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Songcatcher, Old Time music, Appalachians mountains and cinema.

02-14-2022

This post is available in  French or  English.

Songcatcher, film et musique Old Time.
 Songcatcher, film et musique Old Time. 

The story takes the audience to the Appalachian mountains at the beginning of the 20th century, and follows a female musicologist who will later decide to record the local traditional repertoire.

Traditional music is really well presented in the movie. Iris Dement, Taj Mahal, Emmy Rossum and Hazel Dickens are part of the cast. Well, these are already two good reasonsto read more.

The audience is quickly immersed in Old Time music. The movie shows a real and obvious respect for this music, those who kept it alive long before it reached us, and for the hard lives they had, which were much harder than the ones with have today.

Within the span of one hour and forty five minutes, one can hear beautiful pieces of Old Time music and songs, with real musicians on screen, something that does not always happen in movies.

The tunes :

  • Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies,
  • Conversation With Death,
  • Down in a Willow Garden,
  • Johnnie Scott,
  • Leather Breetches,
  • Lord Randall,
  • Lord Thomas & Fair Ellinor,
  • Matthy Groves,
  • Old Joe Clark,
  • Pretty Saro,
  • Sally Goodin,
  • Silk Merchant Daughter,
  • Single Girl,
  • Soldier's Joy,
  • The Trooper and the Maid,
  • The Two Sisters,
  • Young Hunting,

And a superb "Barbara Allen" by Emmylou Harris during the credits.

Video : Iris Dement sings Prety Saro.

More on Iris Dement (Wikipedia).

Sur la galerie. On the porch. - Jam Hall
Sur la galerie. On the porch.
Musiciens lors d'un bal - Musicians for a barn dance. - Jam Hall
Musiciens lors d'un bal - Musicians for a barn dance.
Toute occasion pour chanter - any occasion for singing. - Jam Hall
Toute occasion pour chanter - any occasion for singing.

Although one may assume that this story recounts real events, it is a work of fiction. But it brings music and life together in such a natural way that it helps us understand how hard life could be in these mountains and times, and how songs and music could be part of life in so many ways, in loneliness or in a community alike.

Video : Emmy Rossum sings snipets of Mattie Groves and Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies.

Dulcimer des Appalaches - Appalachian dulcimer. - Jam Hall
Dulcimer des Appalaches - Appalachian dulcimer.
Enregistrer au début du XXe siècle - Recording in the 1900s. - Jam Hall
Enregistrer au début du XXe siècle - Recording in the 1900s.
Le bal - The dance. - Jam Hall
Le bal - The dance.

Maggie Greenwald is the writer and maker of Songcatcher. The movie first appeared on screen in 2000, but the media coverage in France was lacking. But it won the Public Award at the Deauville Festival.

Sheila Kay-Adams is credited three times in the movie : as banjo player during the barn dance, vocal coach for the crew and consultant for traditional baladery..

Banjo player Sheila Kay-Adams. - Jam Hall
Banjo player Sheila Kay-Adams.

Article rédigé par Ti' Pierre

Songcatcher on IMDB.

Songcatcher on Wikipedia.

Many thanks to Célia Chalfoun for checking the translation and for the corrections.

 

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