Murder Ballads
Sharyn Dimmick
Saturday, June 9, 2012, 5:00pm
Music 4 - Room #219

America and the British Isles have rich traditions of murder ballads. Some served as the tabloids of their day, telling people about the assassination of President James A. Garfield ("Charles Guiteau") or the death of a local girl ("Omie Wise"). Sharyn Dimmick hosts a song swap in which participants will recount murders in song until their time runs through the hourglass. Please come and sing a song, join in the chorus on "Banks of the Ohio," or listen to the sad tale of "Pretty Polly" and find out who done it. Sharyn will sing a ballad to start the swap, and then open the floor to other singers. This workshop is not for the squeamish as quite a lot of blood will be spilled.

Sharyn Dimmick has been fascinated by ballads since she first heard them on ten-inch records. She founded a Ballads group in Berkeley too long ago to count and encourages interested singers to contact Elaine Belkind at for information about the meeting schedule. Her 2009 music CD "Paris" features the murder of "Little Sadie" and the deaths of Sweet William and Barbara Allen, as well as the untold suffering of frail forms fainting at the door.