What's New at MMaP
August 23 - Newest CD in MMaP's Back on Track series focuses on Labrador
From the Big Land: Music of Makkovik, featuring Gerald Mitchell is a new archival CD just released by the Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP) at Memorial University. Many of Gerald's songs, particularly those with lyrics by Byron Chaulk, became Labrador hits when they were first released on two LPs in the 1970s. The new CD includes a number of tracks from those decades-old LPs as well as a number of new tracks recently performed by Gerald and others. The repertoire reflects dramatic changes in the community over the course of the 20th century. Many of the songs document community life, including both humourous and joyous events. Some reflect nostalgically on places abandoned, and lost ways of life. Tracks include a spoken-word extract in which Byron Chaulk describes the miraculous day when he and Gerald Mitchell created fourteen songs in the course of an afternoon, a previously unrecorded Gerald Mitchell composition performed by Gary and Jennifer Mitchell, several new songs by younger Makkovik song-writers, and an Inuktitut rendition by Susie and Joas Onalik. The CD ships with a 40-page booklet with detailed song notes and a history of music in the Labrador community. The booklet features several reproductions of Gerald Mitchell's artistic work, including a new line drawing, prepared just for this project. Makkovik residents contributed photographs, personal memoirs and oral narratives, many of which are replicated in the booklet. Among other things, you can read about the impact of the Moravian church, or find Uncle Jim Andersen's story about the day his father had to decide whether to buy a piano or a sawmill, as well as his memories of dances at the Mill House when the coastal boat, the Kyle, docked in town. There are reflections on the traumatic move of Inuit from northern Labrador into the Settler community of Makkovik, and descriptions of the impact of radio in coastal Labrador. Major social changes marked the course of the community. From the days when Makkovik people welcomed the schooner fishermen from Newfoundland in the summers, to the post-Nunatsiavut period, music has kept memories of the past alive, reflected social or economic change and helped people adapt to new circumstances. Researched and produced by Joan Andersen (lead researcher), Tim Borlase, Gary Mitchell, and Beverley Diamond in collaboration with Gerald Mitchell, the CD and booklet present a fascinating story of music in a unique Labrador community.
November 1 - Crossing Over: Fiddle and Dance Studies from Around the North Atlantic 3 is now available!
This latest volume, the third in a series, is the result of the 2008 North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, its theme being ‘Crossing Over’. With contributions from Canada, the United States, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Spain, the publication covers a rich range of topics relevant crossing over from the Old-World to the New World but also the converse. This collection of 21 essays, which should appeal to both scholars and enthusiasts alike, explores issues of immigration-emigration, cultural politics, transatlantic journeys, New World explorations and adaptations as well as folk revivals, alongside competition networks and performer creativity. Readers will also find the index of songs tunes and dances to be of considerable use. The North Atlantic, in providing a unifying frame for these studies, is not conceived of in terms of boundaries that separate and divide peoples, but rather as corridors through which cultures have flowed and continue to flow in a process of exchange and communication.
Crossing Over is available by calling the MMaP research centre: 864-3661.
Click here to read a review of Crossing Over in The Living Tradition.
July 2 - Music, Dance and Place Symposium
The Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP) is hosting a symposium next month which will see presenters from Newfoundland and around the globe consider how individuals and social groups give meaning to place through music and movement.
The event will take place in the MMaP gallery, second floor of the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s, from 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m., on Friday, July 2. The final session of the day, featuring local traditional singers, will be held at Bitters Pub at 4:30 p.m.
“Despite and even because of global flows of culture, the concrete and imagined places of sounding and dancing continue to have significance in the lives of musicians and dancers,” said MUN professor and symposium organizer Dr. Kati Szego.
“There’s a dynamic relationship between how we connect, intellectually and emotionally, to certain spaces—our homes, our places of worship, our natural environment—and how we sing, play and move in those spaces and about them. This symposium is a special opportunity to explore those connections that help define our humanity and our place in the world.“
Presenters from Slovenia, Brazil, Austria, Malaysia, Korea, Australia, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, the United States and Canada will consider how:
• musicians and dancers make places meaningful through stories, commemoration, mimesis or even gestures of control
• music and dance are shaped by how people think about the spaces, regions and geographies they occupy e.g., east and west, land and sea, heaven and earth, in and out.
• the physical or metaphysical properties of spaces and places affect how people experience music and dance
• location, dislocation, and multi-location are expressed musically, lyrically, and bodily
The papers will vary as wildly as the presenters’ origins. For example, Janice Tulk of Cape Breton University will explore the Corner Brook mill whistle as a soundmark; Tran Quang Hai will demonstrate Mongolian overtone singing; and Kenyan scholar Jean Kidula will look at music and dance at rugby sevens events in Nairobi and San Diego.
Click here to see the poster for the symposium.
Click here to see the program schedule.
Click here to see the abstracts for the presenters.
Welta'q "It Sounds Good": Historic Recordings of the Mi'kmaq - Produced by ethnomusicologist Janice Esther Tulk, Welta’q: “It Sounds Good”: Historic Recordings of the Mi’kmaq will feature important archival recordings from institutions across Canada, as well as field recordings from private research collections. The vibrant musical life of the Mi’kmaw people will be showcased through 27 tracks, including traditional Mi’kmaw songs, songs by the first Mi’kmaw powwow drum group, fiddle tunes and folksongs, hymns and anthems, a lullaby, and the story of Mi’kmwesu – the flute-playing trickster.
Featuring artwork by Mi’kmaw artist Jerry Evans, Welta’q – “It Sounds Good” will ship with a 50-page booklet that includes textual and musical transcriptions of the songs, translations of Mi’kmaw texts, extensive notes that contextualize each selection, and discussion of Mi’kmaw musical instruments and dance styles. This CD will help to disseminate, promote, and recognize Mi’kmaw culture within Newfoundland and Labrador and the Atlantic Provinces, while providing culturally-sensitive content for use in classrooms, recognizing the many cultures of Newfoundland.
Welta'q is available at Fred's, O'Brien's, the MUN Bookstore and through MMaP.
Bellows and Bows: Historic Recordings of Traditional Fiddle and Accordion Music from across Canada - Produced by fiddler, dancer, and scholar Sherry Johnson, this 2-CD set brings together historically distinguished fiddlers and accordion players from a wide variety of ethnocultural communities across Canada. With a team of regional experts, historically significant tracks from the extensive archival collections in a number of Canadian centers have been identified for inclusion. Bellows & Bows will also draw upon early commercial recordings that are no longer in circulation. The accompanying booklet will include regional overviews, tune notes, biographies of the musicians, archival photographs, as well as some transcriptions and interview excerpts.
This recording will demonstrate the artistry and social complexity of accordion and fiddle communities and nuance the historical representation of these ever- evolving traditions that have played such an important role in defining social identities. This music has served, at times, as a sort of lingua franca that binds the nation, but more often the subtleties of style have made it a means of asserting a related but distinctive social identity. These social distinctions may be ethnocultural (as in the tempo differences of Scottish-derived and Acadian fiddle music in Maritime Canada) or class-related (reflected by debates about the merits of competitions). In spite of the subtle ways in which fiddle and accordion traditions have both served as common ground and as markers of distinction for various communities, it has too often been represented in Canada either as a kind of nostalgic “barn dance” tradition (with all its implications of rural, uneducated and slightly crude), or else as a virtuosic “show” tradition (in recordings produced by the award winners of the dozens of fiddle competitions that take place annually across the nation). This CD intends to nuance that picture with a project that reveals practitioners from many walks of life, diverse venues, and style changes that relate to a broader range of identity issues.
The journal of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies has released a special thematic issue on music, co-edited by Glenn Colton, Beverley Diamond, and Jim Hiller. It includes articles on traditional, popular, Aboriginal, and classical music of Newfoundland and Labrador by established and emerging music scholars. View the table of contents online or purchase a copy from NLS.
Saturday Nite Jamboree -- the third CD in the Back on Track Archival Series. Produced by folklorist and eminent bluegrass historian, Dr. Neil Rosenberg and including new historical photographs and interviews about a significant radio program of the 1960s, this new release is now available directly from MMaP Research Centre or in select locations throughout Newfoundland. Read more about it in the August 2007 edition of our newsletter, listen to a clip, or order your copy.