Oral Tradition: A Comparison of John Cohen’s “Gypsies Sing Long Ballads,” Rick Ward, and Alice Gerrard


Gabby Grace Brown (Appalachian State University)

This PowerPoint, with video and audio, is an examination of certain cross-cultural similarities of ballads and folksongs between the Scottish Highlands and the Appalachian region. A comparison of the songs sung by Scottish Gypsies (e.g. unaccompanied “The Two Brothers” song and solo step dancing), Appalachian banjo songster Rick Ward (“Pretty Polly”), as well as Alice Gerrard (“Boll Weevil”) reveal fundamental similarities that connect folk cultures oceans apart. This presentation emphasizes the importance of the preservation of folklife by spotlighting the singing and documentary efforts of folklorists and musicians like John Cohen, Alice Gerrard, Rick Ward, and the Gypsies.

Part of 22-07 Scotland to NC Mountain Community Values and Fears Inside Out in Literature, Ballads, Black Fiddler Dance Music, and Apprentices and Mentors (with media and music), Tuesday, October 19, 11:15 am–12:45 pm