Friday, May 25, 2018

AO Folk Songs 2018-2019


AO Folk Songs 2018-2019 School Year

Remember the goal of folk songs is to sing them.  Youtube or other media are tools to help you learn the songs, they are not a substitute for singing.  You don't even need to let your students watch the youtube videos- just play them with the screen turned around while you learn the tune well enough to start singing it yourselves.

One way to learn the songs is to print out copies of the lyrics, and play the youtube or other version once through while following along.  The next day, play it again and try singing along.  Do this for two or three days, and the mute the sound for one verse but keep on singing.  Bring up the sound again for the next verse.  Or just mute it for the chorus.  Gradually wean yourselves from the mechanical accompaniment and sing them yourselves.

 That is the most important part of folk songs in the curriculum, singing them.  Nothing else matters as much as singing them.  Nothing else matters if you *don't* sing them.

However,  once you've gotten the singing part down, here are a few other things you can do (but they are not required. Singing is required):

Learn to play the tune on whatever musical instrument your children are learning.
Look up the location of the folk song origins on a map.  Look up any other place names as well.
Dance to them.
Use  lines from the songs for copywork
Sing them some more
Sing them while you work, while you put children to sleep, while driving.
Play with the songs.  Start changing the words around- and watch and notice if your children do the same.  They will probably do this without you.


Here's my you-tube play-list of this year's folk songs: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2IR3x_bkyR55kU2uGplZrY5b3gq-bXRR

As always, it includes several versions.   While it really, really, really does not matter if the lyrics you have and the lyrics in the song you're playing are exact matches, for each folk song (except the Christmas Carols),  I have picked one youtube version and (tried) to transcribe the lyrics that match it below.


Term 1 Folk Songs:  Cockles and Mussels; Freight Train; Christmas Carols (see below)

Cockles and Mussels/Molly Malone * * 

I've read this is such a popular song in Ireland that they sing it at sports events.

 I suppose it ought to be sad and melancholy, but I've always thought it hilarious to imagine a ghost pushing a wheelbarrow of shellfish (cockles and mussels, for those who don't know, are edible shellfish) through the streets while shouting 'Alive, Alive, oh!'


 C.S. Lewis writes in one of his journals about meeting up with some of his friends at a local pub and singing together, and this is one of the songs they sang.   People used to just spontaneously sing together regularly, and I think we were all better for it. That's one of the reasons AO seeks to bring back singing as a family activity. Having a shared repertoire of songs is a wonderful bonding tool, and singing together increases happy hormones, reduces stress levels, promotes physical and emotional well-being, gives children another form of emotional vocabulary to express their feelings when they don't have the words, and is just wonderful fun.  Don't worry about whether or not you can carry a tune, just sing!


Here's one set of lyrics to Molly Malone/Cockels and Mussels (there won't be much variation between versions, this is one folk song that hasn't changed much):


https://youtu.be/Bo3chRIxUc8

In Dublin’s fair city where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
through the streets broad and narrow
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

Chorus “A-live, alive O-Oh! Alive, alive O-Oh!"
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

 She was a fishmonger and sure ‘twas no wonder
For so were her father and mother before
And they both wheeled their barrows through the streets broad and narrow
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

Chorus

 She died of a fever and no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
Now her ghost wheels her barrow through streets broad and narrow
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

Chorus (repeat as often as desired, which will undoubtedly be twice as often as Mom or Dad will enjoy)

Although there aren't many variations to this one, I have heard the first line of the last verse sung, "There came a great fever, from which none could save her...."  And then "Now her ghost wheels her barrow..."

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Freight Train (by Elizabeth Cotten)- https://youtu.be/BJTBRkLhttQ
Here's a somewhat perkier version, instrumental only, played by Sungwa Jhun- https://youtu.be/IyEE1zctd9I

Freight train Chorus:
Freight train, freight train run so fast, Freight train, freight train run so fast, Please don't tell what train I'm on, So they won't know what route I've gone
When I'm dead and in my grave, No more good times here I crave, Place the stones at my head and feet tell them all that I've gone to sleep

Chorus When I die, Lord, bury me deep Way down on old Chestnut street Then I can hear old Number 9 As she comes rolling by

Chorus
Peter, Paul, and Mary also sang it as a cover song. Two of their verses are very different and might be acceptable to those who aren't comfortable with the 'when I die' verses, although I would encourage you not to be too quick to omit these. Folk songs can be a gentle way to give children ways to process and express sad, hard emotions).
Freight train, freight train coming 'round the bend
Freight train, freight train, gone again
One of these days turn that train around
Go back to my home town

One more place I'd like to be

One more place I'd love to see
To watch those old Blue Ridge Mountains climb
When I ride old number 9 If the references to death bother you, you could do that one instead. They still have the verse about when I die, only they ask to be buried down on Bleaker street. But you can skip that if you prefer. You'll find it here.

Elizabeth Cotten grew up in a musical family and she wrote Freight Train in 1905.  However, when she got married she set her music aside to raise her family.  After the kids were grown she divorced her husband and moved in with one of her daughters.  At some point when she needed a job she came to the attention of Ruth Seeger, of the musical, folk-song promoting Seegers, who hired her to help around the house and help with the kids- Ruth was Pete Seeger's step-mother, and mom to Mike and Peggy.  Nobody knew Elizabeth Cotten was also a musician, or had been  (her guitar style is remarkable).  One day, the story goes, she had some free time and she took down a banjo or guitar from the wall and started to play to herself.  Pete Seeger came home for a visit and happened to hear her- and that was how, over forty years after she'd put her music aside, she became a musician and folk-singer again and gained a wider audience. 

Read more about the remarkable Elizabeth Cotten at Wikipedia


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        During your Christmas break, try a carol you may be less familiar with:
                    
 Good Christian Men Rejoice and/or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


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Term 2 Folk Songs: Minstrel Boy, Walk That Lonesome Valley, Leatherwing Bat


Minstrel Boy * *
https://youtu.be/jBwUhVgjbCw

The minstrel boy to the war is gone In the ranks of death you'll find him His father's sword he hath girded on And his wild harp slung behind him
"Land of Song!" cried the warrior bard "Tho' all the world betrays thee One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard One faithful harp shall praise thee!"
The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chains Could not bring that proud soul under The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again For he tore its chords asunder
And said "No chains shall sully thee Thou soul of love and brav'ry! Thy songs were made for the pure and free They shall never sound in slavery!

"The Minstrel Boy" was written by Irish poet and artist Thomas Moore. He wrote the lyrics in commemoration of friends who had died in the 1798 Irish Rebellion, and set it to the tune of an old Irish air called "The Moreen." The song quickly became a popular patriotic song, both in Ireland and among Irishmen abroad, including Irish-American Civil War Regiments. From Thoughtco.
If it sounds familiar to you, look up some of the references to it in film and televison and see where you might have heard it before.


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Walk That Lonesome Valley- https://youtu.be/85BvT5X6WSo

by Mississippi John Hurt


You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley You got to walk, that lonesome valley. Well you got to walk
it for yourself. Ain't nobody here, can walk it for you. You got to walk
that valley for yourself. My mother had to walk
that lonesome valley. Well she had to walk
it for herself. Cause nobody here
could walk it for her. Yeah she had to walk
that valley for herself. Oh yes you got to walk
that lonesome valley. Well you got to walk
it for yourself. Cause nobody here
can walk it for you. You got walk... My father had to walk
that lonesome valley. He had to walk
it for his-self. Cause nobody here
could walk it for him. He had to walk... Oh Jesus had to walk
that lonesome valley. He had to walk
it for his-self. Cause nobody here
could walk it for him. He had to walk
that valley for his-self. Oh yes you got to walk
that lonesome valley. Well you got to walk
it for yourself. Yes nobody here
can walk it for you. You got to walk
that valley for yourself.

To be honest, my personal theology would require that I either leave out the verse about Jesus, or change the lyrics just a bit here, but I would do it because Mississippi John is just that special.

Maybe something like this:

Oh Jesus walked
that lonesome valley. My Jesus walked
it by himself. Cause nobody here
could walk it for him. He walked that valley
To save my soul from death. Or maybe I'd just point out that Jesus had to walk it alone and He did it for us, but we don't have to walk it without Him. Or maybe not. It's not necessary to overthink these- folk songs, like poetry, express truths in non-literal ways.



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Leatherwing Bat
The version from Peter, Paul, and Mommyhttps://youtu.be/n6qSWxSuYr4

"Hi," said the little leatherwing bat. "I'll tell you the reason that, the reason that I fly by night is because I lost my heart's delight.""
Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um daaaaaaay, Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low.... "Hi," said the blackbird, "sittin' on a chair, once I courted a lady fair! She proved fickle and turned her back! And ever since then, I've dressed in black."
Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um daaaaaaay, Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low.... "Hi," said the woodpecker, sittin' on a fence, "I once courted a handsome wench! She got scared and from me fled, and ever since then my head's been red."
Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um daaaaaaay, Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low.... "Hi," said the little turtle dove, "I'll tell you how to win her love: Court her night, and court her day, never give her time to say you nay."
Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um daaaaaaay, Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low....

"Hi," said the blue-jay, and away he flew. "If I were a young man, I'd have two. If one were faithless and chanced to go, I'd add the other string to my bow."
Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um day, Howdy, Dowdy, Diddle um daaaaaaay, Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low....

There are variations that include other birds species with other relationship issues. These are birds ,not people. You needn't overthink it, but if you like you can laugh over any bird relationship issues you feel are unwise and point out that humans might do things differently. You can also make up verses for other birds, which is excellent practice for poetry and understanding rhyme scheme and rhythm at the heart level without going into mechanics and formal lesson plans and sheets.



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Term 3: 
Star of the County Down, Robin Hood and the Tanner; Come Lads and Lasses

Star of the County Down *
https://youtu.be/hF6MTwACKZk
Near Banbridge town, in the County Down One evening last July Down a bóithrín green came a sweet Colleen And she smiled as she passed me by. She looked so neat from her two bare feet To the sheen of her nut-brown hair Such a coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself To make sure I was standing there. From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair Colleen That I met in the County Down. As she onward sped I shook my head And I gazed with a feeling queer And I said, says I, to a passerby "Who's your one with the nut-brown hair?" He smiled at me, and with pride says he, "She's the gem of old Ireland's crown. Young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann And the star of the County Down." From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair Colleen That I met in the County Down. She'd a soft brown eye and a look so sly and a smile like the rose in June And you held each note from her auburn throat, as she lilted lamenting tunes At the pattern dance you'd be in trance as she skipped through a jig or reel When her eyes she'd roll, as she'd lift your soul And your heart she would likely steal From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair Colleen That I met in the County Down. At the harvest fair she'll be surely there and I'll dress my Sunday clothes With my hat cocked right and my shoes shon bright for a smile from the nut-brown Rose No horse I'll yoke, or pipe I smoke, 'til the rust in my plough turn brown And a smiling bride by my own fireside sits the star of the County Down From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair Colleen That I met in the County Down. She'd a soft brown eye and a look so sly and a smile like the rose in June And you held each note from her auburn throat, as she lilted lamenting tunes At the pattern dance you'd be in trance as she skipped through a jig or reel When her eyes she'd roll, as she'd lift soul And your heart she would likely steal From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair cailín That I met in the County Down. Near Banbridge town, in the County Down One evening last July Down a bóithrín green came a sweet cailín And she smiled as she passed me by. She looked so neat in her two bare feet To the sheen of her nut-brown hair Such a coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself To make sure I was standing there. From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair cailín That I met in the County Down. From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair cailín That I met in the County Down. From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay From Galway to Dublin town No maid I've seen like the fair cailín That I met in the County Down.

If, and only if, you have a student in year 7 or older who has done the Grammar of Poetry and is interested, you can share this information I got from Wikipedia: "l.
"The Star of the County Down" uses a tight rhyme scheme. Each stanza is a double quatrain, and the first and third lines of each quatrain have an internal rhyme on the second and fourth feet: [aa]b[cc]b. The refrain is a single quatrain with the same rhyming pattern."


bóithrín: Gaelic for a small, badly maintained track or lane, usually in a rural area. cailín: Gaelic for an unmarried girl, a girlfriend, maid or servant. English pronunciation is Colleen


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Robin Hood and the Tanner  https://youtu.be/SNpODF9pquU
Miss Mason used and recommended several different folk-song collections in her schools. One of them was edited and compiled by folk song collector Cecil Sharp.  I found this one in his book One Hundred English Folk-Songs.  He writes:

"This was sung to me by a blind man, eighty-two years of age, who told me that he learned it when a lad of ten, but that he had not sung it, or heard it sung, for forty years or more. He varied the several phrases of the tune, which is in the Dorian mode, in a very free and interesting manner (see English Folk Song: Some Conclusions, p. 21). I have chosen from these variations those which seemed to me to be the most characteristic. Except for one or two minor alterations, the words are given in the text precisely as they were sung to me.  The Robin Hood ballads, which, centuries ago, were extremely popular (although they were constantly denounced by the authorities), are now but rarely sung by the country folk. "  It is a 'merry and pleasant song' about the 'gallant and fierce' combat between Robin Hood and Arthur a Bland who afterwards joined Robin and Little John in the forest life. 


1 In Nottingham there lives a jolly tanner,
With a hey down down a down down
His name it was Arthur a Bland;
There is nere a squire in Nottinghamshire
Dare bid bold Arthur stand.

2. And as he went forth, in a summer’s morning,
With a hey down down a down down
In the forrest of merry Sherwood,
To view the red deer, that range here and there,
There met he with bold Robin Hood.

3. As soon as bold Robin Hood who did him espy,
With a hey down down a down down
He thought some sport he would make;
Therefore out of hand he bid him to stand,
And thus to him he spake:

4. Why, what art thou, thou bold fellow,
With a hey down down a down down
That ranges so boldly here?
In sooth, to be brief, thou look'st like a thief,
That comes to steal our king’s deer.

5. For I am a keeper in this forest;
With a hey down down a down down
The king puts me in trust
To look to his deer, that range here and there,
Therefore stay thee I must.

6. Then Robin Hood he unbuckled his belt,
With a hey down down a down down
He laid down his bow so long;
He took up a staff of another oak ,
That was both stiff and strong.

7. And knock for knock they lustily dealt,
With a hey down down a down down
Which held for two hours and more;
That all the wood rang at every bang,
They ply’d their work so sore

8. ‘Hold thy hand, hold thy hand,’ said bold Robin Hood,
With a hey down down a down down
‘And let our quarrel fall;
For here we may thresh our bones into mesh,
And get no coyn at all.

9. And in the forrest of merry Sherwood

With a hey down down a down down
Hereafter thou shalt be free:’
‘God-a-mercy for naught, my freedom I bought,
I may thank my good staff, and not thee.’


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Come Lads and Lasses: https://youtu.be/2j-Ai4pQ4f0
https://archive.org/stream/englishminstrels01bari#page/n39/mode/2up
"This delicious old song is one of the few in D'Urfey's "Pills to purge Meloncholy," which is not defiled by some coarseness," says Sabine-Gould (he wrote a collection of folk music Miss Mason used in her schools). He also says The earliest known copy in a collection published in 1672.  The collection "Pills to purge Melancholy" was published in 1719.  The tune, as folksongs do, has changed over time, and the lyrics have different variations as well.  Some versions repeat the last line of each verse twice, instead of just the one line given here.

Come, lasses and lads, get leave of your dads,* and away to the maypole hie, 
For every he has got him a she, and the fiddler's standing by; 
There's Georgie has got his Jannie , and Johnny has got his Joan, 
And there they do jog it, jog it, and jog it, a tripping it up and down 

"You're out!" says Dick; "Not I," says Nick. "'T'was the fiddler played it wrong." 
“’T'is true!" says Hugh, and so says Sue, and so says every one.
 The fiddler then began to play the tune again, 
 And ev'ry girl did foot it, and foot it, a' trippin' it to the men, 

 Now they did stay the whole of the day, and tired the fiddler quite 
All dancing and and play, without any pay, from morning unto night 
At last they told the fiddler they'd pay him for his play, 
And each a tuppence, tuppence, tuppence gave him and went away,

 "Goodnight!" says Harry; "Goodnight!" says Mary; "Goodnight! says Poll* to John, 
"Goodnight!" says Sue to her sweetheart Hugh, "Goodnight!" says everyone. 
Some walked and some did run; some loitered on the way, 
And bound themselves by kisses twelve, to meet the next holiday. 

 *'Get leave of your dads' is to get permission 
* Poll is short for Polly
* foot it and tripping it are just terms for dancing

Ralph Caldecott illustrated a child's picture book of this song in the late 1800s. You can view it here.


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Amazon downloads (I haven't been able to listen to the full songs for these, just the previews, so use with that understanding), although I did not find one I liked for Lasses and Lads:

Robin Hood and the Tanner, .99
https://amzn.to/2s85UEh

Star of the County Down, 1.29
https://amzn.to/2Ltu6sw

Star of the County Down, the Chieftains and Van Morison, 1.29
https://amzn.to/2GSx5HO

Leatherwing Bat, Peter, Paul and Mommy, .99
https://amzn.to/2KUcc1a

Cockles & Mussels, .99
https://amzn.to/2KTAAA9

Freight Train, Peter, Paul and Mary, .99
https://amzn.to/2IISdWy

Freight Train, Elizabeth Cotten, .99
https://amzn.to/2Lwirtc

Walk that Lonesome Valley .99
https://amzn.to/2GO9OXr

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for the Amazon links! Before I go digging did you do amazon links for 2017-18

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  2. Just listened to a snippet of each of the songs and I'm so excited for next year. Thank you!

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  3. Rachel, I did not. It's a new thing. I'll give it a try, though, check back in a week (no promises, I have two of my kids visiting us here in the Philippines, haven't seen one of them in 2 years).

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  4. Oh this is so awesome! Thank you so much!

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  5. Now you've got Freight Train stuck in my brain.

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  6. Hi, Wendi
    Today, I found AO website and discovered your blog. I am switching curriculum for this coming school year (18-19) for my child who is going into 5th grade. I am looking forward in catching up and learning about how to use and apply CM to our school days. This post is amazing and I enjoyed listening to the songs. Is this list for the 2018-2019 school year? I feel I have so much to learn and I have a couple of months to get organized. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you.

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  7. Yes, this is the list for the upcoming schoolyear.

    ReplyDelete