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Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?

hilda fish 31 Jan 05 - 01:06 AM
Peace 31 Jan 05 - 01:09 AM
hilda fish 31 Jan 05 - 01:13 AM
Teresa 31 Jan 05 - 01:22 AM
Peace 31 Jan 05 - 01:36 AM
Teresa 31 Jan 05 - 01:45 AM
Joe Offer 31 Jan 05 - 01:45 AM
pavane 31 Jan 05 - 04:31 AM
robinia 31 Jan 05 - 05:26 AM
GUEST 31 Jan 05 - 05:26 AM
Sandra in Sydney 31 Jan 05 - 06:05 AM
JennyO 31 Jan 05 - 08:23 AM
Snuffy 31 Jan 05 - 08:40 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 31 Jan 05 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 31 Jan 05 - 08:51 AM
Weasel Books 31 Jan 05 - 08:51 AM
Grab 31 Jan 05 - 01:21 PM
EagleWing 31 Jan 05 - 03:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM
Liz the Squeak 31 Jan 05 - 04:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jan 05 - 05:02 PM
Ferrara 31 Jan 05 - 06:16 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Jan 05 - 06:28 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 05 - 06:39 PM
JennyO 31 Jan 05 - 08:33 PM
Hrothgar 01 Feb 05 - 05:39 AM
Hrothgar 01 Feb 05 - 05:45 AM
Liz the Squeak 01 Feb 05 - 02:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 05 - 03:14 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 01 Feb 05 - 03:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 05 - 03:55 PM
JennyO 01 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 01 Feb 05 - 08:24 PM
GUEST,Bo in KY 01 Feb 05 - 11:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Feb 05 - 02:51 PM
Ferrara 03 Feb 05 - 12:45 AM
Bert 03 Feb 05 - 01:42 AM
Gurney 03 Feb 05 - 03:57 AM
Terry Allan Hall 03 Feb 05 - 08:47 AM
GUEST 07 Feb 05 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 07 Feb 05 - 07:52 AM
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Subject: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: hilda fish
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:06 AM

Just had to do it. So much about religion around here and not much about religion and music so - are they? Gospel and folk music have strong interconnections and so has Gospel and Hymns. Country, Rhythm and Blues also, despite the fact that in each case, they are a genre in themselves, have strong overlapping affiliations to folk. Folk, by it's nature, is very fluid around the edges, and particularly so if you examine back through the centuries. Wadyareckon?


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:09 AM

Do you mean traditional hymns or more modern hymns?


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: hilda fish
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:13 AM

Take your pick. Either could do a discussion I think.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Teresa
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:22 AM

Yes, I think they can be. There is a discussion somewhere about english harmony singing and how it originated in the church. Some LDS (mormon) hymns sound very folkie to me.

Then there's some of the christmas songs, like "Brightest and best". And some hymns have been turned into protest songs, like "Power In the blood"/"Quartermaster's Stores"/"Industrial Union Grand(?)" Joe Hill got some inspiration from hymns.

Just a little thought ...

Teresa


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:36 AM

Seems the answer is yes for some folks.

http://www.mhsc.ca/encyclopedia/contents/F657ME.html


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Teresa
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:45 AM

Thank you, Brucie! Most fascinating. :)

Teresa


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:45 AM

The discussion gets into how you define folk music, and that gets very arbitrary very quickly. Most hymns have a known author, so that fails one of the more common folkie litmus tests.

Many hymns are sung at social gatherings, not only religious services; and many are handed down from one to the next and undergo the "folk process," so they pass three other folkielitmustests.

I guess that means hymns are 75 percent folk.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: pavane
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 04:31 AM

Many hymns were set to traditional tunes.

Example: To be a Pilgrim tune 'Monksgate' is named after the place where it was collected, in Sussex, I think, as the tune to 'Our Captain cried all hands' (to be found in Bodley as 'The distressed maid')


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: robinia
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:26 AM

Anyone who doubts that hymns may be folk music should listen to Lucy Simpson on Folk Legacy's "Sharon Mountain Harmony" --   in fact the whole record (including Mary Alice and Peter Amidou's "Turtle Dove") is a real treasure (and I speak here as a hard core traditionalist !). Of course, George Pullen Jackson (Spiritual Folk Songs of North America) and Ruth Crawford Seeger (American Folk Songs for Christmas) have been telling us that for a long time.....


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:26 AM

Speaking as someone who has run a hymn singing session at each of the last 11 National Folk Festivals, yes.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:05 AM

hrothgar is that you??


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: JennyO
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 08:23 AM

Must be him, Sandra.

I certainly hear plenty of hymns and good rousing gospel songs being sung at sessions - such as "Down in the river to pray", "Stand by the shore" and "Only remembered". A lot of them fulfil the requirements of a good session song - they have a call and response or an easy-to-pick-up chorus and you can belt them out. I even enjoy singing them, in spite of not being a Christian.

There are also a fair few of the tunes being "borrowed" to write new songs and parodies. Look at John Dengate's "I can't abide"! John Warner wrote a song "Newell Highway", based on C.H.H. Parry's melody for the hymn "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind", and it is a lovely song, and most definitely folk. A good hymn tune is often a good thing to build a song around.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Snuffy
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 08:40 AM

Hymn tunes are (almost by definition) good for large groups of people to sing, so it's not surprising that many hymn writers have "borrowed" traditional tunes for their hymns; nor that many popular hymn tunes have been pressed into ungodly service by students, rugby players and the like.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 08:46 AM

I just led people in singing We Shall Overcome with my gospel quartet at two programs celebrating Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. I went back to a Baptist hymnal to pick up more verses, and the hymn is identified as a "folk hymn." I think that you'll find a whole section of hymns and gospel songs in the Alan Lomax book, Folk Songs Of North America. I put gospel, the old hymns that have passed into the tradition, blues, cajun music and other regional music like Tex-Mex under the umbrella of folk music. If we're not too purist about it, someday punk rock and rockabilly and earlier forms of rock and roll probably should fit under the umbrella, too. Joe is right... it depends on how you define folk music. It it's songs that lazy people sing and don't bother to learn the words to until it is "processed" into variations, then folk music will never stop being created.

Wooly Bully is one of my all-time favorite folk songs. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 08:51 AM

i've never been to church apart from weddings, christenings and funerals..
so dont know many hymns apart from ones i can barely remember from school assemblys..

but i love the sound of chapel harmoniums playing slow dirgy depressing chords and melodies..

so hope to hear more of of this stuff,
and fully expect to utilize this influence in anything i ever record..


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Weasel Books
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 08:51 AM

Several of our (LDS) hymns have folk tunes.
I think some hymns could definitely qualify, especialy Gospel and Spiritual.
The rule about the known author is rather silly. No song just forms itself out of the air in the minds of several people. There is always someone who comes up with it first.
Isn't early Rock 'n' Roll a form of Folk Music?


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Grab
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:21 PM

I think so, in that they're tunes written for group singing and have been passed down in a tradition. Unfortunately most of them are particularly bad as music, since the requirement for getting your songs written down has generally had more to do with devoutness than the ability to carry a tune in a bucket. John Wesley in particular has pissed prolifically in the fountain of religious music, and there's far too much pompous Victorian mock-ancient stuff full of "thou"s that's still going round.

Revival music on the other hand is quality stuff, proving that the devil doesn't necessarily have to have the best tunes. And the quality of that music is such that it's being passed on as folk music, and likely will be forever. Incidentally, check out Artisan for people still writing revival-style music (and doing it so well it hurts).

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: EagleWing
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 03:43 PM

Up near the top of this thread someone asked whether we are referring to modern or traditional hymns.

I have always wondered why there is so much emphasis on Shaker hymns yet so little on the "hymns" or "choruses" (songs) that came out of the "Jesus Movement". These were often passed on by word of mouth and even developed variations and they led to the more prolific hymnody of the "Charismatic" movement. Again, much of that music, especially in the early days, was similar to folk song (some of the stuff from the Church of The Redeemer, Houston, for instance). However, later the music from the modern songwriters becomes more "rock-oriented".

Yes, I believe that much traditional hymnody can be seen as folk and much modern church-song-writing can too.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM

Any number of tunes we think of as folk tunes saw service as hymn tunes, before the songs we know that use them came into being. And, very likely, they may have been folk tunes used for for earlier folk songs before the hymns were written to them. And before that...

And so ad infinitum. Because sooner or later someone is going to use the folk tune in the first line of this post to write another hymn or similar, andn teh whole cycle begins again.

Now that needs to be fleshed out with examples. Maybe someone will do it.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 04:48 PM

'Folk Hymns' tend to be those from cultures that didn't necessarily write everything down, things like the Gospel numbers mentioned above....

Vaughan Williams stole a lot of folk tunes and turned them into hymn tunes, as did Holst (I vow to thee my country, from the Planets, started out as a tune called Thaxted)... One of the best known hymns, 'All things bright and beautiful' goes to 'Royal Oak' also known as 'Oakapple Day, 29th May', a morris tune.

So yes. They are folk music in many different ways, not least because they are sung by lots of folk, rather than solo performers.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:02 PM

I think that was probably an original tune by Holst, called Thaxted because that was where he lived. Though of course it might have been around a few times already.

Any good tune is likely to turn up all over the place, and not necessarily because of copying - there is only a limited number of notes after all.   A really totally original tune probably won't be much cop as a tune.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Ferrara
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:16 PM

If you just ask, "Do folk musicians ever play and sing hymns when they get together?" the answer is definitely yes. For example, "Let the Lower Lights be Burning" fits lots of folk topics & around here it used to be sung a lot. "The Fight is On"
(here) is such a great song that we used to ask for it frequently from a woman who knew it. She stopped singing it around our rowdier friends, though, because they insisted on singing it like a football song.... GOOD song though.

"Almighty Father, Strong to Save" and "The Seamen's Hymn" are sung often, in fact the Royal Mile Pub shanty sing closes with the Seamen's Hymn ("May the Lord put an end to these cruel old wars/ And bring peace and contentment to all our brave tars.")

People often sing "church" hymns at Gospel sings, too. Some seem to fit, others don't. "In the Garden" is popular, for example.

Rita


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:28 PM

Mostly, no.

They are passed down in written form with (in many cases) dots and therefore not orally transmitted.

In most cases they are fully accredited (as mentioned above).

In most cases they have not been modified by the process of transmission.

If you apply tests of form, most of them do not comply with those either.

There may be some that qualify.

Iam however also suspicious of them as having a distinct purpose but I have not really thought this through yet.

The above does not mean that there are no hymns that I like - but, and this may be a form thing mostly although content will affect me - there aren't many. My liking however does not affect whether they are folk.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:39 PM

I, non-religious folkie purist snob that I am, sing a number of hymns,gospel songs, etc., as naturally as I sing old murder ballads. I don't ask myself whether they are appropriate, because they are just such well-designed examples of what 'folk' do, feel, sing, share and pass down from generation to generation, whether they know the author and have a book or not.

I have a special affinity for "metaphysical metaphor" songs, like "Life is Like a Mountain Railroad" or "Royal Telephone" ("you can talk to Jesus almost anytime")...and I love how the old gospel songs often go so well on the autoharp...


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: JennyO
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 08:33 PM

Try telling the Middle Bar Singers that "Blessed Quietness" isn't folk!


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:39 AM

Yes, 31 Jan 05 - 05:26 AM was me. Stinkin' cookie eater!


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:45 AM

I agree with McGrath, Liz. Holst had it first.

The story I was told was that he was mightily put out to have his tune used for such a jingoistic piece, which seems to indicate that he didn't have the patience to listen for the second verse, which is one of my favourite bits of song.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:50 PM

Funny that .... I heard it the other way round... he stole it from the environs.... whatever... I think it's a nasty tune with even nastier words.... bring on the sick bucket!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 03:14 PM

Jingoistic? Well, it doesn't mention any particular country does it? Anyone could sing it having their own country in mind. Can you have all-nation jingoism?


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 03:35 PM

A while back, I was in a black church and heard them do Blessed Quietness. I love the way that Lucy Simpson does it, and have always associated the song with her interpretation. But man, put that song in the hands of a black choir and it comes out Joyful Raucousness. I really got a laugh out of it. The delivery was so weirdly contrary to the message that it really tickled me.

You talking about because songs are in a book and written down they don't get changed?

C'mon.........

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 03:55 PM

I think if Jerry heard it in the Middle Bar (in the Anchor at Sidmouth) he's agree that that would definitely be another example of Joyful Raucousness.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: JennyO
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM

My point exactly (see my post of 31 Jan 05 - 08:33 PM). If a bunch of folks are joyously belting out a song together, how can it not be folk?


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 08:24 PM

One advantage "folk" have over folk singers is that they don't have to be limited by our definitions. They can sing whatever they want, improvise words and enjoy it without concern about whether it was ever put down on paper, or if anyone knows the author.

It's only the scholarly types what has got to worry.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: GUEST,Bo in KY
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:05 PM

I would add that the question is not only affected by the definition of "folk" but also by the definition of "hymn". Christian hymnody through the ages has been influenced by everything from Hebrew canting of the Psalms to Medieval plainsong and chant, in addition to popular or "folk" tunes. I would submit that there is a particular definition of "hymn" which distinguishes it from Gospel music, or spirituals, etc.

In the Presbyterian and Reformed Protestant tradition there were lots of arguments in the 19th century over the use of "Gospel" music vs. "Hymns" in worship. Interesting that what we now consider 'traditional' (In the Garden, Old Rugged Cross, Blessed Assurance) songs were radical in their day -they did not quote the Bible, for one thing, and were very individualistic (note they are all about "me & Jesus" and use "I" a lot) whereas hymns tend to be more communitarian - 'we' and 'us'; and rely on Scripture for reference rather than personal experience. Of course the difference was contextual - Gospel music was born out of the 19th century (mainly American - thus the extreme individualism) revival movements, their rejection of "staid" and "formal" worship, and their emphasis upon a personal, emotional experience of God. In style and content, Hymns have more in common with their Roman Catholic and Hebrew roots.

In form, hymns tend to be written in poetic stanzas rather than the verse-chorus-verse of much folk and popular music. And then there are also the spirituals, with their roots in African musical stylings, and contemporary "praise choruses", which I would argue are an updating of the Gospel, revivalist music tradition. But that's another thread.

I guess I understand the definition of "hymn" more clearly than I do the definition of folk music, so the question remains ....

Peace,

Bo


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:51 PM

Sydney Carter used to call those of his songs that might be appropriate in a service "carols" rather than "hymns".

"This is a book of carols. I call them that for want of a better word...I base my claim not on what a carol is, but what a carol was, and what it may become again. Historically speaking, you could say that a carol was a dance before it became a song, and a song before it got in a hymn book.

That applies, almost exactly, to the words and music which are printed in this book. Some of them are sung as hymns, but before they got to church, they were sung in other places. They were written down as songs, but they are the product of a kind of inner dance, earlier than songs or music. That, perhaps, is true of any kind of song." (From introduction to Green Print for Song.)


Sydney Carter always has something good to say on most things. The only trouble is knowing when to end the quote, because the rest of the introduction is just as apposite.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Ferrara
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:45 AM

Jerry, I loved your comment about the advantage that "folks" have over folk singers in not being bound by, or caring about, definitions. They just sing what they like, and sing it how they like.

Some of the songs I learned from my mother's singing were hymns. That doesn't make them folk songs, but if some hymns are songs that folks learned, liked, and kept on singing out of context because they felt good when they sang them, to me that's a powerful argument that they can be considered to fall in the category of folk music.

Ummm... Bill D, I also loved your comment about hymns often being "examples of what 'folk' do, feel, sing, share and pass down from generation to generation, whether they know the author and have a book or not." That's the essence of folk music for me.

(I have to admit though, I don't care much about the precise definition. I tend to duck and run when people, including my husband the aforementioned Bill D, start in on the ever-fascinating subject of What Is Folk Music.)

Rita


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Bert
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 01:42 AM

Oh, an awful lot of them yes.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Gurney
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 03:57 AM

If they are sung in church, maybe.
If they are sung anywhere else, certainly.

There is a version of the carol 'The Holly and the Ivy' that is only sung by folkies, mostly in the West of England. Cyril Tawney sings it and I think collected it.

Are carols folk songs? Yes, I think so.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 08:47 AM

Definitely....folk music is "music of the folks", right?


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 06:11 AM

At the National Folk Festival again - 9.30 Sunday, siging room.


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Subject: RE: Are hymns also folk music hmmmmm?
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 07:52 AM

see ya there, hrothgar, let's all raise the roof


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