26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs by Greg Vandy, Daniel Person

By Greg Vandy, Daniel Person

In 1941, Woody Guthrie wrote 26 songs in 30 days—including classics like “Roll On Columbia” and “Pastures of Plenty”—when he was once employed by way of the Bonneville strength management to advertise the advantages of reasonable hydroelectric energy, irrigation, and the Grand Coulee Dam. Timed to have a good time the seventy fifth anniversary of this venture, KEXP DJ Greg Vandytakes readers contained in the strange partnership among one in all America’s nice folks artists and the government, and exhibits how the yankee people revival used to be a reaction to demanding times.

26 Songs In 30 Days plunges deeply into the ancient context of the time and the revolutionary politics that embraced Social Democracy in the course of an period within which the U.S. were significantly struggling with the good melancholy. And although this can be a musical historical past of a colourful American musical icon and a particular a part of the rustic, it couldn’t be a greater reminder of ways undying and expansive such issues are in today’s political discourse.

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Extra info for 26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest

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This was the mental, musical and social context in which this work took place, and which needed to be respected. I might have ignored this uncomfortable and rather threatening context. I am an experienced music therapist, head of a music therapy training programme: am I not ‘supposed to know’ what to do? I might have, instead, imposed a persuasive practice of performance. Here, I might quite easily have shifted the group towards making music differently, making different music, or making music more often.

There seems to be no choice about singing other songs. TOWARDS RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE PRACTICE 39 The way that the women begin (and end) songs adds to my questioning of my role and my professional skills. As a music therapist, I am not ‘needed’ for musicking to happen. Anyone begins a song – and within microseconds, it is taken up by all. The person who starts the song remains the ‘soloist’ or leader, responsible for how the song is sung, and when it ends. Also, over the three days, I begin to recognize the beginning of the song’s ending – there is a minute shift in intensity, and a gradual winding down.

Thembalethu trains home-based care-workers and also oversees home-based care for hundreds of persons who are ill at home, as well as HIV/AIDS orphans who often need help in managing their households. The work was part of a community arts project set up by the Dedel’ingoma Theatre Company, which is committed to developing a community arts model in disadvantaged communities across South Africa. 1 We arrive at Thembalethu hot and thirsty, nauseous from the anti-malaria medication, and late. We are taken to the case conference in the pre-fab building, in which are seated around 70 women, in rows behind tables.

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