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tv   Mountain Music Archives  CSPAN  April 21, 2018 5:07pm-5:26pm EDT

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watch college lectures, museum tours, archival films and more. american history tv at c-span.org/history. ♪ >> c-span is in north carolina to learn more about the history. live music is a big role in asheville's history. we learn more about appellation music with their mountain music collection. music with their mountain music collection. >> take your time when you learned songs that are here and there. if you'd knew them you knew them. [singing]
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a short last in trouble, little girl >> i would like to save these folks are poop -- are people who came of age before self doubt was invented. are really wise, knowledgeable people. educated in the natural world, educated in the musical world in their own folklore. deep andst something wide. [woman singing] ♪ music is a catchall term for the traditional music of the southern appalachian. [banjo playing] involve old-time
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music, which could be dance music, banjo and fiddle. it could be valid or folksongs are also bluegrass music and early country music. people use that term generally to refer to the traditional music of the southern appalachians. >> mountain music is a combination of english, and edge, irish and african-american working together. when all of those things came here in the mountains we had a hybrid of busting loose. this was around -- the banjo kicked things into gear in the late 1800s, mid-1800s and the black influence that came from africa. on thef blues notes banjo. that really change the way the banjo was played. that combination of english, dutch, scotch, irish and african
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made this incredible, powerful hybrid of music. ♪ >> the mountain music archives at warren wilson college is a part of our special collection housed in the library. it consists of a number of items , recordings, for graphs -- photographs related to music makers of this region, west carolina. a lot of the collection was collected in the 1970's and early 1980's. to the969 and came back southern route and i was going to university of southern california. i fell in love with the banjo. i met ralph who was doing a concert out there and asked where i could go to lend us old-time he banjo style? he said you know it -- you need
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to go back to asheville. so i left that summer with my buddy and we traveled from georgia through west virginia and i fell in love with the music, people, places, the culture. to me it was like stepping into the lost world. at this time, 1969 to 1973, a lot of these old-timers were born in the late 1800s. these people that were closely connected to our pioneer ancestors more than modern people. fascinating and the music was so great and the people were so wonderful. they would not give you lessons, they would play for you and you would try to figure it out. you talk to them next time and build a repertoire. ♪ fort became important individuals to start collecting the 1960's andin
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the 1970's. there is of art -- there is a variety of reasons. you had a full music boom, or a explosion of interest in full could music. this manifested itself in performing groups like the king stench trio or bob dylan. , people whoth that are interested in full music began exploring the origins, where the songs came from. some individuals became very fascinated with those origin the point of tracking down individuals who originally recorded a lot of this music back in the 20's and 30's. 1920's and 1930's, which became the recordings. ♪ >> folks that worn wilson
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college decided it would be great to have a program where the students could actually learn the instruments. not just folklorist at aspects, not just talk about it or the app it -- academic you, but learn to play the instruments. i was new in town, i moved here , and in 1975 they wanted to start the program. i was a guy from the outside. at a much the only guy in town from the outside collecting music. contacts with all these different aspects of the music. the ballot players, the bluegrass players, and they were all matted each other. of a perfect person to go in between and bring them all together and have them come out to the college to teach. [violin and banjo playing] about 100lection is
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and 10 realtor real and cassette tapes. that was the best equipment we can find in those days. i collect a lot of it and the students collected a lot of it. i have students that worked for me and their job was to go out and collect music from these old-timers. singing a cappella] became a critical need to document and record these this point,re, at entering the twilight years of their lives. before they passed away. singing acappella] andhe was in the 1960's 1970's when you saw an explosion of field recordings of people
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going down to the remote part of the country, tracking down musicians and recording them as a way to preserve their music and document it for the public record before they may pass away and it would be unavailable. playing] ♪ >> david started the traditional music program that here in the 1970's and i started teaching here in the 1990's. that was after he had left. had recordedhat he concerts back in the seventh -- 1970's. the recordings were all here in the archives and they were on reel tapes. i realize that they were not accessible. even if i had a student who wanted to listen to them, who
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knew what was on those things? it was not a good set up. i wanted to make them available to our students and i had a student in 2002 who took their reel tapes and we got a player and digitize them. he and i went through and looked at what was on them and picked out appropriate cuts to add to the resources. ♪ have thesewe resources and we can let students listen to them in the case of a fiddler, learn their fiddle repertoire, learn the nuance of their playing. in the case of shape note singing group, we can hear what types of songs were popular in that point of time. also hear the nuance in their singing style. [group singing]
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>> it gives us a way to keep an old tradition going where the actual culture barriers may not be with us any longer. is a note singing tradition of sacred music making unique to america. it originated in the early 19th century. the first twoaped was the literal shape of the notes that appear on a page. what individuals were experimenting with around 1800 were developing systems of notations that could make it easier for people to learn how to read music. [choir singing acappella
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] in the 19th century it became so popular as a way for individuals to learn how to sing that singing schoolmasters would travel around to the region and teach singing schools where they ofld actually have a class 20, 30, 40 individuals in a community and everyone would get reacher and learn how to shaped note notations. after the singing school was over, the stinking schoolmaster would move onto another rural community, and the community that person left would have a book and they would get together regularly and seeing out of this book of shape note tunes. you really had a blossoming of
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shape note singing in this region. as a result there were a number of books that were published. here in western north carolina, the book that really took hold and stayed was called "christian harmony." it was compiled by a gentleman named william walker who was from south carolina. there is a continuance christian harmony singing that has going on in western north carolina for over 100 years. singing acappella] so the ballot singing tradition here goes way back to the earliest settlers who came from the british isles. some of these ballots that are still sung here in the mountains, you can date them back to the 15th, 1600s in scotland and ireland. acappella]inging recorded days before
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music, this is how you past music on. madison county, which is north -- still has is ballot singing. people have been singing the ballot for six or seven generations and their families and they have been passed along. you will find people still singing about lords and ladies and castles and things, even they there in this -- they are in the mountains of west carolina. acappella]inging the lord thomas is waiting i'll go. ballots are basically telling a story and song. there are some kind of narrative going on. usually something happens and there is some kind of moral to the story at the end. they are important for passing along the customs and beliefs of a culture. singing acappella]
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and the brown grow at my feet --the brown grow at my feet girl at my feet >> wheezed the archives to help us show current students the way that certain types of mountain music were performed and presented. presented by individuals who are really doing it 100 years ago. it creates a really critical resource and a window back in time. recordings offer an excellent way to hear a nuance of somebody's playing, or the ornaments of someone singing that you really cannot get otherwise. this music is important. it is american full music. music.
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when i travel to other parts of the world and i tell people i songs theyan folk say, what, we did not know there was anything other than commercialized use it. every country has folk music. even though we are talking north carolina, this is full music. it is important to preserve it and make it available because it is part of our nation's history. >> these fiddle tunes i was talking about, the old battles -- ballots, they are being passed down from other generations where it is not an essay or a book, it is something that is encapsulated in a tune and it cannot be put any other way. ande is power in that tune, there is wisdom in that tune. when you read it to your body, you run it through a whole group of people and it informs them.
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i think a lot of it is very uplifting. i think it just makes people healthier. [violence playing] ♪ -- violins playing] are cities tour staff just travel to asheville, north carolina. learn more at c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. sunday, our look back to the tumultuous year of 1968 focuses on women's right, the women's liberation music challenge the assumptions about american womanhood, transforming society. joining us to talk about women's rights in 1968 are evra spar, former college president and
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