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AboutFolk Songs from Newfoundland

The vitality of the English folk-song tradition is shown in a remarkable way by the wealth of songs that have persisted by means of oral transmission throughout the English-speaking countries overseas. Newfoundland, England's oldest colony, may be placed high among the regions of the North American continent which have contributed to the enrichments of our musical heritage.

Maud Karpeles, who at an earlier date had accompanied Cecil Sharp in his collecting expeditions in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, spent about fourteen weeks in Newfoundland during 1929 and 1930. She visited some forty of the small settlements, or outports as they are called, which are dotted along the coasts; and the result of this expedition was a superlatively rich and varied collection of songs and ballads. Some are interesting and distinctive versions of well-known songs, others are less familiar, with an individual beauty of their own.

Ninety of these songs, or 150 tunes including variants, are presented in this book together with notes and commentaries on the songs and an introductory chapter in which the collector gives an account of her travels. The songs are given as noted without editorial 'improvement'. There were, however, some cases in which the singer was unable to remember a complete set of words; so, for the benefit of those who wish to sing as well as to study the songs, there is an appendix in which songs with omissions and faulty lines have been amended by drawing upon other versions,
This collection, therefore, will have the highest appeal not only to specialists but to all who enjoy folk songs of distinctive and memorable character.

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