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Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?

GUEST,Kevin 02 Mar 07 - 08:33 AM
manitas_at_work 02 Mar 07 - 08:37 AM
greg stephens 02 Mar 07 - 08:57 AM
MBSLynne 02 Mar 07 - 09:05 AM
leeneia 02 Mar 07 - 09:09 AM
greg stephens 02 Mar 07 - 09:14 AM
Alec 02 Mar 07 - 09:14 AM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 07 - 09:18 AM
greg stephens 02 Mar 07 - 09:18 AM
Mark Ross 02 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM
kendall 02 Mar 07 - 09:46 AM
Grab 02 Mar 07 - 10:18 AM
Scoville 02 Mar 07 - 10:46 AM
Suffet 02 Mar 07 - 12:25 PM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 12:30 PM
Grab 02 Mar 07 - 12:32 PM
Scoville 02 Mar 07 - 12:32 PM
Scoville 02 Mar 07 - 12:45 PM
Nancy King 02 Mar 07 - 02:04 PM
Suffet 02 Mar 07 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 02 Mar 07 - 06:03 PM
Mo the caller 03 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM
Mo the caller 03 Mar 07 - 05:52 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Mar 07 - 05:59 PM
wysiwyg 03 Mar 07 - 10:14 PM
Suffet 04 Mar 07 - 01:21 PM
greg stephens 04 Mar 07 - 01:39 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Mar 07 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Black Hawk 05 Mar 07 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Seiri Omaar 05 Mar 07 - 11:33 AM
Bernard 05 Mar 07 - 11:40 AM
Deskjet 05 Mar 07 - 12:19 PM
Sherbs 05 Mar 07 - 05:22 PM
Scrump 06 Mar 07 - 07:56 AM
leeneia 06 Mar 07 - 09:15 AM
Greg B 06 Mar 07 - 03:17 PM
Teribus 07 Mar 07 - 12:11 PM
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Subject: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: GUEST,Kevin
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:33 AM

Dear Mudcatters, hope you can help - I've looked on the forums but can't find exactly what I'm after.

I am an amateur folkie who also does a certain amount of youth work. Normally, I keep my love of guitar playing and folk music in general away from the youngsters (10-15) - I'm wary of inflicting my enthusiasms on them and seeming 'sad'.

However, last year a group of 10 year old were absolutely enthralled by 'Sir Patrick Spens' (they caught me singing at the campfire after I thought they were safely in bed..). Now it wasn't my playing or singing, it was 'the story'. And they insisted on more! (Hope they didn't tell their parents about the plot line of Matty Groves). And I thought, perhaps we can do more to get young people interested in folk or traditional music.

So how about a list of 5-6 songs, that you reckon are strong enough to enthrall/enchant/knock sideways the most blase/cynical 10-16 year olds. Not children's songs, but songs that can make people say 'I heard this folksong and it was great'. Songs that will stand up to less than perfect performances but still get the message across that this is a form of music worth investigating and listening to?

Many thanks in advance!


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:37 AM

Tam Lin
Matty Groves
Sheaf and Knife
Clerk SAunders
The twin Sisters
The Twa Corbies


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:57 AM

Historically, I suppose Lonnie Donegan's recording of Rock Island Line must have instantly turned more kids onto folksongs than any other. But that was then and this is now. Whether the song would work for today's teenagers is another story. Depends who sings it, of course.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:05 AM

Because my kids have grown up in the folk scene and most of the kids I know well are the children of folkie friends, it's hard for me to say...they love lots of it. My son (aged 16) is very keen on the comedy-type folk song....music Hall and that sort of thing. This last year or so he has made a bit of a name for himself at school for singing on request and, while the kids laughed at him to start with, they are all now learning the songs and will sing along with him. They seem to like the good easy chorus ones to join in to.

My 11 year old daughter has a leaning towards the sad and even macabre. She sings "The Unquiet Grave" which usually goes down well, though she's only sung it to other folk-kids.

Try asking some kids of the right age who are already into folk what they like

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:09 AM

1. A song that tells a story, preferably with a happy ending. Kids want to know ways to cope with the world, not ways to be another victim.

2. Songs that deal with things they can understand. When I was a child, I was much more pleased with "Mockingbird Hill" "Ah, lovely meadows" and "The Ash Grove" than in the songs of love and unrequited love that were on the radio. Birds and trees made a lot more sense. (Still do, basically.)

3. Variety in music - move from major to minor, fast to slow, lyrical to stompy.

4. Be sure to include choruses so they can sing along.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:14 AM

leenia: not sure about your happy endings. What I loved when I was a lad was Stockolee gunning down Billy De Lyons so callously. Or Lord Barnard's cutting off his wife's head and kicking it against the wall. maybe it's a boy/girl thing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Alec
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:14 AM

Though some dispute its entitlement to the title "Folk Song" in my experience most children love "The Lambton Worm". (It's in the D.T.)


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:18 AM

I found "The Cutty Wren" went down great with some slightly younger kids once. Particularly the bit about big hatchets and cleavers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:18 AM

Alec: excellent choice. Kids love attempting the dialect. Especially if the singer is really good at saying "grew and grew and grew" with the correct speech defect r's.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM

Lately I have been playing music at a Headstart school here in Eugene, Oregon. These are kids 3 to 5 years old. So I don't know if this applies. Kids that age seem to really like repetition. And anything that involves physical movement. I played them THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately the supervisor later informed me that any mention of cigarets, whiskey, and jail was not acceptable, So I haven't sung the song since. Of course there is one kid who asks for it every time.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:46 AM

Mrs. Ravoon


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Grab
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:18 AM

It's a recitation not a song, but "Cecil was a caterpillar" is a classic for younger kids. But the lisp is compulsory! "Thethil wath a caterpillah, Thethil wath my fwend..."

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Scoville
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:46 AM

Second "Big Rock Candy Mountain" even if you have to substitute some words--I think we used to sing "lollipop" for "cigarette" and things like that just to keep the protective types happy.

My brother and I were sold on "Jesse James" and "Captain Kidd" as they appear on the New Golden Ring recordings--not too long, they involve outlaws, and they have active story lines and fairly lively tunes. I don't know what a good UK equivalent would be--maybe "Brennan on the Moor" instead of "Jesse James".

"A Fox Jumped Up On a Chilly Night" is also a pretty good one; it's about animals and has some repetitive lines that kids could learn quickly and join in.

"Aiken Drum", "Elmer and the Bear", and "Tell My Ma" also come to mind.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Suffet
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:25 PM

Greetings:

I have found that children of all ages respond really well to Freedom songs, and by all ages I mean from toddlers up through teens. You may have to shorten the songs and be careful in selecting verses when working with younger children, and you have to be prepared to take in stride the changes they will make.

Here are some songs that work particularly well:

[I Woke Up This Morning With My Mind] Set On Freedom. I just performed this with a class of about twenty-five high school freshmen, one of whom started singing "with my mind set on sleeping." I laughed and told her "very clever," before getting the class refocused.

Oh, Freedom. I usually sing the refrian this way: "And before I'll be a slave, I'll see Jim Crow in its grave, and fight for the right to be free." You might also want to try: "And before I'll be a slave, I'll see slavery in its grave, and fight for the right to be free."

[You Gotta] Do What the Spirit Says Do.

I Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round.

This Little Light of Mine.

You Can't Make Me Doubt It.

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle,
but with younger children you may find the lyrics to be too depressing, so instead of singing "Some say that freedom is a constant dying" or "constant sorrow" or "constant mourning," sing "Some say that freedom is a constant loving" or "constant hugging" or "constant friendship."

Then, of course, there is always We Shall Overcome. I get everyone to form a circle, crossing one's own hands in front before taking each neighbor's hand.

And finally, there is Siyahamba, the South African Freedom song. I usually change "We are marching in the Light of God" to "We are marching in the Light of Peace," unless the kids already know it the original way.

Best of luck.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:30 PM

Second "Big Rock Candy Mountain" even if you have to substitute some words--I think we used to sing "lollipop" for "cigarette" and things like that just to keep the protective types happy.

Tsk! Lollipops are over 95% sugar and very bad for children's teeth and it's highly irresponsible to encourage eating them.


:-)

...I'll get me coat.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Grab
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:32 PM

Steve, you might have problems getting a bunch of 10-16-year-olds to hold hands in a circle. I know when I was in Scouts, it would have taken physical violence to get us to do that...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Scoville
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:32 PM

Carrot stick, then.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Scoville
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:45 PM

We were always forced to sing "Magic Penny", which I have never liked but I know a lot of kids who did.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Nancy King
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 02:04 PM

I agree with Kendall -- Mrs. Ravoon (here in the DT) is creepy, gruesome, and also somehow funny. Young teens will love it.

I have discovered very recently, however, that it makes for a very annoying earworm. Thanks a bunch, Kendall...


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Suffet
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 02:07 PM

Greetings:

Graham wrote: Steve, you might have problems getting a bunch of 10-16-year-olds to hold hands in a circle. I know when I was in Scouts, it would have taken physical violence to get us to do that...

Well, maybe so and maybe not. It all depends upon your ability to read the dynamics of the audience. If you have a bunch of teenies surrounded by their own buddies and they are intentionally trying to be contrary, you are right. Don't even try. But if you have a mixed age audience with some really younger kids in it, you would be surprised how gentle and helpful those same persnickitty teens can become.

Also, I would never dive right into holding hands and singing We Shall Overcome. But after five, six, maybe ten other Freedom songs, the time might just be right. If it isn't, then sing Move On Over Or We'll Move On Over You instead. That's a song with special appeal for that age group.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 06:03 PM

Dear 'Guest, Kevin',

I am absolutely delighted that the kids at your camp were enthralled by ballads presented straight and not diluted, dumbed down or otherwise 'made more palatable' (I'm sure your singing is very palatable!).
I first encountered folk songs at junior school (aged about 9 or 10). I loved them because they were stories in song form - it appears that your 10 year olds feel the same.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM

I remember from my youth family singing
The Mermaid
The Golden Vanity.

If you want comedy there's
My Father was the Keeper of the Eddystone Light
Johnies' lost his Marble (is the correct dialect term Penker) - that may be suitable for the younger end of your age range.

Whisky in the Jar (Kilgarry Mountain) has a good story and a rousing chorus.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 05:52 PM

What was that thread we had last year on suitability of certain shanties for children. I can't find it now.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 05:59 PM

Fifteen year olds are at least fifteen years older than ten year olds. That's a big age span. I smile too, seeing how different the song lists are for the U.K. and the U.S. I wouldn't risk my life performing the U.K. songs for the most part, for U.S. kids 10-15. Over here, I find that many kids respond to the beat much more than the story. I got a big kick out of doing old folk songs at a street party one year, and seeing the young black kids get up and start dancing, and doing impromptu buck and wings to the music. They especially liked old country blues and black gospel, as long as it hada back beat.   

Toward the 10 year end of the age span here, I've found that kids love songs with violence. They especially like The Farmer's Curst Wife. One group came back the next year and one of the kids asked me to sing that song about the woman who split open a little devil's head with a hatchet.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 10:14 PM

Rather than join hands, yout' are fond of lifting an arm or fist in salute, in unison, or doing other body movements together.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Suffet
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 01:21 PM

Greetings:

I agree with Jerry about the appeal of songs having a beat. That's generally why I start with the Freedom songs that were adapted from Gospel songs, especially Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Set On Freedom, Do What the Spirits Says Do, Eyes On the Prize, I Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round, This Little Light of Mine, If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus, and You Can't Make Me Doubt It. Siyahamba also always works well. I find that I can then move to the slower, long meter songs, such as Oh Freedom, We Shall Overcome, and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle if the audience seems receptive.

I have also found that certain Woody Guthrie songs work well. Union Maid is almost always a winner, as is Hard Traveling, if I use the first stanza ("I've been a-having some hard traveling...") over and over again as a chorus, and if I cut the song down to no more than four other stanzas.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 01:39 PM

Given the choice of holding hands in a circle singing "We shall overcome", or having my eyeballs sandblasted while being given an enema by Dr Gillian McKeith....well let say the singing comes second.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 01:42 PM

Maybe you should just change the words to We Shall Underwhelm, Greg..
:-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 05:13 AM

Tex Ritter recorded a PC version of Big Rock Candy Mountain mentioning (if I remember correctly) lollipops, lemonade etc.

I'll find & post it if anyone shows interest!


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: GUEST,Seiri Omaar
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 11:33 AM

The Bonny Banks of Virgie-O is a good one... a kid I babysat who hated it when I sung fell in love with this song (what did we say about violence...). I used to sing Lord of the Dance with another kid; he was four and still picked up the chorus. Fun stuff.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Bernard
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 11:40 AM

Guest Kevin... it's obvious you've already got what it takes to hold their interest. It's probably as much your delivery as the content and quality of the song, if not more so.

Keep up the good work, lad!!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Deskjet
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 12:19 PM

Weela Weela Waila (aka There Was an Old Woman and She Lived in the Woods) - Hits the spot every time.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Sherbs
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 05:22 PM

I'd definately second The Mermaid as I can remember singing it with my brothers when I was a child and it was a huge favourite.

Other songs that I can remember singing and really enjoying included
The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies
The Streets of Laredo
High Barbary

and one that my two daughter loves now is Froggy Went A-Courting

and I think a lot of sea-shanties work because of the dynamic rhythm and energy you can put into them, plus they are often easy to pick up.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 07:56 AM

Given the choice of holding hands in a circle singing "We shall overcome", or having my eyeballs sandblasted while being given an enema by Dr Gillian McKeith....well let say the singing comes second.

I had no idea you were carrying a torch for Gillian, greg :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: leeneia
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 09:15 AM

"I've found that kids love songs with violence."

I suggest that people be careful about making assumptions like this. I was a kid, who, for reasons I won't go into, knew too much about violence. I hated violent songs. I still hate violent movies and TV.

I suspect that the kid who has never really been hurt, who doesn't know what real pain is, likes violent songs. But the child who has been hurt is probably looking at you and thinking "There's another person I can't trust."

I also suspect that the reason the kids like the grim old ballads is that they are responding to the deep, rich chords we usually put to them. If you listen to today's pop music, you will notice that those deep rich chords are absent. So a kid goes to camp and hears an adult strum beautiful Em's and Am's followed by a sweet singing C. Naturally he likes it! But he probably can't say why.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Greg B
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 03:17 PM

Leeneia...

So I guess 'Weela Wallia' is right out then? :-)

Take a look at the full Pete Seeger catalogue. A great wealth
of songs for children and other young people. Hey I was raised
on it!

The other thing that's great are the progressive songs, like
"Hole in the bottom of the sea" or "The Spring Down In the Valley."
Or circular stuff like "There's a Hole In the Bucket." Or really
hard-core humor, such as "The Sick Note."

For older kids, slightly off-color stuff like "Maids When You're
Young Never Wed an Old Man" or "The Clean Song" or the "Crayfish"
can be a lot of fun.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to enthral youngsters?
From: Teribus
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 12:11 PM

In the recent days of Lord of the Rings, Eragon, etc, Archie Fisher's "Witch of the Westmoorland" takes some beating in the story telling category.


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