River of Song by Elijah Wald
A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

A companion to the major Smithsonian Institution series for public television and radio, River of Song explores the breadth and depth of American music at the close of the twentieth century--through narrative, photography, and the words of the musicians themselves.

Over the course of five years, recording and interviewing more than five hundred musicians in the communities where they live and perform, John Junkerman, Elijah Wald, and the River of Song team surveyed the length of the Mississippi River and found along its muddy banks an America where music is not merely a carefully packaged commodity but an exhilaratingly diverse and thriving part of the culture. Near the icy headwaters in Minnesota, Ojibwe drummers perform at a powwow, and the power trio Babes in Toyland serve up their brand of riot-grrrl punk. In Iowa, songwriter John Hartford navigates the river. In Moline, Illinois, a Mexican band blends traditional rhythms with Latino rap; in Memphis, Rufus Thomas, Ann Peebles, and the Memphis Horns carry on the Southern fusion; in New Orleans, Henry Butler radiates the 88s, while the Soul Rebels carry the brass band swinging into the twenty-first century. There is folk music here, and basement-band rock; newly transplanted Laotian melodies and the music of last century's French settlers; zydeco and Cajun music, country, gospel, blues, and soul. River of Song captures, often in the artists' own words, what the music means to them: its place as a part of tradition, but also as a living, glorious fact in their world.

Complemented by a gallery of vibrant images, this extraordinary journey brings us the many voices that flow together even now to make the joyful noise of the best American music--the streams that join to make one great river of song.

 

About Elijah Wald

See more books from this Author
Elijah Wald es escritor y mUsico con veinte aNos de expe Elijah Wald es escritor y mUsico con veinte aNos de experiencia reportando sobre los orIgenes musicales y sobre la mriencia reportando sobre los orIgenes musicales y sobre la mUsica misma en diferentes regiones del mundo. Fue escritor yUsica misma en diferentes regiones del mundo. Fue escritor y asesor para el proyecto de mUltiples medios del Instituto S asesor para el proyecto de mUltiples medios del Instituto Smithsonian llamado "The Mississippi: River and Song" (El RIomithsonian llamado "The Mississippi: River and Song" (El RIo Mississippi: el rIo y su mUsica), y tambiEn recibiO un prem Mississippi: el rIo y su mUsica), y tambiEn recibiO un premio por la biografIa "Josh White: Society Blues" (Josh White,io por la biografIa "Josh White: Society Blues" (Josh White, Blues de la Sociedad). Una sobrevista de su obra se puede c Blues de la Sociedad). Una sobrevista de su obra se puede conseguir en elijawald.com. Elijah Wald is a writer and monseguir en elijawald.com. Elijah Wald is a writer and musician with twenty years experience covering roots and worlusician with twenty years experience covering roots and world music. He was writer and consultant on the Smithsonian muld music. He was writer and consultant on the Smithsonian multimedia project "The Mississippi: River of Song, " and is thtimedia project "The Mississippi: River of Song, " and is the author of the award-winning biography "Josh White: Societye author of the award-winning biography "Josh White: Society Blues." Blues. Junkerman is a filmmaker and writer.
 
Published December 1, 1998 by St. Martin's Press. 352 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for River of Song

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Ranging from profiles of little-known but durable musicians to those with a regional or national profile (John Hartford, Fontella Bass, Rufus Thomas, Little Milton, Irma Thomas), the book offers both an engaging overview of modern American music as it is being created and performed in small South...

| Read Full Review of River of Song: A Musical Jour...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

There's something here for almost every taste, be it punk rock, Ojibwe Indian powwow songs, traditional Laotion Hmong tunes, blues sessions in Memphis, hip-hop brass band fusion in New Orleans or a Mexican-American band in Illinois playing everything from traditional corridos to the ""Hava Nagila...

| Read Full Review of River of Song: A Musical Jour...

Variety

Through 44 individual profiles, producer and director John Junkerman uses the Mississippi River to draw a line connecting diverse, living musical cultures, diagramming the local population's relationship with music, whether it be the drumming of the Chippewa Nation in northern Minnesota or the di...

Jan 19 1999 | Read Full Review of River of Song: A Musical Jour...

Rate this book!

Add Review