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Maine Folklife Center Offers Ballad Workshops

Ballad Workshop

British and American ballad collecting and performance in Maine is the focus of three free public workshops in April in Orono, Belfast and Portland, offered by the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine.

The workshops will include a panel discussion and performance of several ballads collected in Maine. Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Folklife Center will present an overview of ballad collecting in the British and American tradition in Maine, and UMaine Honors preceptor in English Sarah Harlan-Haughey will discuss ballads as literature.

Performing as part of the workshops will be Julia Lane, a folksinger, ballad collector and member of Castlebay; her husband Fred Gosbee; and Jeff McKeen, folksinger and ballad collector and a member of Old Grey Goose. Audience members are invited to bring a favorite ballad to discuss.

The programs are scheduled 6:30–8:30 p.m., April 2 at the Belfast Free Library; 4:30–6:30 p.m., April 9 at the University Club in UMaine’s Fogler Library; and 6:30–8:30 p.m., April 16 in Rines Auditorium at the Portland Public Library.

Maine has an active community of folk musicians and those who enjoy folk music, ballad singing and ballad collecting, which is part of Maine’s cultural heritage, says MacDougall, who oversees an extensive UMaine collection of ballads and other folksongs that she wants to bring to the public’s attention.

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maine Folklife Center recently created a Maine Song and Story Sampler, with an accompanying curriculum for teachers. In addition, the center published the second volume of the book British Ballads from Maine in 2012. The program fulfills the Maine Folklife Center’s mission to engage communities in the vernacular arts and culture of Maine and the Maritime provinces.

The workshops are made possible through grants from the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Humanities Council and the UMaine Humanities Initiative.

Contact: Pauleena MacDougall, 207.581.1848

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