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H.C. Colles

revised by Frank Howes

[née Kennedy]

(b Perth, Oct 1857; d Edinburgh, Nov 22, 1930). Scottish singer, folksong collector and editor. Her father, David Kennedy, was her first teacher, and she completed her studies under Mathilde Marchesi in Milan and Paris. From the age of 12 she acted as her father’s accompanist. This background, together with her striking musical abilities, brought her to a leading position in promoting interest in the Gaelic songs of the Hebrides, although she was neither the first nor the most highly qualified collector in this area. Her published arrangements were criticized as being too free, but she defended them on the ground of the variability of the songs according to time, place and singer. This she had learnt from her experience as a collector in the Outer Hebrides, which she visited first in 1905. She was married to A.J. Fraser, and her daughter Patuffa became a player of the cláirseach. In addition to her publications, her lecture-recitals – given with her daughter and with her sister Margaret – were of prime importance in introducing Hebridean song to scholars, singers and the general public. She took the title role in Bantock’s Celtic folk opera ...

Article

Jean R. Freedman

[Margaret ]

(b New York, NY, June 17, 1935). American folksinger, songwriter, and folksong collector, daughter of musicologist charles Seeger and composer, educator, and folksong anthologist Ruth Crawford Seeger. Peggy learned piano, guitar, music theory, and transcription from her parents. With her brother mike Seeger , she learned banjo from a book written by their half-brother pete r. Seeger . She later became proficient on autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer, and English concertina. She made her first recording, Folk Songs of Courting and Complaint, while a student at Radcliffe College (1953–5). During the autumn of 1955, she studied at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. From 1956 to 1959 she traveled throughout Europe, the United States, Russia, and China before settling in England with folksinger, songwriter, and playwright Ewan MacColl [James Henry Miller] (1915–89), who became her musical partner, husband, and father of her children, Neill, Calum, and Kitty. With MacColl, she made more than 100 recordings of traditional Anglo-American ballads, political songs, love songs, work songs, and songs from literature. They frequently performed in folk clubs and concert halls, at festivals, on television, and in films. Seeger and MacColl felt that traditional music was a solid foundation on which the modern songwriter could build. They brought to their songwriting a political dimension, believing that folksongs represent the struggles of ordinary people whose lives are often ignored and whose creations are frequently slighted....