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Etymology: ARHOOLIE

Vixen 02 Mar 07 - 09:58 AM
Amos 02 Mar 07 - 10:57 AM
Amos 02 Mar 07 - 11:00 AM
Amos 02 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM
Vixen 02 Mar 07 - 11:15 AM
Amos 02 Mar 07 - 11:36 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Mar 07 - 02:08 PM
open mike 02 Mar 07 - 03:00 PM
Tweed 03 Mar 07 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 03 Mar 07 - 08:42 PM
Tweed 11 Feb 08 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Thalberg 11 Feb 08 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,deMeritt 12 Nov 10 - 10:19 PM
mayomick 13 Nov 10 - 09:47 AM
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Subject: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Vixen
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:58 AM

I did a search of the Forum, and all the references to "arhoolie" refer to the record label or the non-profit organization. I'm looking for an etymology and a definition.

What follows is the only definition I found, by googling "arhoolies", at
The Bluehighway Website

Field Hollers And Arhoolies

I'll tell you where the blues began. Back there working on them cotton farms, working hard and the man won't pay 'em, so the started singin', "Ohhh, I'm leavin' he one of these days and it won't be long." See, what's happenin' is givin' them the blues. "You gonna look for me one of these mornings and I'll be gone, ohhh yeah!" -- Sonny Terry (3, p. 18)
Field hollers and arhoolies began in the fields as musical exclamations that expressed the mood of the singer, and they eventually grew into longer phrases and verse. Few recordings of these exist, so we have to accept the testimony of the old bluesmen, such as Sonny Terry and Son House, as to their nature:


All I can say is that when I was boy we was always singing in the fields. Not real singing, you know, just hollering. But we made up our songs about things that were happening to us at the time, and I think that's where the blues started. -- Son House (3, p. 18)
The vocal techniques of these were very unique and they formed the basis for early blues vocals.


OK, 'Cats, whaddya got???

V


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:57 AM

"The other kinds of musical expression, mainly work songs (by "hollers" and "arhoolies", i.e. cotton and wheat pickers) and party dances, were closer to the original music of Africa, because the same activities (work and party) existed in Africa. Go Down Moses is an example of "jubilee song", songs for the "jubilees", or plantation parties. "Hollers" and "arhoolies" (workers of, respectively, cotton and wheat plantations) developed work songs that were synchronized with the rhythm of work. "

History of the Blues

This implies that originally arhoolies were the actual field hands who did the picking.

A


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:00 AM

"Origins

The blues first emerged as a distinct type of music in the late-1800s.3 Spirituals, worksongs, seculars, field hollers and arhoolies all had some form of influence on the blues. Early blues were a curious amalgam of African cross- rhythms and vocal techniques, Anglo-American melodies and thematic material from fables and folktales, and tales of personal experience on plantations and prison farms. After the war, blacks were still slaves to King Cotton, and many found themselves struggling to support themselves working on plantations well into the mid-twentieth century, or struggling to support themselves as sharecroppers or tenant farmers.

The blues developed into a distinct form of folkmusic as a direct result of this. The emergence of the blues coincided with the worsening of the social and economic conditions for blacks in the South.


Griots And The Oral Tradition

The blues follow the west African tradition of the "griots." The griots were the libraries of their tribe. They held the history and the culture of their tribe, often in songs, and passed that knowledge on to their descendants.


The African-American songsters who synthesized the blues from earlier genres of black folk music were descendants of the griots, carrying forward the historical and cultural legacy of their people even while they were setting a new agenda for political discourse and action.


These new griots helped to continue the oral tradition. Through their songs, they often expressed discontent with their situation and their hope for change."

Rural Blues


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM

"Name something truly "American." Hot dogs? Hollywood? Skyways? What about the distinctive sound of "slave music" from the Mississippi cotton fields? "The Blues" is a musical style created largely in response to the hardships endured by generations of African American people. It originated in the rural Mississippi Delta region at the beginning of the 20th century. Descended from early work shouts (arhoolies), Blues is primarily a vocal narrative style featuring solo voice with instrumental accompaniment. The singular music style has contributed significantly to the development of jazz, rock and country western music, attracting wider audiences in recent years. It also created a foundation for the unique Mississippi Delta culture, which you can experience through Global Volunteers' Mississippi Delta Program. "

Cultural Snapshot


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Vixen
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:15 AM

Amos, you are amazing!!!

Thank you so much! The reference to the distinction between the cotton and wheat workers is particularly interesting...

V


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:36 AM

Oh, don't thank me -- thank the Wizards of Google.


A


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 02:08 PM

Amos, nice summary of the little available.
The word is not in Lighter, "Historical Dictionary of American Slang," or other references I was able to check.

According to this history of Arhoolie Records and its founders, Mack McCormick of Houston, TX, manager of Lightnin' Hopkins, suggested 'Arhoolie' because it has "a ring somewhat reminiscent of a field holler." Arhoolie story, part 2: http://www.bluesartstudio.com/NeueSeiten/pageA58.html
Arhoolie


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: open mike
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 03:00 PM

check out
Down Home Music Store
10341 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530

www.downhomemusic.org

and www.arhoolie.com

for the record label and the store


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Tweed
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 10:57 AM

Here's how Arhoolie came into being, according to Arhoolie Founder and Field Recorder Extraordinaire, Chris Strachwitz:

Origins of the Names


I had thought of names like Delta, Gulf, Down Home, etc., for my label when Mack suddenly suggested ARWHOOLIE! My initial response was: "AR what?" But soon the name, at least a part of which apparently means a field holler, seemed rather appropriate for the music I wanted to record. The word, spelled as above by the recordist, appeared on a Library of Congress recording made in Mississippi and apparently was the response of the singer when asked what he called the selection just recorded. I have since heard the word "hoolie" in reference to a field holler but I think the "ar" in front of it was simply the man stuttering a bit in Mississippi fashion when somewhat nervous!

Chris Strachwitz


That's from:Arhoolie Records/History and there's some pretty interesting reading there if you like this sorta thing.

I've been a fan of Arhoolie Records works since I was 16 when I bought a double set called "The Roots of Americas Music."
I got a boxed set of the fortieth anniversary edition for myself this last Christmas and it is probably the definitive collection of American Vernacular Music. Chris Strachwitz went way beyond where Lomax left off.


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 08:42 PM

Interesting Thread - THANK YOU!!!

From: The Vienna Music Institute Collection

http://homepage.univie.ac.at/august.schmidhofer/Disko.html

@SV ~1301 AMN USA, Bahamas VOLK
Library of Congress Washington Recording Laboratory
AFS L8 (Catalog Card Number R59-581rev)

2 - Arwhoolie (Cornfield Holler) - Quittin' Time Song 1 and 2 - Mealtime Call - Possum was an evil thing - Come on, Boys, and let's go to huntin' - Old Rattler

Lots of good stuff from the Gullah People has been preserved by Arhoolie Recordings.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: Tweed
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 03:19 PM

Strachwitz has preserved lots of good stuff from all kinds of people Garg.

Arhoolie is one of them unsung treasures. I have a hard time getting away from their website without ordering something or other from that place. Plus, as a direct result of listening to his products I have now, not one but two accordions that I've been meaning to learn how to play.


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: GUEST,Thalberg
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 03:37 PM

"Griots And The Oral Tradition
The blues follow the west African tradition of the "griots." The griots were the libraries of their tribe. They held the history and the culture of their tribe, often in songs, and passed that knowledge on to their descendants.
The African-American songsters who synthesized the blues from earlier genres of black folk music were descendants of the griots, carrying forward the historical and cultural legacy of their people even while they were setting a new agenda for political discourse and action.
These new griots helped to continue the oral tradition. Through their songs, they often expressed discontent with their situation and their hope for change."

Maybe I'm opening up a can of worms. How strong is the case for griots having anything much to do with the blues? As far as I can tell, every culture, every group even, has some guy who's a 'library', often in song. It seems a bit like saying that medieval Andalusian oud players are fathers of the blues.


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: GUEST,deMeritt
Date: 12 Nov 10 - 10:19 PM

Hoolie is an Irish term for a party that gets out of control, and therefore, becomes a memorable and worthy event... I can't imagine the two words are not related somehow.

"Our Hoolie"? "Our thing"? "Our Music" at a place and time that no one else cared about or has a right to own? That is what my tribal, drunken little mind conjures up...

Somebody was havin a good time when that got said.


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Subject: RE: Etymology: ARHOOLIE
From: mayomick
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 09:47 AM

A céilí is a gathering where ceol - music is played .


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