Traditional Scottish & English Ballads
Sharyn Dimmick and Sadie Damascus
Although ballads are sung throughout Europe,
Australia and the Americas, this year's traditional ballad workshop
features narrative songs from
the oral traditions of Scotland and England. These songs often exist
in multiple versions -- both tunes and words may vary: what binds a particular
ballad together is its story. Sadie Damascus and Sharyn Dimmick, who
have sung ballads since childhood, will talk briefly about these songs,
sing a couple of them for you and then listen avidly as you share your
ballads with us. Attendees may come prepared to sing a traditional ballad,
chime in on refrains or just listen as the stories unfold. We welcome
ballads with refrains so that everybody gets a chance to sing. Dust off
your version of "Fennario" or "Lord Randal," or wow
us all with the rarely heard "Gil Brenton."
If a two-hour ballad workshop is not enough for you,
please consider joining our ballad group. The group meets once a month
in Berkeley for
the purpose of singing ballads and covers a wider scope of material than
this workshop. While we limit our singing to traditional material (songs
with no known author), members of the ballad group have been known to
sing in Yiddish and German and to belt out Afro-American blues ballads.
Email us about the next meeting at email@example.com
Sharyn Dimmick founded the ballad group in Berkeley
too many years ago to count. Her 2009 CD "Paris" includes the classic ballad "Barbara
Allen" sung to a well-known North Carolinian tune, and the murder
ballad "Little Sadie." She learned much of her large repertory
of ballads from phonographic recordings, but is delighted to sing them
live with other singers.
Sadie Damascus grew up hearing ballads on records, mainly, in rural
Vermont. She collects new and different versions of lots of ballads,
and delights in synopsizing the story before singing it, to enhance understanding.
She lives on the Russian River, where she copy-edits, grows herbs, and
reads stories Sunday nights on Radio KGGV (streaming at www.kggvfm.org).