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Appalachian Music: a tool for Social Change

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Steven Burneson

on 9 November 2013

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Transcript of Appalachian Music: a tool for Social Change

Appalachian Music: a Tool for Social Change
"Songs of determination to endure hardships together and to fight for a better life." (Greenway)*
Unifying Thread for Cultures
Underground Coal Mining
Merle Travis' Dark As a Dungeon:
Mountaintop-Removal Mining
Early Scottish and Irish settlers brought the "baroque fiddle" to the New World
Scots-Irish (Celtic) Influence
Bagpipes were outlawed in Scotland after loss to British in battle of Culloden in 1746, lead to popularity of fiddle
enslaved musicians from West Africa brought the plucked lute (banjar, bandore)
African-American Influence
Evolved the German “Scheitholt”
German Influence
"That justly celebrated expedition has endured as a benchmark in the discovery of indigenous American culture and has since shaped the vision of what Appalachian music is," Bill C. Malone (HMR)
British Influence
wooden neck supporting several horse hair strings and a hide covered gourd
Now called the mountain, Appalachian or Kentucky dulcimer
Still shot of Jean Ritchie shredding the dulcimer with absolutely no regrets.
Because sharing is caring*
Who needs bagpipes anyway?
"Child Ballads"
Composition of new ballads died off in the British Isles in the early 1700s; preserved in Appalachia
"It will form as a habit and seep in your soul,
'Till the stream of your blood is as black as the coal.
It's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where danger is double and pleasures are few."
Jean Ritchie's "Black Waters" is the theme song of strip mining rallies, past and present.
Utilizes song and narrative to tell story of the West Virginia Mine Wars
Blair Pathways Project
Goal is to save Blair Mountain from detrimental mountaintop removal
"We must remember our culture to preserve our land and people," Saro Lynch-Thomason
Full transcript