Worksong Workshop

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Goodrich Hall 863 Main St, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267, USA

Worksong WorkshopJoin Max Godfrey and Friends for a raucous, foot-stomping evening of worksongs, food, and infectious laughter. We will learn many songs traditionally sung by prisoners and field workers as a means of enduring the hardships of forced labor, but which have been rediscovered by farmers as tools for making their work more enjoyable. With simple, call-and-response structures, these songs can be learned quickly and require no vocal "skill" whatsoever. We will start with the simplest songs and share some more involved worksongs as our lungs warm up. We will also share many songs from around the world that American farmers have adapted for use in the fields. Even if you're not a farmer you're bound to remember some of these songs and enjoy sharing them with friends. This singalong will include a meal prepared by Max and Friends, but singing will continue throughout the evening.

Over the past two years, Max Godfrey has been steadily digging through old field recordings of southern worksongs and teaching them to people in fields and kitchens, on front porches and streetcorners across the Northeast and in his home state of Georgia. He draws upon the songs that African Americans sang for decades on chain gangs and in farm fields throughout the 20th century South. As an apprentice on small farms he has been exploring the ways in which traditional songs can be used as tools for strengthening the fabric of local communities. The singing of worksongs in the fields again represents an important step towards the restoration of culture in american agriculture; Max is on tour to share these songs with as many people as he can this winter. He has led worksongs the Clearwater Festival, the Farmer's March on Wall Street, the Georgia Organics Conference, Sylvester Manor's Plant and Sing festival, and Frolona Fest, and has helped teach worksong workshops at Young Farmer's Conference and NOFA NY.

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Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives


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