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Edited by Genevieve Lehr. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, c1985. 210pp, paper, ISBN 0-8020-2567-6 (cloth) $25,00, 0-802065864 (paper) $12.50. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Joan M. Payzant

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

The one hundred-and-twenty folksongs in this book were collected by Genevieve Lehr, a student in the department of linguistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Anita Best, a Newfoundland school teacher, performer, and folksinger. The songs were transcribed by Pamela Morgan "whose own musical creativity and intuitive feel for folk music has given these songs new life," writes editor Lehr. These are words of high praise for this difficult task of putting a singer's melody on paper with "swoops and dips, irregular time changes, and the surprising grace note that appears from nowhere," as Pamela Morgan writes in the introduction. Attractive black-and-white illustrations resembling woodcuts were done by Elly Cohen. The volume was published with a gift from the Herbert Laurence Rous Estate, grants from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

Each song is accompanied by an editorial note, the singer's name, and the date of its collection. The songs represent traditional folksongs from Europe, some composed long ago in Newfoundland, with a few telling of more recent tragedies. "The Blow Below the Belt," for instance, is an account of the resettlement of outport people, and "In Memoriam" is a song of the Ocean Ranger tragedy. There are many songs of shipwrecks, some lullabies, several French songs, and sometimes two singers' versions of a similar ballad. The table of contents includes an alphabetical listing of song titles, and an index of first lines can be found at the back of the volume. A glossary of words and phrases will assist those unfamiliar with Newfoundland expressions, and a bibliography is also included. For both folksingers and readers who are fond of ballads, this book is a worthwhile addition to Canadian folklore.

Joan M. Payzant, Dartmouth, N.S.
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