War Campfire Music Visits HP

October 9th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

They’re Yankees, but we can forgive them.

We saw, heard and met the 2nd South Carolina String Band at the Hyde Park library yesterday. They are eight Civil-War reenactors who have taken to playing period music on period instruments wearing period-style clothes. They’re good enough to be in demand on the circuit and have five CDs out.

I have not really done them justice in the clip at the bottom. This is a recording on a mini-digital recorder, 20 feet away of Jine the Cavalry. I left the intro to its origins.

The uxorial unit wanted to go down the hill for this. Weekly, she plays acoustic music from way back with a motley group either in a Dorchester restaurant or in nice weather at Jamaica Pond. Plus, she’s from South Carolina.

After the hour concert, she talked with the bones player and I with a banjo player. We’d tried several types of rib bones to get the right tool, after seeing some YouTube lessons. Turns out, we should have been gathering shin bones.

Regardless, I asked how wide and deep the South Carolina connections were. Non-existent is the answer.

Turns out, there are lots of Union reenactors in these parts (and for musically unrelated reasons drinkers). These guys in various configurations decided to play Rebs in Yankeeland. They also found themselves at the campfires during the enactments, as fairly lone in sobriety. They then started playing music of the era and have subsequently added period instruments as they could. The flute is from the time, as is one of the fretless banjoes. Other instruments are reproductions of the real thing.

For locales though, most are from Massachusetts, as in Lynn and Weston. The farthest South is the Arlington, Virginia area. Southerners are wont to note that Northern Virginia is of questionable relationship to the South.

License note: All pix are Creative Commons-Attribution. Do what you want with them. Just give Mike Ball credit once.

The motion blurred shin bones of Tom DiGiuseppe here. He also played a cow jaw and other dead animal parts, like a skin covered tambourine. scsbbrones1
scsbflute2 Joe Whitney uses an authentic fife of the period.
On the period banjo, without frets, was Joe Ewers. scsbbanjo2
scsbvocal1 I’m also certain that it was Fred Ewers on guitar, vocals and sometimes the fiddle.
They try to reproduce what the troops would have heard by tunes and instruments. Fiddles were big at the time and in the band. Here Mike Paul joined the Ewers lads. scsbfiddles1
scsbpenny1 They were all together and the closest to a solo was Greg Hernandez leading Amazing Grace on the penny whistle.
Attention to detail as with all enactors includes the crudely made shoes and clothing. I did find out that some of the band made their own, augmenting those with suttler-purchased duds. One fellow does have his tailored though. scsbflute1


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