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Explore the Tradition of Sung Stories Online!

Published on Wed, 04/15/2020 - 11:52am
Explore the Tradition of Sung Stories Online!

Folktales, tall tales, personal narratives—stories told by word of mouth take many forms. Whether you aspire to tell tales, or to explore tales told by others, The Story Center can provide you with the educational opportunities and resources you need.

The narrative folksong, called a ballad, is one type of story that is often overlooked. As the Library of Congress suggests, ballads "tell all kinds of stories, including histories, legends, fairy tales, animal fables, jokes, and tales of outlaws and star-crossed lovers." 

While MCPL’s branches have been closed for the past few weeks, I've been exploring various ballad traditions included among the many online resources offered by MCPL. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Classic African-American Ballads features a variety of narrative songs, including John Jackson singing “Louis Collins,” a ballad written by Mississippi John Hurt in 1929.

Many of these streaming music resources were originally published by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. All of them are available for free to Library cardholders. So, while MCPL locations remain closed, consider taking some time to listen to the many ways people have sung stories.  

Mark L.
The Story Center

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