Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pajamas Media: Is Stephen Colbert Making a Joke Out of this Election?

Pajamas Media: Is Stephen Colbert Making a Joke Out of this Election?


Dogwood Dell said...


Mac said...

Well yes. And more power to him.

Jason nSJ said...

Colbert should stop trying to make a joke out of this election.

After all, that field is already full with the other candidates.

Gashwin said...

Mac: what was that video about? Who're the Weavers?

Jason: The field is full of other jokers you mean? :) I think Colbert is tapping into some deep dissatisfaction with politics as it is.

Mac said...

The Weavers were the folk-singing group who got the folk revival under way in the 50s, though they were blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Their leader, Lee Hays, was the son of a Methodist minister in Little Rock, Arkansas and he grew up in the tradition of Sacred Harp Music -- which if you saw the movie "Cold Mountain" you will have heard in Donald Sutherland's church just before the call comes for all the men to go and join the Confederate forces. However, this is how expert harmonising came into the folk genre. (Hays and another of the Weavers, Pete Seeger, in fact wrote many of the standards of the 60s, not only in folk music but also in rock.) Hays died in 1981 but the surviving members reunited this year at the concert which is in the YouTube clip I sent: they sing "Oh sinner man" and dedicate it to "the man who brought the Bible back to the White House."

If you follow some of the links there you will also find their famous standards "Tsena, tsena, tsena" and "When the saints go marching in." I asked my Palestinian friend if Fred Hellerman and Ronnie Gilbert had satisfactorily taught Lee Hays and Pete Seeger how to pronounce the Hebrew in "Tsena." He said no, they sounded like "gringos," but that's how American Israelis sound too. (He found the singing as wonderful as I do though.)

Gashwin said...

Interesting. Can't be too Communist if they liked George Bush ... :)

I'm familiar with the sacred harp/shape-not singing tradition actually. It's beautiful stuff. In fact, many moons ago, a friend and I drove up to Spartanburg, SC and took part in a day-long shape-note sing-along.

My music collection, for whatever reason, has not expanded to include this genre. Must rectify.