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Collections - MF 039 Traditional Music of Maine Project

MF 039 Traditional Music of Maine Project Collection

Number of accessions: 34
Dates when interviews were conducted: 1987-1991
Principal interviewers: Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen
Finding aides: partial transcripts
Access restrictions: NA 2256
Description: Field recordings made primarily by Jeffrey “Smokey” Mckeen for use in developing a series of radio programs devoted to traditional music in Maine. The collection includes 37 cassette recordings of interviews with 44 individuals in addition to performances. The programs were later packaged and released by the Maine Folklife Center as a series of four cassettes entitled “Traditional Music of Maine, Vols. 1 – 4.”

Traditional Music of Maine celebrates the musical legacies of a variety of Maine folk communities by exploring their cultural and historical significance through oral history interviews with musicians and other community members. The tapes introduce the general public to the remarkable diversity and vitality of Maine’s musical traditions. Originally developed as a radio series for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, the project was funded by grants from the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Community Foundation. This series consists of four cassette tapes containing a total of eight half-hour programs documenting Maine’s rich, traditional musical heritage.

Program themes included: Songs of the Maine Lumberwoods; Music of the Maine Grange; Swedish Music of Aroostook; Music of Maine’s Finnish Communities; Slavic Music of the Lower Kennebec; Acadian Music of the St. John Valley; Pioneers of Maine Country Music; and Songs of the Passamaquoddy. To date, no accessions have been specifically linked to the last three program themes. Topics discussed in the interviews include: life in lumber camps; working in the lumberwoods; working on river drives; transition from river driving to using trucks to haul logs; the Maine Grange; changing role of the Grange in Maine life; immigration; and the Swedish and Russian communities in Maine. Interviewees sing traditional songs; and play the harmonica; piano; concertina; mandolin; and other instruments.

 
2028 Noel “Jack” Tomer, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, winter 1988, Greenville, Maine. 16 pp. Tape: 1 1/2 hrs. w/ rough trans. Tomer, a 93 year old Maliseet Indian, talks about his experiences as a Maine Guide, river driver, and musician; recollections of playing in Francis’ Famous Orchestra. Tomer also plays selections on the mandolin, Jew’s harp, harmonica, and penny whistle. Lots of MUSIC. Text: rough transcript. Recording: C 0507, CD 2119.1 1 1/2 hours.

2029 Fritjof Jacobson, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, spring 1988, Westmanland, Maine. 14 pp. Tape: 45 min. approx. w/ rough trans. Jacobson, retired potato farmer, talks about the music and traditions of the Swedish communities in Aroostook County, Maine. Mr. Jacobson plays several selections on the fiddle accompanied by son Jake on the guitar. LOTS OF MUSIC. Text: rough transcript. Recording: C 0508 / CD 2120 45 min. approx.

2095 Walfred Hamari, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen and Ernie Freeberg, winter 1988, South Paris, Maine. Tape: 1 1/2 hr. w/partial trans. 19 pp. Hamari talks about Finnish communities in Oxford Co. and the U. P. of Michigan; songs sung by Walfred accompanied by Doc Tikander. LOTS OF MUSIC. Text: partial transcript. Recording: C 0628 CD 2121, C629 CD 2145 1 1/2 hour.

2116 Jorma Ranta, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen and Ernie Freeberg, winter 1987, Freedom, Maine. Tape: 1 hr. w/trans. Ranta discussing the music of Finnish community of Monson and 35 years as accordion player for the dances at the Finnish Farmers Club. Some accordion music played. Text: 5 pp. total: 3 pp. transcript for side 1 only. Recording: C 0654, CD 2122 1 hour.

2117 Maila Korsman, Anna Lee Libby, and Signe Ranta, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen and Ernie Freeberg, winter 1988, Monson, Maine. Tape: 1 hr. w/ trans. Korsman and Libby talk about the early days of the Monson Finnish community and Finnish Farmers Club. Also interview with Ranta. No music. Text: 1 pp. index, 15 pp. transcript. Recording: C 0655, CD 2144 1 hour.

2118 Maila Korsman, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen and Ernie Freeberg, winter 1988, Monson, Maine. Tape: 1 hr. w/ trans. Korsman talk about Finnish community in Monson. No Music. Text: 1 pp. index, 16 pp. transcript. Recording: C 0656, CD 2146 1 hour.

2119 Martha Viik, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen and Ernie Freeberg, winter 1988, Monson, Maine. Tape: 1 hr. w/trans. Viik talks about growing up in Monson as the child of Finnish immigrants; traditions of the Finnish community; language; school; food; music; and dance. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0657, CD 0987 1 hour.

2232 Jim Cahill, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Moscow, Maine. 15 pp. Tape: 65 minutes with transcript. Cahill talks about living in the woods camps as a boy with his family; working in the woods camps as a boy with his family; working in the woods on the drives on the Kennebec. Some MUSIC. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0862, CD 2147 65 minutes.

2233 Eddie Rollins, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Moscow, Maine. 13 pp. Tape: 40 minutes approx. with transcript. Rollins, who worked in the woods and on river drives as a young man in the upper Kennebec area, sings on the tape songs such as: “Spring of 65,” The Red River Shore,” “Hungry Hash House,” “Peter Emberley,” and several others. LOTS OF MUSIC. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0863, CD 2148 40 minutes approx.

2234 Linwood Brown, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Alexander, Maine. 16 pp. Tape: 45 minutes with transcript. Brown worked in the woods and on river drives as a young man in the upper Kennebec area. Text: 1 pp. index, 38 pp. transcript. Recording: C 0864 – C 0865, CD 0938 – CD 0941 45 minutes.

2235 Joseph Walker, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Fort Fairfield, Maine. 26 pp. Tape: 145 minutes with transcript. Walker talks about life in the lumbercamps as a young man; his mother working as camp cook; working on St. John River and Chiemticook Stream. Lots of Music! Text: transcript. Recording: C 0866.1, C 0866.2, CD 2149 145 minutes.

2236 Calvin Hafford, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Allagash, Maine. 14 pp. Tape: 45 minutes with transcript. Hafford, who worked in the woods around the St. John and Allagash Rivers, describes the work and the lifestyle and sings several songs. Music on recording. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0867, CD 2150 45 minutes. Songs: Shanty Boys, Wild Winds that Crossed, Androscoggin Shore.

2237 Frank Dowling, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Machias, Maine. 11 pp. Tape: 1 with transcript. Dowling talks about life in the woods; the camps around the Machias River and Grand Lake Stream; teaching school; and working for the Maine Central Railroad. No music. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0868, CD 2151.

2238 Newell Beam, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Machias, Maine. 23 pp. Tape: 1 with transcript. Beam discusses lumbering on the Machias; the song “Jam on Gerry’s Rock,” and sings it. Lots of music. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0869, CD 2152. Songs: Shanty Boys,
Old Arm Chair (not to be confused w/ Old Rocking Chair), is Fogarty’s Christmas Cake (funny), “The Silvery Colorado,” Recitation of “French farmer from Canada.”

2239 Perlie McLaughlin, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, West Enfield, Maine. 14 pp. Tape: 1 with transcript. McLaughlin talks about river-driving on Schoodic Stream, and woods work around the Millinocket area. No music, though a recitative of “The touch of the masters hand.” Text: transcript. Recording: C 0870, CD 2153.

2240 David Calder, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Skowhegan, Maine. 13 pp. Tape: 1 with transcript. Calder discusses the last years of riverdriving; the transition to using trucks for hauling; worked for the Kennebec Log Driving Company; sings “The Last Drive.” Text: transcript. Recording: C 0871, CD 2154. Track: “The Last Drive.”

2241 Lester White, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, East Andover, Maine. Tape: 2 with no transcript. White plays the harmonica and discusses working in the woods. Lots of music. Text: no transcript. Recording: C 0872 – C 0873, CD 0929, CD 0930.

2242 Ernest Tweedie, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Parkman, Maine. Tape: 1 with no transcript. Tweedie talks about working in the logging industry and the music in the bunkhouses. Sings a few shanty songs and gives an example of Bunkhouse Wake Up Call. See companion accession NA 2243. Text: no transcript. Recording: C 0874, CD 2170. Songs: “East Bound Train,” “Whisper Your Mothers Name,” “A Drunkard’s Child,” Bunkhouse wake up call.

2243 Ernest Tweedie and Thelma Tweedie, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Guilford, Maine. 23pp. Tape: 90 minutes with transcript. The Tweedies discuss early days of the Grange; growing up in Aroostook county; sings several songs from the lumber camps. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0875, CD 2169 90 minutes.

2244 Dorothy Canwell, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Oxford, Maine. 15 pp. Tape: 90 minutes with transcript. Canwell discusses the Grange; the role of the Grange in contemporary life; selection of music by Dot Canwell, Harry Boyer, and Althea Fish. Lots of music. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0876, CD 2155 90 minutes.

2245 Dot Ruppell and Jim Cahill, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Bingham, Maine. 18 pp. Tape: 1 with handwritten transcript. Ruppell and Cahill talk about the Grange; compare the old days with now; sing. Text: handwritten transcript. Recording: C 0877, CD 2172.

2246 Thelma Murray, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, July 10, 1990, Owl’s Head, Maine. 18 pp. Tape: 45 minutes with handwritten transcription. Murray talks about her role as Grange musician and plays some of the old marches and dance tunes. No music. Text: handwritten transcription. Recording: C 0878, CD 2171 45 minutes.

2247 Georges River Grange, recorded by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, South Montville, Maine. 5 pp. Tape: 1 with partial catalog. Selections from the Georges River Grange. Lots of music on CD. Text: partial catalog. Recording: C 0879, CD 2128.

2248 Lewis Newell, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Montville, Maine. 14 pp. Tape: 90 minutes with handwritten transcript. Newell discusses the founding of the Grange; music; and the role the Grange today. No music. Text: handwritten transcript. Recording: C 0880, CD 2129 90 minutes.

2249 R. I. Crossman, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Corinna, Maine. 16 pp. Tape: 90 minutes with handwritten transcript. Crossman discusses the importance of music and the changing role of the Grange in Maine life. No music. Text: handwritten transcript. Recording: C 0881, CD 2130 90 minutes.

2250 Hazel Bean, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Vienna, Maine. 18 pp. Tape: 90 minutes with handwritten transcript. Bean talks about the Grange and plays some pieces on the piano. Lots of music including Grange Marches. Text: handwritten transcript. Recording: C 0882, CD 2131 90 minutes.

2251 Ethel Herbert, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Mercer, Maine. 12 pp. Tape: 1 with handwritten transcript. Herbert discusses belonging to the Sandy River Grange and serving as lecturer. No Music. Text: handwritten transcript. Recording: C 0883, CD 2132.

2252 Songs recorded at the Seaside Grange by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, South Bristol, Maine. 5 pp. Tape: 1 with partial catalog. Lots of music. Text: partial catalog. Recording: C 0884, CD 2133.

2253 Harry Boyer, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, East Dixfield, Maine. 6 pp. Tape: 1 with partial transcript. Boyer discusses going to the Grange meetings all over the state and sings a cappella music of the Grange. Includes original song by his daughter “Know the Feeling it Brings.” Text: partial transcript. Recording: C 0885, CD 2156. Songs: There’s A River, The Lords Prayer, It’s Been A Long Long Time, When You and I Were 17, State of Maine (Grange Song), Waltz Across Texas, Know The Feeling It Brings (original song by daughter), I Wish I Was A Teddy Bear by Waylon Jenning.

2254 Doug Protsik, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Freedom, Maine. Tape: 1 with no transcript. Protsik plays the piano; explains the ways Grange players played the piano for the granges. Excellent resource for researching Grange Music Theory. Text: no transcript. Recording: C 0886, CD 2157.

2255 Harvey Gurney, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Appleton, Maine. Tape: 1 with no transcript. Gurney plays songs on the concertina and harmonica. Lots of music (not edited by music track). Text: no transcript. Recording: C 0887, CD 1198.

2256 Gene Allen and Ava Allen, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Camden, Maine. Tape: 1 with no transcript. The Allens play the mandolin and piano. Maine Traditional Music Series, Music of the Maine Grange. Lots of Music. RESTRICTED. Text: no transcript. Recording: C 0888, CD 2158.

2257 Val Bardash, Walter Taranko, John Supruniuk, Walter Lepuchenko, Ukrainian picnic, Wasyl Moros, Maria Sachno, Willis Johnson, Helena and Mathilda Schumejko, and the St. Alexander Nevsky Church Choir, recorded by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Richmond and Gardiner, Maine. 52 pp. Tapes: 10 with transcripts and catalog. Interviews with Bardash, Taranko, Supruniuk, Lepuchenko, Ukrainian picnic, Moros, Sachno, Johnson, the Schumejkos, and the St. Alexander Nevsky Church Choir talk about immigration; life in Maine; also singing and the playing of instruments. Traditional Music of Maine Series, The Russians. (See CD for music track listings.) Text: transcripts and catalog.

2258 Axel Tall, Fritjof Jacobson, Charlene and Peter Espling, Lillian and Adella Johnson, Helen Borgeson, Chester Ringdahl, Mildred Beaulieau, Harley Jepson, and others, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1990, New Sweden, Maine. 55 pp. Tapes: 9 with transcripts and catalog. The Midsummer Festival, Tall, Jacobson, the Esplings, the Johnsons, Borgeson, Ringdahl, Beaulieau, and Jepson talk about immigration; early days; current times; and the Swedish community in Maine. Song sung by Chester Ringdahl on Track 8 CD 979 “Jag Har en Van” (“I have a Friend…”). Song sung by Helen Borgesen on CD 978 Track 12 “Halsa dem Darhemma.” Traditional Music of Maine Series, The Swedes. Text: 53 pp. of transcripts and catalog. Recording: C 0899 – C 0908 / CD 0978 – 0980, CD 2259 (C 0908) CD 2261 (C 0904).


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