Migration Sketches: Music of the Diasporas. Learn tunes showing how the movement of music through human migration characterizes human history.
Migrations and the immigrant experience form much of human history. Out of that has come a body of music, reflected in songs such as “You Got to Move” by Fred McDowell and Gary Harding Davis, “From Clare to Here” by Ralph McTell, “There’s a Man Going Round Taking Names” from the Black gospel tradition, “Deportee” and “I Ain’t Got No Home in this World Anymore” by Woody Guthrie, “St Thomas” by Sonny Rollins, “Old Man From The Old Country” by Nat Adderley, “Isfahan” by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, “KC Railroad Blues” by Andrew and Jim Baxter, “Nuage” by Django Reinhardt, and “New Delhi” by Victor Feldman. These tunes span a range of genres; from spirituals, to blues, to roots and folk, to jazz, and even pop.
Our main focus will be on learning some of these tunes, but we’ll not ignore the circumstances that gave rise to them. We’ll thus include some discussion of the “Great Migration” of African Americans from the US South to the country’s urban centers, the climate induced movement of people in the US during the Dust Bowl years, the economic-driven movement of people from the Caribbean to the US, the persecution-driven migration of people from Europe to the US during the 1930s and 40s, the famine induced movement of people from Ireland, the commerce-driven “Middle Passage” of enslaved people from Africa, as well as the movement of people more than a thousand years ago from Northern India to Europe where they became known as Roma or Gypsies. Tim Porter on mandolin and Joe Selly on guitar will teach tunes and lead the discussion.