Tuesday, 01 January 2008
Over 150 years ago, famed British musicologist Cecil Sharp lamented the spread of the railroad system because increased transportation and mixing of regional populations would wipe out the distinctive flavors of folk music that belonged to each community. Of course, Sharp was absolutely correct, as by the middle of the 20th Century British folk music had become the sole providence of song collectors and ethnomusicologists, and the further spread of radio, home stereos and television wiped out whatever folk music variants remained in industrialized countries. In the United States, only those isolated communities – many of them in Appalachian Mountains and in the rural south – retained their unique musical languages. And while Alaska certainly isn’t free of the forms of media that eradicated the folk tradition, it’s far enough off the beaten path that a group of young musicians ...