Sunday, May 05, 2013

May Jigs

Let the Steamboats Run (mp3) (pdf)
Not in My Ground Water (mp3) (pdf)

A pair of jigs in a medley.

Record amounts of snow for the month of May were recorded across a wide swath of southern Minnesota this past week, over a foot in many places. Luckily, Decorah experienced mostly rain. On May 1 I was working on a different piece of music when a new jig took over my fingers. As always, finding a title was a problem when I recorded it yesterday.

The first of May (already the title of a great tune) offers many opportunities for titles because of its significance in many countries and cultures. I settled on a reminder of home, the Great Steamboat Race that occurs every year on the Wednesday (May 1 this year) before the Kentucky Derby. Years ago I used to love to go down to the Ohio river and watch the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen battle it out for the Golden Antlers. I especially enjoyed the years when the Julia Belle Swain was added to the field.

A week ago last Saturday Erik Sessions and I (with the help of our friends Pat O'Loughlin and Ehler Orngard) presented a benefit concert to help raise funds for a lawsuit that hopes to improve the air quality near the North Winneshiek school site. This second recently composed jig was paired with Erik's own new "Pig Jig" in a set of tunes, even though the issue at hand was air quality and not water. Things are related, as we all know, and environments are being stressed everywhere. Frac sand mining is a big issue in our region as well. Tune titles are small things but sometimes they can prompt a bit of thinking. Charles Mingus was a great one for this. My favorite example is "Remember Rockefeller at Attica."

When you click on the links above this week you will be pulling files from my new website. I am slowly moving old files from the Contratopia site over to this new one and this is the first week that I have loaded the new files directly to the new host. If you have any problems please let me know.

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