“All over this land”: Clear Space lecture focuses on American Folk Music

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Pursuing its ongoing mission to bring high-quality arts education experiences to Sussex County, Clear Space Theatre Company continues its Backstage Lecture Series this month with “All Over This Land: American Regional Folk Music.” Guest speaker Dr. Saul Broudy leads the discussion in the series, designed to give audiences and artists alike a peek into the inner workings of various facets of the performing arts.

Dr. Broudy’s program is presented in a musical travelogue format, presenting grassroots songs from various regions of the United States, such as Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, and Appalachia. Playing the harmonica and also accompanying his singing on guitar, Dr. Broudy will lead a discussion in how these folk songs help us identify who we are and where we came from.

“As we travel to Louisiana, we’ll hear songs of the French Cajuns and a Hank Williams song he stole from them,” says Broudy. “Then, we’ll ‘Waltz Across Texas,’ hear the blues of the Mid-South on the harmonica, leave Oklahoma to start over in California with ‘dustbowl’ ballads, and hear a 400 year-old British ballad about marital infidelity in Appalachian mountain style.”

Broudy sees a sense of urgency in preserving these melodic pieces of history, as they provide insight into our own cultural roots and the cultures of others. “Folk songs can serve numerous functions, both socially and academically, and are not simply for entertainment,” Broudy says. “We all have folk songs that have played a role in our lives. They are not a product of the commercial music business; these are created by our communities and serve a greater purpose.”

Dr. Broudy’s credits are extensive, both academically and professionally. He holds a PhD in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and has recorded his remarkable harmonica skills on over 35 albums with numerous artists. His own album is entitled “Travels With Broudy,” and he has also recorded an album with six fellow Vietnam veterans called “In Country: Folk Songs of American in the Vietnam War,” available on Fly Fish Records.

“All Over This Land: American Regional Folk Music” with Dr. Saul Broudy will be held at the Clear Space Theatre on Monday, April 18 at 10:00 am. Tickets are $10 (which include bagels, coffee and the lecture) and are available online at www.ClearSpaceTheatre.org, via phone at 302.227.2270 or in person at the box office. This program is made possible by funds provided by the Delaware Humanities Forum.