W.Va. Folk Music for the Next Generation

By AbFreeland Wv Book Team | Sunday Gazette-Mail, December 24, 2017 | Go to article overview

W.Va. Folk Music for the Next Generation


AbFreeland Wv Book Team, Sunday Gazette-Mail


First published in 1975 and long out of print, "Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills is a major work of folklore poised to reach a new generation of readers.

Drawing upon Patrick Ward Gainer's extensive ethnographic fieldwork around West Virginia, it contains dozens of significant folk songs, including not only the internationally famous "Child Ballads, but such distinctively West Virginian songs as "The West Virginia Farmer and "John Hardy, among others.

"Folk Songs from the West Virginia Hills stands out as a book with multiple audiences. As a musical text, it offers comparatively easy access to a rich variety of folk songs that could provide a new repertoire for Appalachian singers.

As an ethnographic text, it has the potential to reintroduce significant data about the musical lives of many West Virginians into conversations around Appalachian music - discourses that are being radically reshaped by scholars working in folklore, ethnomusicology and Appalachian studies.

As a historical document, it gives readers a glimpse into the research methods commonly practiced by mid-20th century folklorists.

And when read in conjunction with John Harrington Cox's "Folk Songs of the South (also available from West Virginia University Press), it sheds important light on the significant role WVU has played in documenting the state's vernacular traditions. …

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