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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WTF: What the Folk! Takes no Prisoners...

Happily... summer has arrived but sadly... you all know what that means. 

After June 23rd... WTF! will be on hiatus for two months but...

 ... to fill your hearts with an equal & lasting measure of musical joy...  

... we have invited Guest Hosts... 

The Haltown Stompers 

... who for some strange & twisted reason known only to them and their medical professionals have chosen to send us off on our summer adventures with the delightful theme of...


Even before Society's massive uptick of incarceration in the 80s - even before the phrase "War on Drugs" was coined in 1971 - the matter-of-fact portrayal of incarceration has been reflected in pop culture, namely music. You can find it as far back as Lead Belly's prison and work songs - ones that lament his own incarceration, Jim Crow-era treatment, poverty and existential malaise - in the 30s and 40s. 

There is an excellent BBC interview which reveals how Nelson Mandela used music to raise spirits among himself and his fellow inmates: touching grin-inducing anecdotes of how he and his fellow prisoners would sing the subversive workers' folk song 'Shosholoza' as they endured back-breaking shifts at the lime quarry, or how they would put on concerts every Christmas to boost morale. And an interview with Mandela's best friend Eddie Daniels reveals how he'd frequently treat everyone to renditions of the old Scottish song 'Bonny Mary of Argyle'. In prison there were subversive folk songs that they could sing and get away with and the music would resonate through the prison walls. *Abridged from various sources
Whether emanating from a prisoner of circumstance like Lead Belly... or a prisoner of conscience like Nelson Mandela... these simple prison songs are not just historically vital, but are among some of the most moving and beautiful songs you'll ever hear.

I Know Why The CagedBird Sings *  Maya Angelou 

I know that's all very esoteric and possibly confusing but I wanted you to consider that not all prisons are actual brick and mortar. You can be a prisoner of your own literal mind. Of course you can bring songs like Folsom Prison Blues, Midnight Special, Jailhouse Rock, etc. but I also wanted to encourage you to think outside the box (or in this case... cell :)

Xo Margo
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WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. 
Now in its 8th year, WTF!
 is primarily an acoustic unplugged open-mike session for performers of all ages in the traditional & folk music vein... singers, instrumentalists and storytellers in particular.

Co-hosted by the ever-jovial Cindy Campbell-Stone & Margo Carruthers with occasional guest hosts, WTF!
meets every second and fourth Friday of the month at Spencer House Community Centre, 5596 Morris Street in Halifax where sing-a-longs are known to spontaneously erupt and laughter is always a given. 

Come anytime after 6:30pm. Entertainment starts around 7:00
 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation 
towards the Society's work. All proceeds from the sale of baked goods and beverages from the Spencer House kitchen will go to help support the operation of Spencer House.