look forward to seeing videos.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 06:35 PM

The videos are here!

Pomona College Chanty - Spring 2014 performance


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble-Pomona, Calif
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 04:53 PM

As to why Sally Brown is not sung..could people be uncomfortable with how it starts out..Sally Brown is a white mullata..I would probably not sing those words but I don't like changing words either.


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Subject: RE: College-based Chanty Ensemble-Pomona, Calif
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 06:50 PM

Yes, GUEST,mg, I think that is a possible reason.

Of course, one sings whatever solo verses one likes in a chanty.

And plenty of chanties got "revived" with odd-ball lyrics that seem to have been atypical of if not absent in tradition. The whole "red-skinned maiden" stuff of "Rolling River" (Shenandoah) comes to mind.

But two tendencies converged, I think. 1. The tendency of 20th c. revival singers to think they needed to stick to the lyrics of whatever "version" of a song they received. 2. The tendency for "Sally Brown" to be quite stable - perhaps more stable than most chanties - in having that lyric somewhere in most renditions…meaning that nearly all models for revival singers would include that lyric. So, perhaps people felt stuck with it and, as you suggest, opted simply not to sing the song at all, rather than omit or bowdlerize the lyric.

All this sounds plausible to me, but people have been happy to bowdlerize or omit verses of other chanties. And indeed, back in the prime decades of Revival, "bright mulatta" would have been no big deal, i think. I mean, I've just listened to a recording of the sea music festival at Mystic Seaport in 1981, and TWO different acts sang "The Chinee Bumboatman"!

The neglect of "Sally Brown" started WAY back - back, I think, before this lyric might have been sensitive. So I think there are other reasons why the people who were popularizing certain repertoire were not interested.


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