For enthusiasts of early banjo
Dedicated to Sylvia, a fine banjo player and clog dancer!
Theories abound for who started clog dancing - North of England mill workers, Dutch cloggers, immigrants to Appalachia, even Blackfoot Indians. I'll keep out of that debate...
Here are nine clog dances from Albert Baur's 1883 publication (New York). Baur was a minstrel banjo player, who lost a leg in the civil war - no clog dancing for him, then. His book contains clogs, minstrel tunes, Irish tunes, and Gilbert and Sullivan song arrangements. See this thread here for a free copy of his book: http://www.banjohangout.org/topic/234521
These clogs dances are full of wild leaps, characteristic of the dance movements, I imagine. Despite being for wooden shoes, the titles give an indication of how graceful a good clog dancer could be: ''Neat and Graceful'', ''Aesthetic'', ''Light and Airy''. I play fingerstyle, but they can be played stroke or modern clawhammer style if that's your thing.
Can anyone fill in some background on the clog dance in your area?
PS Happy Birthday, Albert Baur!
Lovely playing Rob. Good to see you on the site - come back more often!
Good post....rich melodies. I love that stuff....the Baur book.
Hi Rob, Thank you, they really are catchy tunes. and I must work through them all. We do have a clog dancing group on the Island but the dances are imported from the mainland ie, the mill towns and the north of England. Some Morris Dancing teams wear clogs,some don't, the group I belong to does, and they are usually made to measure and cost in the region of £100. and BTW Last year we did have a Morris Team from America visit the Island, I believe they were from the New York area. Clogs came in very handy for walking on cobbled streets. It's also thought that tap dancing is a spin off from clog dancing.
Interesting, Sylvia! Just the stuff I was looking for. I hope this video will urge you to get stuck in to these quirky and interesting pieces.
Thanks to the guys for the other comments. Much appreciated.
Most excellent, Rob. These are great. "Too, Utterly Too" is one I've played thru in the past. A favorite!
In Ontario we still have what is called a clog hornpipe. (with a "pointed" rhythm) One of the old standards is called "Fred Wilson's Clog". I always wondered who Fred was. I guess he was the guy on the front of the music sheet you posted. Thanks, now I know. Fiddle players (and others) play them about the way you play the faster ones here. Step dancers (with taps - not wooden shoes) do very syncopated steps to them. Ontario stepdancing is a mixture of Irish, English, African American and Scottish steps. A real gumbo. Nice to hear from you again Rob.
Here's what I was talking about -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUZ_uuYy6-A
Here's an even better example of a clog, along with a jig and reel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDonSfOxl-U Donnie Gilchrist was a brilliant old-school Ontario stepdancer who would have learned these steps in the 30s and 40s. The late, great Graham Townsend on the fiddle. Sorry about the outfits - it was the 80s!
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