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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

Trena Jordanoska and Dimitrije Bužarovski

(b Glišikj, Kavadarci, Republic of Macedonia, 1918; d Skopje Sept 25, 1976). Macedonian folk singer. His lyric tenor voice, with its distinctive timbre (simultaneously light and warm), was recognized soon after his first performance in Radio Skopje in 1948, and it was established as a model for the male vocal repertory of traditional Macedonian music. He sang softly, with richness, in a narrow piano dynamic spectrum, and with delicate use of vibrato and ornaments. He became an idol among Macedonian audiences worldwide and has been adored by Balkan audiences as well, taking tours in Europe, Canada, USA, and Australia....

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

Vasil S. Tole

(b Përmet, Albania, May 2, 1929; d Përmet, Jan 26, 2014). Albanian folk music performer. A clarinettist and vocalist, nicknamed ‘Përmeti’s nightingale’, founder of the instrumental iso-polyphonic group (saze ensemble) in the Southern town of Përmet (1944–2004). At a young age, he showed a special ability to design and make instruments. He was taught to play the lute and the clarinet by the ...

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

Vasil S. Tole

(b Elbasan, Albania, Aug 4, 1911, Albania; d Tiranë, Albania, April 17, 1970). Albanian folk music performer. He created and performed about 70 popular songs in the folk music idiom. Born in Elbasan, in a traditional family, he completed his primary and secondary education in Elbasan, which is renowned for the folk music traditions and the spectacular scenery. Bodini’s voice captured the attention of audiences when he was 15. He continued his education in the capitol, Tirana, also appearing as a singer in the traditional music clubs. His repertory included songs made by him, as well as traditional Italian and Greek songs. In ...

Article

Nicholas Tochka

(b Durrës, Albania, Jan 20, 1914; d Tirana, Albania, March 30, 1977). Albanian folk music researcher and composer. Born into an intellectual family, he studied music in Bucharest (1936) and later Milan (1939) before returning to Albania during World War II. Initially, Dheri was appointed music instructor at the high school in Shkodra, where he organized small ensembles and choral groups following the war. In ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Jirapa, Ghana, June 22, 1958). Ghanaian xylophone maker, player, and teacher. Born into a family of gyilli makers and players in northwest Ghana, Doozie began playing at six years of age. When he was 12 his father taught him to make his first ...

Article

Barry Jean Ancelet

(b Lafayette, LA, Feb 14, 1951). American fiddler, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. Doucet has become arguably the most widely recognized Cajun musician ever. His formative influences within Cajun and Creole music include acknowledged masters such as Dewey Balfa, Canray Fontenot, and especially Dennis McGee, as well as lesser-known but no less important masters such as Varise Conner, Lionel Leleux, and Hector Duhon. Other influences include the folk rock, country, and swamp pop influences of his youth. Doucet first approached Cajun music in the 1970s in a group called Bayou des Mystères. He then founded a rock-country-Cajun fusion band called Coteau, the first such band to attract the attention of the younger university crowds. After Coteau dissolved, Doucet turned to his long-running band Beausoleil, which was informed by an eclectic collection of influences that reflect the complex history of Cajun music, including traditional, classical, rock, and jazz elements. Beausoleil has played all over the world and recorded more than 30 albums for many labels, including Swallow, Arhoolie, Rounder, Rhino, and Alligator. These albums have garnered 11 Grammy nominations and two wins. Doucet has also recorded albums with other musicians, including Marc and Ann Savoy, Ed Poullard, and his brother David Doucet. He has performed with symphony orchestras and with the Fiddlers Four. Along the way, he has made ingenious use of old material, for example, turning unaccompanied ballads that John and Alan Lomax collected in Louisiana in ...

Article

Stephen D. Winick

(b Hatboro, PA, July 1, 1969). Traditional Irish musician, composer, and bandleader. Egan’s father was from County Mayo, Ireland, and the family moved there when Séamus was three. He took music lessons with Martin Donaghue, a button accordion player from Ballindine. Seeing the flutists Matt Molloy and James Galway on television encouraged him to play the flute, and he began competing in the All-Ireland championships on flute and whistle. In ...

Article

Paul Yoon

(b Los Angeles, CA, April 2, 1953). American taiko artist. Of Japanese American descent, he studied drumming, especially jazz and rock, from an early age. He first experienced taiko in the early 1970s and joined Kinnara Taiko in 1975. His interest in taiko was fueled by an emergent sense of his ethnic identity. He went on to study with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo in ...

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

Barry Jean Ancelet

Cajun musicians. On 27 April 1928 Joseph Falcon (b nr Robert’s Cove, LA, 28 Sept 1900; d Crowley, LA, 19 Nov 1965; accordionist, vocalist, and songwriter) and his wife Cléoma (b Crowley, LA, 27 May 1906; d Crowley, LA, 9 April 1941; guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter) became the first musicians to record a commercially released Cajun music record. They recorded for Columbia with Cléoma on guitar and Joseph on accordion and vocals. Their first album featured “Lafayette” and “La valse qui ma portin de ma fose” [La valse qui m’a porté dans ma fosse]. They subsequently recorded more songs for Columbia as well as for Decca until Cléoma’s death in ...

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

Greg Downey

(b Itají, Bahia, Brazil, Jan 15, 1933). Brazilian teacher and master practitioner of capoeira angola. After migrating from rural Bahia to Salvador, he learned capoeira in the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola under the legendary mestre Vicente Ferreira Pastinha. Influenced also by such veteran practitioners as Cobrinha Verde and Barbosa, he became a widely respected ...

Article

Stephen D. Winick

(b Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 29, 1917; d San Francisco, CA, March 22, 2009). Folklorist, music scholar, and labor activist of Canadian birth; naturalized American. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Green worked as a road builder, a firefighter, a shipwright, and a carpenter, and joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Green enrolled in graduate school in ...

Article

Jada Watson

(b Seguin, TX, July 6, 1953). American country/folksinger-songwriter. She grew up in a musical home, began playing guitar at a young age, and started writing songs at the age of six. When she was 14 she began performing in honky-tonks. After college Griffith taught kindergarten by day and performed in honky-tonks at night. It was not until ...

Article

Brenda M. Romero

(b Costa de la Palma Ranch, nr Alvarado,Veracruz, Mexico, July 2, 1942). Mexican singer and traditional musician. Together with brothers Felipe and Marcos Ochoa (originally from Rancho de Zacaiste, Veracruz), José Gutiérrez (originally from Costa de la Palma) has performed traditional music of the Mexican state of Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico for over half a century. As a child he learned to play the ...

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 ...