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Electric Folk by Britta SweersIn the 1960s and 1970s, a number of British musicians rediscovered traditional folk ballads, fusing the old melodies with rock, jazz, and blues styles to create a new genre dubbed "electric folk" or "British folk rock." This revival featured groups such as Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention,and Pentangle and individual performers like Shirley and Dolly Collins, and Richard Thompson. While making music in multiple styles, they had one thing in common: they were all based on traditional English song and dance material. These new arrangements of an old repertoire created a unique musicalvoice within the popular mainstream. After reasonable commercial success, peaking with Steeleye Span's Top 10 album All Around My Hat, Electric Folk disappeared from mainstream notice in the late 1970s, yet performers continue to create today.In Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music, Britta Sweers provides an illuminating history and fascinating analysis of the unique features of the electric folk scene, exploring its musical styles and cultural implications. Drawing on rare historical sources, contemporary musicjournalism, and first-hand interviews with several of electric folk's most prominent artists, Sweers argues that electric folk is both a result of the American folk revival of the early 1960s and a reaction against the dominance of American pop music abroad. Young British "folk-rockers," such asRichard Thompson and Maddy Prior, turned to traditional musical material as a means of asserting their British cultural identity. Yet, unlike many American and British folk revivalists, they were not as interested in the "purity" of folk ballads as in the music's potential for lively interactionwith modern styles, instruments, and media. The book also delves into the impact of the British folk rock movement on mainstream pop, American rock music, and neighboring European countries.Ultimately, Sweers creates a richly detailed portrait of the electric folk scene--as cultural phenomenon, commercial entity, and performance style.
What is Klezmer music? It is a Central European tradition, a Jew-Yiddish-Gypsy musical amalgamation born in the early years of the twentieth century. Is it a living musical culture? To some extent, yes. But … it is also being revitalized. BKB (Budapest Klezmer Band) is a unique band. Except for the Jewish leader of the band (Ferenc Javori born as Fegya Jakubovits in Carpatian Ukraine) all the band members are Christians. As Fegya says: "If you want to play Klezmer perfectly, you dont have to be a Jew – you have to be a perfect musician.” And they are superb. Yiddish Blues is an emotionally charged story told through images and original music.
Historical Dictionary of the Gypsies by Donald Kenrick; Jon Woronoff (Editor)Originating in India, the Gypsies arrived in Europe around the 14th century, spreading not only across the entirety of the continent but also immigrating to the Americas. The first Gypsy migration included farmworkers, blacksmiths, and mercenary soldiers, as well as musicians, fortune-tellers, and entertainers. At first, they were generally welcome as an interesting diversion to the dull routine of that period. Soon, however, they attracted the antagonism of the governing powers, as they have continually done throughout the following centuries. The second edition of the Historical Dictionary of the Gypsies (Romanies) seeks to end such prejudice by clarifying the facts about this nomadic people. Through a list of acronyms, a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on significant persons, places, events, institutions, and aspects of culture, society, economy, and politics, the history of the Gypsies and their culture is told.
Bartók, Hungary, and the Renewal of Tradition by David E. SchneiderIt is well known that Bela Bartok had an extraordinary ability to synthesize Western art music with the folk music of Eastern Europe. What this rich and beautifully written study makes clear is that, contrary to much prevailing thought about the great twentieth-century Hungarian composer, Bartok was also strongly influenced by the art-music traditions of his native country. Drawing from a wide array of material including contemporary reviews and little known Hungarian documents, David Schneider presents a new approach to Bartok that acknowledges the composer's debt to a variety of Hungarian music traditions as well as to influential contemporaries such as Igor Stravinsky.