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Songs That Link the Generations

GUEST,guest Alison 26 May 14 - 08:45 PM
Joe Offer 26 May 14 - 09:16 PM
CupOfTea 27 May 14 - 05:21 PM
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Subject: RE: Mudcat FAQ - Newcomer's Guide
From: GUEST,guest Alison
Date: 26 May 14 - 08:45 PM

I play for people of all ages 0 to over 100 years of age. I am 62 and am keen to link the generations in England with each other. The pop industry seems to change every year so that even people of different decades have different music.Even the hymns in church are modern. Maybe a few of the Christmas Carols are the same.Head and shoulders ,knees and toes is the same as 'There is a Tavern in the Town' The French seem to be passing on their traditional songs. So what links the generations? it does not seem to be nursery rhymes any more. I think it is a pity since there are a lot of old tunes as well as words and some of the newly made up tunes are not very good.I think it is such a shame that we are losing tunes and lyrics and have nothing we can sing together-----Something that is surely good for sound healing as well as togetherness. This is why some pop songs that go round again are good. Any helpful comments or suggestions of songs?

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Subject: Songs That Link the Generations
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 May 14 - 09:16 PM

Hi, Alison - I moved you here from the FAQ/Newcomer's Guide to make for easier discussion. If you can think of a more appropriate thread title, let me know.
Certain performers are able to link generations (and nations) by the universality of their music. Woody Guthrie and Billy Bragg are two I can think of.

-Joe Offer, Music Editor-

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Subject: RE: Songs That Link the Generations
From: CupOfTea
Date: 27 May 14 - 05:21 PM

The title of "Songs That Link the Generations" brought to mind immediately the wonderful song "Generations of Change " that I've heard several folks do, based in northern England or Scotland.
"Treat me daughter kindly" is one I've heard from Irish and English performers.

Being a midwestern US folk, I've got a different stock of songs that trip this trigger for me:
American songs I'm fond of: "Didn't I Dance" that talks about three generations of women, "A Handful of Songs" is another one about what remains for the next generation,
Sally Rogers' "Lovely Agnes."

The issue you raise about the LACK of those song links gets right to that same phenomenon as observed here - a generation ago - There was a study of 4000 music educators, K-12 grade range. The researcher had a list of 100 songs they thought were intrinsic to the American cultural experience. The kids knew about 20% of them. And this was from kids who HAD music educators to ask - so often music and visual art education are deleted from tight budgets. If they don't go to a camp where singing is a part of the experience, or are linked to any community that cherishes passing on traditional songs and tunes, all they hear is what comes through TV and other digital media.

The coming generation has so many more engrossing ways to be audience rather than participant. Just this morning on NPR there was a fascinating (and horrifying) talk about how children are being denied independent play time, both in school recess times and a large decline in unscheduled time after school. This is the time kids would learn songs and rhymes through aural transmission now being denied them. The result of this is children who do not have the same chance to develop socially, ethically, morally through unsupervised interaction. There were clinical observations showing this as well as other sad results including increased tendency toward depression.

The sorts of people Joe mentioned are the exceptions & also the opening wedge; get someone interested in a bit of tradition, and a curious mind will track down more. It takes more individual effort without having introductions in school or social situations. The very digital media that helped cause this lack, ironically is a great source of information for those who will do the research. Perhaps what we are experiencing is a hiccup in the way traditional material is passed on, as well as significant demographic shifts that influence what traditions are brought to the fore.

For suggestions - present songs that you are passionate about, and give a wee bit of WHY you love them when you present them. You become the link, the wedge, the spotlight, that singles these songs out as something to be absorbed, cherished and passed on to the next one.

Best of luck singing against the tide of ignorance.

Joanne in Cleveland (Ohio)

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