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Ebony Hillbillies

18 Feb 11 - 04:47 PM (#3098228)
Subject: Ebony Hillbillies
From: fretless

I was in NYC yesterday and the Ebony Hillbillies were busking in Penn Station. Lucky me! A great O/T sound from NYC's own African American string band. If you happen to be in mid-town around rush hour, take a detour into Penn Station just in case they happen to be there again.

They and the Carolina Chocolate Drops have found uniquely independent ways to fuse traditional Appalachian and African American music. Great sounds in both cases.


18 Feb 11 - 05:14 PM (#3098248)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Marc Bernier

I'm happy to hear they're still at it. I 1st encountered them in a water front drinking establishment about 15 years back. Great stuff.


18 Feb 11 - 06:07 PM (#3098283)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Desert Dancer

YouTube videos. Cool!

~ Becky in Tucson


18 Feb 11 - 07:00 PM (#3098315)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: BrooklynJay

I first saw them over a year ago busking in the 42nd Street/Times Square station. They are part of the Music Under New York program - and quite deservedly so. They are truly excellent.

Jay


18 Feb 11 - 07:33 PM (#3098346)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,MeadowMuskrat

I saw theem at the Newark N.J. museum a few years ago. great show. Terrific Dulcimer and banjo playing.


18 Feb 11 - 11:42 PM (#3098433)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,jeff

Wow. Just wow.


19 Feb 11 - 10:22 AM (#3098529)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,Russ

IMHO they shouldn't be using the "H" word.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


19 Feb 11 - 10:38 AM (#3098540)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,leeneia

Thanks for the links. I enjoyed the music.


19 Feb 11 - 06:15 PM (#3098739)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Marc Bernier

Whynot Russ?


19 Feb 11 - 06:36 PM (#3098750)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: John on the Sunset Coast

Wonderful music. I closed my eyes and couldn't tell the color of their skin. Just wonderful music.

About ten years ago, in the foothill community I live in, there was a Celtic band. It was led by a young fellow (of Korean parentage) on fiddle, and his equally Korean sister as the singer. I closed my eyes and couldn't tell the color of their skin. Just wonderful music.

In the 1930s--the heyday of B-western movies--jazz singer Herb Jeffries portrayed the Bronze Buckaroo in four films...the Black answer to Gene Autry.


20 Feb 11 - 01:34 AM (#3098904)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,jeff

Played w/a Celtic band in Pittsburgh a few years ago called The Wild Geese. There was a fiddle player named Bob Banergee who would sit in w/us upon occasion. He was from India. The lead singer referred to him as 'the brown mound of Hindu sound'. He ended up touring w/Gaelic Storm. Just close your eyes and enjoy the music.


20 Feb 11 - 12:32 PM (#3099131)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,Russ

Marc,

Call me oversensitive, but the rural poor in general, and Hillbillies in particular, can be stereotyped, patronized, and dissed with impunity in a way that other groups cannot.

IMHO you don't have a license to use the "H" word unless you are one.

I assume that the Ebony Hillbillies would take it amiss if I used the "N" word in my band name.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and expat West Virginian)


20 Feb 11 - 12:45 PM (#3099142)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,henryp

Eighteen months ago we stopped to enjoy the Ebony Hillbillies at Times Square subway station. Their schedule now lists their busking spots and concerts too.

I guess their name is intended to say that they have humble origins.


20 Feb 11 - 01:09 PM (#3099158)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Desert Dancer

and/or be a takeoff on "Beverly Hillbillies"...


20 Feb 11 - 04:52 PM (#3099312)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,Russ

DD,
"Beverly Hillbillies" is a perfect example of what I am complaining about.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


20 Feb 11 - 05:45 PM (#3099347)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Neil D

Guest,jeff,
    Bob Banerjee did tour with Gaelic Storm for a while. He's now back in Pittsburgh playing in an Irish music trio called Corned Beef and Curry. We live 90 miles away, but try to get over and see them 2 or 3 times a year. Besides being a hell of a fiddler and genuinely nice guy, Bob plays a pretty mean mandolin as well.


20 Feb 11 - 06:22 PM (#3099366)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,steve s

Russ, I see your point and agree with you, but when you're busking, you have the blink of an eye to make contact, and the cognitive dissonance of

+"ebony" +"hillbillies"[ret]

might help profits...

As you know, I played in an OT band composed of:
fingerstyle NJ jazz guitarist (fiddle)
electric blues guitarist (fiddle & guitar)
fat jewish classical clarinetist (myself, banjo)

we were called the Rohrshach Ccounty Ramblers for obvious reasons...


s.


20 Feb 11 - 07:50 PM (#3099422)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,Russ

Steve,

Thanks.

There are lots of ways to generate cognitive dissonance that don't involve the "H" word.

If the Ebony Hillbillies are indeed ebony, they have their own plethora of offensive epithets to choose from that I would never dare to use to name my band (if I had one).

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


21 Feb 11 - 10:01 AM (#3099707)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,leeneia

As to the name - these are not young kids we are talking about here. They are mature men who know where they came from and how they feel about it. This is supposedly a free country. Let them pick their own name.

By the way, there have been black fiddlers playing traditional music in America since the 19th Century.


21 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM (#3099722)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: fretless

The Ebony Hillbillies have been playing for a number of years, and they are all relatively old timers. The disonance of their name is a play off their African American identity, the old TV show, and their NYC audience's presumed sense of associations with their music. It works in that regard, but it is discomforting.

I think Russ is right: the name is insensitive, but perhaps more a reflection of where sensibilities were when the band first started playing than any deliberate attempt to offend.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops, younger and more playfully deliberate in how they approach their AfAm identity, are a better fit for the current decade.

So when your band has been branded by a name that no longer fits the era, what do you do? Maybe we should ask the Washington Redskins!


21 Feb 11 - 10:46 AM (#3099731)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: maire-aine

Saw these guys on somebody's TV show. Could've been a late-night. Loved 'em.


21 Feb 11 - 11:19 AM (#3099752)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Jeri

They're from NYC. Having grown up in NY state, I was fairly ignorant that the term "hillbilly" was derogatory. I was accustomed to watching the Beverly Hillbillies, and figured they were caricatures, and the whole term "hillbilly" didn't relate to real people. In other words, if I'd met an impoverished person from the Appalachian regions, the though never would have crossed my mind to call him a hillbilly.

Russ, I'm not arguing. I AM trying to explain why the guys in the band and some of us here don't seem as offended as you think we should be. I had no clue that it might set somebody off. Now I do.


21 Feb 11 - 09:14 PM (#3100056)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,Russ

leeneia,

Wherever they came from, it must not be a place where it is common to think that you don't get to use the "H" word unless you are one.

Of course, for all I know they all emigrated from the southern mountains.

Right.

Anyway If you'll share some of your oxen, I'll be glad to gore one.

Jeri,

I am not asking anybody to be offended who is not already offended.

I can carry the burden of being offended enough for the entire thread.

I'm just sayin......

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


21 Feb 11 - 10:12 PM (#3100086)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Crowhugger

<>

Come again?


21 Feb 11 - 11:20 PM (#3100106)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Chanteyranger

They performed at the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival about 8 years ago or so. Nice guys, fine musicians, fine music. Bruce Molsky brings home the point that the rhythms of Appalachian fiddling (as opposed to the tunes themselves) are from African American fiddling.

There was a longtime performing contra dance band in the SF Bay Area called "Hillbillies From Mars." I wonder if bands using that term are going back to the tradition of the old-timey bands of the 1920's and 30's that gave themselves humorous and somewhat self-deprecating names such as "Wilmer Watts and His Aristocratic Pigs," (I think that was the name) and "The Henpecked Husbands" and the like. Is there evidence that "Hillbillies" was used by some Appalachians the way "Queer" has been adopted by some LBGT groups?

Chanteyranger


22 Feb 11 - 10:29 AM (#3100350)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,leeneia

To whom it may concern: Keep in mind that arguing about their name takes the spotlight off them and off their music and puts it on you.

Have you ever noticed how much Mudcatters avoid doing anything musical? Don't click on links, don't watch the videos, don't download the MIDI's? Instead they'd rather argue politics, or English usage, or etymology. Anything to keep from making any musical effort.

It's just another form of the great YouShutUp which pervades our culture today.


22 Feb 11 - 09:12 PM (#3100784)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,Russ

from Dictionary.com

Hillbilly
–noun
1. Often Disparaging and Offensive . a person from a backwoods or other remote area, especially from the mountains of the southern U.S.

1. derogatory usually an unsophisticated person, esp from the mountainous areas in the southeastern US

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


22 Feb 11 - 11:27 PM (#3100825)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

I am speechless.....

Oh never mind.

Don


23 Feb 11 - 09:43 AM (#3101133)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko

"Often Disparaging and Offensive"

The keyword is often, it is not the same as always.

What is so wrong with being offensive?   Making people uncomfortable is a good way to get people thinking. I get offended when people take offense, just deal with it.


23 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM (#3101174)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Marc Bernier

I once had a roommate who was from Nashville. He called himself a hillbilly quite proudly, and certainly took no offense when he heard someone else use the phrase. I had no idea that today people were offended by that phrase. I suppose some folk enjoy feeling persecuted, and actually look for ways to be offended.


23 Feb 11 - 11:02 AM (#3101212)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: DonMeixner

I guess I am astounded that some people feel the need to feel offended for others.

The "N" word being the exception. ( OK bring it on..)

Don


23 Feb 11 - 02:03 PM (#3101349)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: Marc Bernier

That word certainly has a different connotation and background.


23 Feb 11 - 04:06 PM (#3101439)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,jeff

NeilD,

I knew that, but had forgotten it. Thanks for the reminder. The demands of the road and family commitments pulled at him until he decided to stay in Pittsburgh. We crossed paths quite a bit from '98-02 when I moved to Nashville. Whenever he'd sit in w/us he'd play my mandolin during breaks...not sure, but it seems it was around this time he acquired one of his own.

I played bass, guitar and mandolin and we did alot of 'Irish Pub' type music. He was looking to leave a 'swing' project he was involved in and I was looking to leave the band I was in. We discussed forming another Celtic band a couple of times and then he got the offer to tour w/Gaelic Storm. Glad to know he's still going strong. Great player, better person.

Sorry for the thread drift.


23 Feb 11 - 09:22 PM (#3101615)
Subject: RE: Ebony Hillbillies
From: GUEST,Russ

Don,
I was born and raised in WV. Do the math.
I have used the word to refer to myself and other natives of that state.

Why does the "N" word get special dispensation?

Ron,
I am not taking your last remark seriously.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)