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Comptes rendusReviews

Ursula Kelly (producer). Mentioned in Song: Song Traditions of the Loggers of Newfoundland and Labrador. (St. John’s, NL: 2014, Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place. MMaP-CD08. Pp. 88, ISBN: 978-0-88901-464-0.)[Notice]

  • Janice Esther Tulk

…plus d’informations

  • Janice Esther Tulk
    Cape Breton University

This rich documentation, however, comes at a cost to functionality. The booklet is so thick that it does not fit into the DVD case in which the CD is presented. Consequently, the CD and booklet are easily separated by the user and are somewhat clumsy to store and transport. A CD sleeve inside the booklet (forgoing the DVD case altogether) might have been a better choice for this title (as was done with Bellows and Bows). The question of format – one that the series producers of Back on Track have discussed and debated many times over the past decade – was also raised in the mind of the reviewer when she attempted to find a way to play the CD to conduct the review given that her new laptop did not have an optical drive. Increasingly, technology is moving away from physical formats and it may be time for MMaP to consider alternatives (such as download codes with the sale of booklets). Considering the level of documentation contained in the booklet, it was surprising to the reviewer that lyrics were not provided for all vocal tracks. Perhaps the producer thought that the last two tracks were so well known that transcriptions were not necessary; however, the reviewer was not familiar with “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” and would have appreciated a transcription to follow while listening. Musical transcriptions would improve the usability of the resource, as would commentary on performance practice (for example, the way that traditional singers often speak the last line of a song). Further, some engagement with the possible sources of tunes would have been helpful. “The Peelwood Song,” for example, bears a striking resemblance to the traditional tune “Sarah” (particularly lines b and c of text), but there is no discussion of whether it is possible some of these “locally composed” (p.6) songs are new lyrics set to traditional tunes. Connecting the curated content of Mentioned in Song to broader song traditions and performance practices in this way would have strengthened the end product. These practical considerations and minor criticisms aside, Mentioned in Song does an admirable job of curating a collection dedicated to loggers’ song traditions in Newfoundland and Labrador. It shines light on expressive culture related to an important industry in the province, while also demonstrating the living nature of folksinging traditions in the province by including both archival and contemporary recordings on one CD. Mentioned in Song makes a valuable contribution to the study of folksong, occupational folklore, and folk life of Newfoundland and Labrador.