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Fowke, Edith.

Toronto, NC Press, c1985. 232pp, paper, ISBN 0-920053-5J-3 (doth) $19.95. 0-920053-80-7 (paper) $12.95. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Mollie Hooper

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

Edith Fowke, internationally known folklorist, has written or edited some twenty books and many magazine articles, produced records for Folkways Records and tapes for the National Museum and the Library of Congress. Lumbering Songs from the Northern Woods is not just a song book; it is a hook holding a small, but important part of our Canadian history.

The prefacing article, written by the author, "Folksongs as a Reflection of the Shantyboys' Life." shows us that these songs composed by men in the camps give a very complete and vivid picture of what it was like to work in the woods before the era of mechanization. Following this introduction, is an essay by Norman Cazden, who discusses and analyses the traditional tunes. He concludes that the tunes in this collection, even though they do tend to reflect commercial entertainment styles and do contain different ornamental figures, are obviously based on such traditional forms as the diatonic and pentatonic modes. Cazden also provides comments on each tune and lists of tune relatives for the musicologists.

The sixty-five songs are indexed under these divisions: "The Shanty Boys at Work," "Death in the Woods," "The Lighter Side," "The Shantyboy and His Girl," and "L'Envoi." The book has an excellent bibliography, an index of first lines, plus a map of the place names mentioned in the songs. I can recommend this book as a song book and as a contribution to a segment of our Canadian history.

Mollie Hooper, Qualicum Beach. B.C.
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