Singing in a dialect and "Authentic pronunciation" (UNCLASSIFIED)

Eric Nielsen ericbarnak at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 10 07:03:11 UTC 2010

The pure sonic power of good music can attract across many
boundaries--cultural, social, economic, racial. But many singers don't
realize how foolish sounding or even insulting they can be when attempting
to copy the voice of their musical heroes.

Personally, I like best those singers who when performing songs from other
musical traditions retain something of their own voice. I absolutely love
listening to Josh White's versions of "Barbara Allen" and "Foggy, Foggy
Dew". Even as much as I love to hear June Tabor or Kate Rusby sing songs
from the same tradition.

But Florence Henderson singing Hank Williams, uh.........


> My wife, a fan of "new" music, has just brought to my attention a
> recently-discovered, 29-year-old, white singer who is greatly praised
> by random white music critics because, it is written, he is considered
> to possess "the voice of a fifty-year-old, black bluesman!"
> Do y'all white folks have *any* kind of idea, the *least* concept, of
> how much it sucks donkey dick for colored folks to have to spend their
> lives hearing and reading how *great* it is that some *white* person
> has, in some way, trained himself/herself to be, in some way,
> niggerish, whereas the people who are such by birthright are despised,
> distrusted, ridiculed, and even feared?
> --
> -Wilson
> –––
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> –Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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