I think unaccompanied choirs are often ignored in non-classical 78rpm record collecting – they lack solo instrumental virtuosity, they tend not to be “raw,” and instead appear to be, at least on the surface, overly influenced by religion and/or western harmonic concepts. Even the choir records I have from Africa are probably less desirable, simply because they display the formality of a choir. Perhaps they are avoided for the same reason one might avoid records of British folk songs sung by a Folk Song Society.
While all these reasons are valid and make me ruminate far more intensely than I should, I actually enjoy a lot of choir music. It’s still folk music, and I just can’t seem to get rid of it, as I find unaccompanied folk singing to be sort of a wonderful act. Recently, a friend graciously gave me a stack of early Lithuanian records. I ended up discarding nearly all of the 30 or so records – except for the folk song choirs! Which were all recorded poorly on Columbia Records in the 19-teens. Totally unsaleable records! He must have pegged me as an easy mark.
I think of Ian Nagoski’s choice of including a recording of a Handel piece on piano smashed between 78s from Vietnam and Greece on his Black Mirror CD. Such seemingly radical sequencing suits me just fine – I believe there should be more of it, but maybe that’s the academic anti-academic taking hold. However, interconnectivity exists wherever you seek to find it. And maybe you’ll find something, as I did, in this Lithuanian Folk Song, recorded acoustically (and distantly) by Columbia in New York City ca. 1917, and performed by Brooklyn’s own Įdainavo Karalienes Aniolu Parapijos Choras. I had some difficulty translating the title, but I believe it’s something to the effect of “Dogs Barking on the Farm.”
And if you enjoyed my December post on son huasteco music, Chimatli has a wonderful, media-filled post on the music. Check it out here!
Issue Number: E3290
Matrix Number: 44619