Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 3-4, Fall-Winter

Bee's Knees and Cat's Whiskers
Miss Doherty's assignment to her sophomore section of English at Richmond Hill High School was to write a single-page essay on "My Favorite Books." My response, back in 1960, was to award the palm to Heinrich Harrer's My Seven Years in Tibet, the book...
Button Accordions: A Call for Information
Button accordions made by Italian craftsmen and sold to the Irish market in New York City are the subject of a research project that grew out of a lecture I give on the McNulty family. The McNultys, based in New York, were the hottest Irish act on...
Digging Deep
When I was a little girl, my parents told my sisters and me that if we dug deep holes in the dirt of our backyard, we might get all the way to China. Taking this folk saying literally, we created mountains of dirt with our metal spoons. At dinnertime,...
Ferenc Keresztesi: Traditional Hungarian Wood-Carving
When you walk onto the property of artist Ferenc Keresztesi, one of the first clues you might have that this is a Hungarian household is the dog. Amos, a large animal covered in thick, white fur, is a kuvasz,, one of the oldest of all dog breeds. The...
Folk Arts Champion: Bess Lomax Hawes, 1921-2009
Bess Lomax Hawes, who decisively shaped American public folklore in the late twentieth century, died in Portland, Oregon, on November 27, 2009, at the age of 88. All Americans are indebted to Bess for her visionary leadership of the Folk Arts Program...
Folklore and the Internet: Vernacular Expression in a Digital World
Folklore and the Internet: Vernacular Expression in a Digital World, edited by Trevor J. Blank. Logan, Utah: Utah University Press, 2009. 272 pages, introduction, appendix, references, index, $24.95 paper. I would venture to guess that about thirty...
Hindu Domestic Mandirs: Home Temples in Greater New York
Hindus often say that there can be no town or city without a temple. Similarly, no house is complete without a domestic mandir, or temple. A mandir enlightens the house and the minds of those living in the house. In my study of the interior decoration...
Hudson River Panorama: A Passage through Time
Hudson River Panorama: A Passage Through Time, by Tammis K. Groft, W Douglas McCombs, and Ruth Greene-McNally. Albany: State University of New York (Excelsior Editions), 2009. 134 pages, black-and-white and color photographs, illustrations, bibliography,...
Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea
Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea, by Dan Milner. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Folkways, 2009. Thirteen tracks, $16.98 CD. I came upon this CD of songs to which one might want to dance a jig, by Irish musician and musicologist Dan...
Las 7 Salves De la Magdalena: 7 Songs of Praise for the Magdalene
Las 7 Salves de La Magdalena: 7 Songs of Praise for the Magdalene, Raquel Z. Rivera and Ojos de Sofia. New York: 2010. Seven tracks, $14.99 CD. It was with great excitement that I received this new CD and listened to it. When I heard there was a...
Midwife
From the time before recorded history, there have been women whose role it was to help mothers safely deliver their babies into the world. The earliest recorded references to midwives and their work appear on Egyptian papyrus scrolls dating back to...
Nadia Tarnawsky: A Ukrainian-American Singer's Journey
Sometime in the mid-1970s, a Ukrainian mother was walking through a grocery store in Cleveland. The toddler at her side spied a rack of books and lingered as the mother continued on. A few minutes later, the sounds of a Ukrainian Christmas carol could...
Older Singers and Old Recordings
Last July, I spent a few days at Pinewoods Camp in Massachusetts in the good company of a number of fine singers, including three from England: Tim Radford of Hampshire, and Anni Fentiman and Dave Weber, respectively from County Durham and Yorkshire....
Place and People in Time
As I write this first column relating to environment, vernacular architecture, and maritime culture, it is a very hot and humid July day here on Long Island. Across the street from our office on Manhasset Bay harbor are several boatyards and yacht...
Singing at the East Village Ukrainian Senior Center: A Reflection
When people leave their homeland, often they can take very few physical items with them--limited amounts of clothing, only the most prized possessions--but they can bring a store of items held within their memory: stories, folklore, poems, songs. When...
The Mighty Raff: 2010 National Heritage Award Winner
In September 2010, Mike Rafferty--or, as we like to call him, "The Mighty Raff"--received the National Heritage Award, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on the nation's traditional artists. Quite simply, no one deserves it...
The New Obit
He loved golf, spearmint leaf candy, jazz, blues, laughter, the company of good friends, a good story, and a well-mixed stinger. He was a kind, patient, loving man who dedicated his life to his family and helping others. --Michael, 69, Sackets Harbor...
The People's City Report Card
For a while, I've wanted to give a People's Hall of Fame Award to the casting director of law and Order. That's not just because I'm a hopeless addict. In addition to the gritty stars, the casting always features that man putting boxes in a van or...
Voces Con Eco: A Sample of Writing from Mano a Mano
Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders has hosted a weekly gathering of writers--mostly Mexican immigrants--for the past two years, a shared project with the New York Writers Coalition. Mary Ellen Sanger facilitates the group. The group recently...