Kalamazoo Lively Arts – Hazeltree Consort

Kalamazoo Lively Arts – Hazeltree Consort


But first, we sit down
with traditional singer Ginny Shilliday at a rehearsal
for Hazeltree Consort who she regularly performs with. Let’s take a look at
this unique music group found here in Kalamazoo. (singing variation of
“The Lass of Roch Royal”) ♪ Oh who will shoe
my barney feet ♪ And who will love my heart ♪ Who will kiss my rosy cheeks ♪ When you’re afar out land ♪ Your pa will shoe
your barney feet ♪ Your ball will tell your hand ♪ And I will kiss
your rosy cheeks ♪ When I come back again – So your art is your voice. Let’s talk about that. When did you know you
could sing pretty good? – Well the story is I
was singing in the crib. I can’t vouch for that. I don’t remember that. But I heard that when
the singing stopped, oh, the baby’s asleep. – Would you have come
maybe from parents who might have wanted
their baby to sing? – I did. Well, both my parents
were very musical. My mother studied piano
for about eight years. And she was a good singer. And my father was a
concert violinist. So I grew up in a home where
music was taken seriously and well-supported. – You begin a
recognize a talent. Did you study this music? – I did. I mean, I always loved singing. And I can remember
writing down in notebooks lyrics to songs that I loved, that I’d heard that I loved. And some of them were old songs. Which is what I kind
of specialize in now. Very, very old songs. Not pop songs, the way that teenagers will
copy the lyrics of pop songs. Very old songs. ♪ And I love his company ♪ Are you keen on
heaven, he cried – I guess I’ll
call you “maestra.” Maestro! You’re gonna teach me
how to do what you do? – Sure. This is the “Two
Sisters”, it’s easy. There are several
repeated lines. Just sing along. – Okay, you go first?
– Sure. – Here we go. ♪ There were two
sisters side by side ♪ Sing aye dum, sing aye day ♪ There were two
sisters side by side ♪ The boys are bound for me – Okay, stop there. So, you want me to sing
the “Sing aye down”? – Yep.
– Okay, let’s try that. – Everything that’s
bold and italicized, you sing that part. As long as you have the
melody in your head. – Okay, so I’ll sing along
with you on this one. – Okay.
– Okay. – So where do you sing? – I sing mostly with Hazeltree, and we do concerts. We do weddings, we
do anniversaries. We do private house concerts. For example, if you wanted
to have a Christmas party and to do something
kind of different, you might invite 20
to 50 of your friends and ask us to come
and give a concert for your friends in
your living room. A very intimate exchange
with the audience, and then later we show them
how the instruments are played and what they are, and there’s a chance
for question and answer. You’d be surprised
how approachable
traditional music is. – What’s traditional music? – Well, when I say traditional, you might get different answers
depending on who you ask. But traditional music
is kind of a genre of folk music, I would suppose. It’s songs that go back
hundreds, hundreds, hundreds of years. Some of the oldest ballads
were first written down in the 13th century. There are songs that don’t
have a known composer exactly, they just sort of arose
out of the census communice of the population. You’ll find variants of
them in different countries. Like a Scottish ballad, like, there’s a very famous
one, “The Two Sisters”, and it’s this terrible,
awful story about an older sister and
a younger sister, and the same man
courts them both. And they both like
the same fella. – Oh, this is sounding
soap-operay-ish. – Yes, it is! Well, that’s life. He tends to favor
the younger sister. So the older sister plots a
way to kill her younger sister to have the suitor for herself. The younger sister’s
body, she’s drowned, in all the story she’s drowned, she’s pushed into deep
water and she drowns, and she begs her
sister to save her, and she doesn’t do it. So the body washes
downstream, it comes on, it’s a bit gruesome, but it
comes onshore eventually, and either a harper
or a fiddler, depending on the variant, finds her and turns the young
girl’s body into a harp. Uses her long yellow
hairs as the harp strings, and her breastbone
as part of the harp, and travels around with her
in the land, performing. Of course, well, meanwhile,
this family has no idea what happened to the
younger daughter. Eventually, the harp
or the fiddle shows up in the grand hall where the
parents and the family live. And the instrument all
by itself begins to play and sing the song of
how it is murdered. And the older sister is
found out to be the murderer. So it’s quite a story. ♪ Ask me, I see for thee ♪ You’re not the last of us ♪ Sing aye dum You wanna start
at the beginning? – Start right at the
“There were two sisters”. ♪ There were two
sisters side by side ♪ Sing aye dum, sing aye day ♪ There were two
sister side by side ♪ The boys are bound for me ♪ There were two
sister side by side ♪ The eldest for
young Johnny cried ♪ “I’ll be true unto my love, ♪ “If he’ll be true to me” – Let me read that. “I’ll be true unto my love,
if he’ll be true to me”. – Excellent! You’re a natural.
– All right, what’s next? ♪ Johnny bought the
youngest to be for hut ♪ Sing aye dum, sing aye day ♪ Johnny bought the
youngest to be for hut ♪ The boys are bound for me ♪ Johnny bought the
youngest to be for hut ♪ The eldest didn’t
think much of that ♪ I’ll be true unto my love ♪ If he’ll be true to me – Why how was that?
– Great! – Okay?
– Yeah! You did great, you’re hired.
– Well thank you very much. (both laughing) Is storytelling part of
what Hazeltree’s about? – I think it is. This is the collection
of Francis Child, who was a great song
collector, mid 19th century. It’s the trad singer’s bible, or the trad musician’s bible. And, you can look, and
it’s really curious, like if I were to
show it to you, you would suddenly realize,
“Gee, looking at this “I can’t actually
read those words”, and it’s because
the written version is actually from
the 13th century, so the words that you’re
reading are Middle English. So some of them
are terribly old. – Okay, phew! Hey, what did we just do? – Well, you know, when
we were talking about the older sister killing
off the younger sister, this is a contemporary,
blessedly shorter version of that ballad. – “There were two
sisters side by side”, what does this mean? – “Sing aye dum, sing aye day”. It’s a form of really of
lilting, of mouth music that is filler for the verse. You do a little like
“shoobie doobie doo”, it’s kind of like the old
version of that, to fill in. – And then the theme, “I’ll
be true unto my love!” “If he’ll be true to me!”
– “If he’ll be true to me!” And, you know, we find
out, if you won’t, oo, what happens! – Thank you very much.
– You’re welcome, thank you! ♪ Oo, oo, lo, lo, lo – [Narrator] Support for
Kalamazoo Lively Arts is provided by the Irving
S. Gilmore Foundation, helping to build and
enrich the cultural life

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