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April 2008 · Bimonthly







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Of Cattle and Fiddles


by Stacy Phillips

Time for another visit to the repertoire of that omnivore of American fiddling, Jehile Kirkhuff. Please refer to previous issues for a couple other Jehile articles with biographical information courtesy of his Boswell, Ed Berbaum.

Check out Jehile's introduction to the recording. We get a glimpse of a charming, eccentric artist, passing on his musical legacy.

When Ed Berbaum submitted Jehile Kirkhuff's version of "Norwegian Cow Call" I asked him about some background material. His response eventually led me to Susanne Rosenberg's and Sven Ahlbäck's article about the related tradition of kulning, Swedish herding calls.

The article mostly concerns vocal calls but, not surprisingly, there are fiddle tunes that derive from these calls. I was not able to get recordings of all the tunes mentioned in the article, but Professors Rosenberg and Sven Ahlbäck were kind enough to supply four pieces, two vocals and two instrumentals which are found in the second article, "Examples of Kulning, Vallat, Polskas and the Herding Call Tradition in Sweden". These should give you an firm idea of the style and how vocals were adapted and converted to fiddle instrumentals.

Stacy Phillips




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Please visit Stacy's web site at http://www.stacyphillips.com.


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