Old Music of Rhode Island
If you've been to any of our recent performances, you are well aware that old music from the state of Rhode Island is very much our focus. For the past few years we have been digging up broadside ballads, historical songs, lyrical poetry, and local ditties and tunes in songbooks, tune collections, old manuscripts, library databases, and any other musical reference we can get our hands on. Our mission is to uncover and revive this part of Rhode Island's musical heritage and hopefully bring old Ocean State songs and tunes back into public consciousness. Aside from the sleuthing and tracking down of these songs, this process also often requires reinterpretation of out-dated lyrics and unsure melodies from field recordings, fitting words to tunes, and elaborating on incomplete sources. A few particularly bountiful resources for us thus far have been the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection housed at Middlebury College, VT as well as the Harris Broadside Collection and Sidney S. Rider Broadside Collection at the John Hay Library of Brown University, Providence, RI.
We have amassed an ever-growing collection from a wide array of sources, but if you have any songs or tunes with Rhode Island connections you'd like to share please send them our way (Please note that, yes, we DO already know "RI is Famous For You"). We would be particularly interested in any "family songs" that you may have learned from you parents or grandparents growing up in Rhode Island or local ditties about people, places, or events in your home town.