Sunday, February 10, 2008
'Rise Up Singing,' UU-style, in the New York Times.
Today's New York Times dedicates lots of space to Pete Seeger, the Rise Up Singing folk music songbook, and "community sings" — often hosted by Unitarian Universalist churches. Music journalist Ben Ratliff, who is currently traveling around the country writing about "pop music outside the commercial mainstream," visits the community sing at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, Mich. (Oddly, the Times copyeditors call it a "Universalist Unitarian" church, of which there are some, just not in East Lansing.) Here's a bit from the story featuring Seeger:
If there is a natural opposite to gold-plated pop irony and faceless file sharing — music as the American majority knows it in 2008 — this is it. These meetings are earnest, participant directed and person to person: a slow-going, folkish appreciation of American vernacular culture.
Much of this impulse descends from Pete Seeger, who has championed the cause of group-singing for more than 60 years. "No one can prove a damn thing," Mr. Seeger said in a recent interview, "but I think that singing together gives people some kind of a holy feeling. And it can happen whether they're atheists, or whoever. You feel like, 'Gee, we're all together.'"
Although I think I'm just too young to have developed a taste for these events myself, every UU church I've been part of has hosted a community sing, a folk-music coffeehouse, or both. (My tastes in singing run off in the classical/sacred music direction.) But I share the passion of these fine crunchy folks for singing in a group.
So, dear Philocritics, are you a hymn singer, a choir member, a folkie, a campfire singer, or a dedicated community sing-goer? What are your favorite songs for singing in a group?
("Shared song, communal memory," Ben Ratliff, New York Times 2.10.08)
Copyright © 2008 by Philocrites | Posted 10 February 2008 at 6:03 PM