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Article

Jelena Jovanović

(b Vranje, Serbia, June 11, 1897; d Feb 21, 1969). Serbian singer (pesmopojka) and song writer. She was one of the most prominent performers of the 20th-century Serbian and Balkan urban vocal tradition. Widely known as a veseljak (lively character), she was respected for her fidelity to local traditions, for her intensely expressive and nuanced vocal style, and for her dedication to bring out the meaning of the texts she sang. She started singing at a very early age; as a young girl she was paid for her singing. She sang in her own home on everyday occasions, to guests, and at family and public celebrations. Her repertory encompassed love, family, and narrative songs, mainly concerning specific events, places, and personalities of Vranje. She is the author of the song ‘...

Article

John M. Schechter and J. Richard Haefer

An ensemble of gourd (puro) trumpets of various sizes, used in the Chota river valley of Imbabura and Carchi provinces of Ecuador. Formed in the late 19th century by Afro-Ecuadorians without access to Western military band instruments, the ensemble includes several puros (...

Article

Zither shaped like a harp. It was invented in the USA in the 19th century. It was 90 cm tall, had 18 strings, and five to seven buttons with which to change the pitch; on the lower part of the instrument was a drum to give a banjo-like resonance. ‘Banjo Harp’ was also a trade name for a five-string banjo with a wooden soundtable and a resonator back made by the Paramount Banjo Co. (William L. Lange) in the 1920s....

Article

Term for a banjo with four paired strings or a mandolin with a banjo-type head. Such combination types were popular novelties in the USA in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some were patented, for example the Bandonian by William H. DeWick of Brooklyn (...

Article

Alastair Dick

Hybrid fretted stick zither used in north Indian or Hindustani classical music in the 19th and early 20th centuries; it is now rarely played. It is similar in construction to the Hindustani , with a long wooden neck or stick, bilateral tuning pegs, and two large gourd resonators attached below; its neck, however, is constructed like that of the sitar—a long hollow stick, semicircular in cross section, covered with a thin fingerboard. The ...

Article

(b El Carnero, CO, Sept 12, 1880; d Palo Alto, CA, Sept 4, 1958). American folklorist and educator. Born in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado to a prominent Hispano family with deep roots in New Mexico, Espinosa was one of the first US- born Latinos to earn a teaching post at an American university. Although folklorists without formal training such as Charles Fletcher Lummis and Eleanor Hague studied Spanish-language folksongs of the Southwest, Espinosa made the folksongs of Spanish-speaking peoples a legitimate area for scholarly research at a time when individuals of Hispano, Mexican, or Latino heritage were generally discouraged from pursuing higher education. Like Lummis and Hague, Espinosa viewed this repertory as Spanish American rather than Mexican and believed that New Mexican folksong had more in common with Spanish antecedents than with traditional Mexican song. Espinosa was the New Mexican analogue to Francis James Child. Unlike Child, he collected folk ballads from local people in person, although, like Child, he did not study the music that went with the texts he gathered. Espinosa published more than 175 scholarly articles and about a dozen longer monographs, as well as 30 Spanish textbooks. He served as associate editor of the ...

Article

Inna D. Nazina

Piano accordion of Belarus. It was introduced from Russia in the second half of the 19th century, at first in Vitebsk province, and by the 1930s it was known throughout the rest of the country, becoming one of the most popular folk instruments. Two types of garmonik are particularly popular, the ‘khromka’ (chromatic model) and the ‘Viennese double-rowed’ type. It is played either solo or in ensemble with percussion instruments (...

Article

Stephen D. Winick

(b Bangor, ME, Sept 2, 1888; d Washington, DC, March 26, 1961). American folklorist and folksong collector. He was a pioneer in making audio recordings of folksongs on wax cylinders. He studied English at Harvard under the ballad scholar George Lyman Kittredge. He was hired by the University of California, Berkeley in ...

Article

John Koegel

(b San Francisco, CA, Nov 7, 1875; d Flintridge, CA, Dec 25, 1954). American folklorist, writer, lecturer, music patron, and singer. Born into a wealthy family (her father James Hague was a prominent geologist and mining engineer), she used her inheritance to support her research into Latin American music, particularly Mexican American and Mexican folksong. Prior to moving to Pasadena, California, in ...

Article

Charles K. Wolfe and Michael Ann Williams

(b Point Leavell, KY, July 13, 1895; d Springfield, OH, Sept 23, 1989). American country and folk music performer. Raised in Garrard County, Kentucky, Kincaid absorbed the religious music and ballad traditions of his family. He learned to play on a guitar his father reputedly acquired from trading a dog, and his “hound dawg” guitar became his trademark throughout his career. Kincaid dropped out of school after fifth grade and later resumed his education at Berea College Academy, completing high school at age 26. At Berea, Kincaid began to systematically collect ballads and other forms of traditional music. After graduation, he married his music teacher, a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory. Kincaid relocated to Chicago to attend the YMCA College and there auditioned with a college quartet at WLS, a local radio station. Kincaid, “the Kentucky Mountain Boy,” soon became a hit with his clear tenor and his rendition of traditional ballads such as “Barbara Allen.” By the early 1930s, Kincaid was one of the most popular radio performers nationally, and he augmented his radio salary with songbook sales and live performances. He also he recorded prolifically for Gennett, Brunswick, ARC, Decca, RCA, and others. He worked at radio stations in Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Cincinnati, and Wheeling with his partner ...

Article

Robert B. Winans

(b Richmond, VA, Oct 17, 1870; d New York, NY, July 29, 1941). American minstrel and vaudeville performer and composer. He served in the army from 1895 to 1898. He also attempted to become a professional baseball player in Baltimore, and it is said that he became a minstrel after George H. Primrose saw him entertaining the other players in the clubhouse, having failed to make the team. He then went to work for Primrose and West’s Minstrels, where he changed his name and soon became a star performer. He played in vaudeville until that form declined in the late 1920s, then occasionally appeared in nightclubs; he also performed in a number of Broadway shows. Leonard wrote many of his own songs, including his first hit “Just because she Made them Goo-goo Eyes,” “Roll dem boly boly eyes,” “I lost my Mandy,” and his most famous song, “Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider” (...

Article

Barbara L. Tischler

(b Louisville, KY, Oct 20, 1877; d Louisville, KY, Feb 24, 1919). American composer and folksong collector. She had no formal training as a composer. At the suggestion of May Stone of the Hindman Settlement School in Knott County (Kentucky), she spent the summer of ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b ?1857; d Petrograd, Russia, Aug 22, 1916). Russian luthier, developer of the modern balalaika. He has been called the ‘Russian Stradivarius’. His life is not reliably documented; some sources place his birth in the 1870s. An unschooled peasant but gifted woodworker, he had been apprenticed to a carpenter in Vologda province. It is said that, intending to seek work in St Petersburg, he was able to travel only as far as Eremkovo, where he worked for two years as a carpenter and began to make balalaikas, assembling the bodies from pieces of wood rather than carving them. His work attracted the attention of V.V. Andreyev (...

Article

John Koegel

(b Durango, Mexico, Feb 6, 1899; d Los Angeles, CA, Oct 30, 1968). Film actor and singer of Mexican birth. He moved to Southern California with his family during the Mexican Revolution in the later 1910s, and worked in Hollywood as an extra in such silent films as Cecil B. De Mille’s ...

Article

Timo Leisiö

(b Soikkola, Russian West Ingria, Nov 7, 1886; d Helsinki, Finland, Jan 5, 1962). Ingrian musician and instrument maker who became a symbol of Finnish folk music. As a boy on the southeastern shore of the Gulf of Finland he worked as a shepherd during several summers and learned to make and play local flutes (...