Folk duo Castlebay (Julia Lane & Fred Gosbee) invite the public to celebrate the release of their new book “Past Ballads of Maine – Songs of Ships and Sailorson Sunday, July 24 at 4 p.m. with a FREE BYO picnic, carols, and tent concert at the Sail Power & Steam Museum in Rockland.
For more than 10 years, the duo has collected songs from collections made in Maine from 1900 to 1940.
Many of these songs are maritime ballads, rather than work songs, and refer to historical events such as launches, record runs, and tragedies of all kinds. Others go back to roots in the British Isles and Ireland. These songs and their popularity highlight the importance of Maine’s maritime heritage.
Lane & Gosbee transcribed songs and lyrics from field recordings and manuscripts made by collectors who traveled across the state interviewing people in their homes, logging camps, and aboard ships. The resulting transcriptions offer a wonderful array of songs reflecting the meaning and sensibility of ordinary people. Intent to create a resource for singers, folk music enthusiasts and educators, the 300-page book includes music and lyrics for 165 songs along with historical notes and resource information.
Pauleena MacDougall, Ph.D, author, editor and former director of the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine said in a press release, “Not since Joanna Colcord published Roll and go in 1924, did we see a compilation of songs of the sea as complete as this one. Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee produced not only the songs, but also a lot of important background information, such as a map of the location of the singers, the source of the song, the melody the song is sung to, and editorial notes which compare songs with other known versions, or similar songs known by different names. This is a book that will be a treasure for singers, but also for folklorists, ballad connoisseurs and historians. The authors exceeded their goals to create a songbook. They’ve created a volume that will sit proudly on library shelves next to books by Phillips Barry, Fannie Eckstorm, Joanna Colcord and other ballads.
The party will take the form of a BYO picnic and tent “sing-along” on the museum grounds. Throughout the evening, Lane and Gosbee will sing their versions of some of the songs they found in their research, alternating with contributions from other musicians. Everyone is invited to share a sea song with no special skills required. Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted.
Captain Jim Sharp, co-founder of the Sail, Power, and Steam Museum remarked, “SPSM is a museum that celebrates our maritime cultural heritage, and we are also cheerleaders and longtime supporters of local musicians. . We are delighted that this celebration is being held on our grounds, because it fits so well with the mission of our organization. The museum encourages visitors and residents to check their website for upcoming concerts scheduled this season: www.SailPowerSteamMuseum.org.