This lecture/demonstration gives New York State residents a compelling window into the self-made entertainment of their ancestors by drawing a direct parallel with the contemporary local-foods movement. In the days before electronic media (and sometimes well after), New Yorkers made their own music just as they provided for their own food. And, as often as not, this music was “locally sourced,” coming from just around the corner rather than around the world. Songs were learned from neighbors, coworkers, elders in the community, grandparents, and were passed down through the generations. Once the phonograph and the radio come into the home (or the commercial food industry expands), the need to do this diminishes greatly, and over time, a long-held tradition with a grand sense of place all but disappears.
Why don’t we know anything about this heritage here in New York? Was the repertoire truly “local” and unique, and if so, what did it sound like? Join musician and teaching artist Dave Ruch for a richly researched and interactive program exploring New York’s “heirloom music.” This presentation is suited for adult audiences of any size. Participatory, with multimedia component including images and field recordings from Ruch’s research.