A red, red rose in Gisborne

The African American spiritual Been in the Storm So Long features in a wide-ranging programme of folk songs that make up the Gisborne Choral Society concert Timeless Treasures. This image depicts the cover of a 1960s recording of Been in the Storm So Long. Picture supplied

Asked what was his greatest creative inspiration, American singer songwriter Bob Dylan cited the lyrics in Scottish poet Robert Burns’ 1794 song A Red, Red Rose.

Included by Burns as part of a project to preserve traditional Scottish songs for posterity, A Red, Red Rose is now part of a programme of folk songs performed by the Gisborne Choral Society (GCS) next week.

The wide-ranging song list includes a solo (with choral accompaniment) of soulful spiritual I’ve Been in the Storm So Long in which the lyrics seem to implore for release from the struggle as well as for more time to pray.

The song was part of a compilation recorded in the mid 1960s by Smithsonian Institution record label, Smithsonian Folkways. The location of the recording, Moving Star Hall, was a gathering place for community members to express themselves through sermon, song, testimony and prayer evocative of the oldest forms of African American folk life and slave culture.

Also in GCS’s Timeless Treasures programme is Scottish folk song Loch Lomond, 18th century North East English folk song Bobby Shaftoe, English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Spring Time of the Year, and Just As the Tide was Flowing; Macedonian folk songs All Night I am Awake, and Come, Sweetheart. New Zealand songs Hine e Hine, and Nau Mai Haere Mai will also feature.

Folk songs did not come from named composers but over time they have been rehashed in classical and non-classical forms for solo singers to symphonies, says GCS musical director Gavin Maclean.

“The best of these melodies have survived and evolved by a process of natural selection.

“They are timeless treasures.”

The selection is aimed to touch on various styles in the wide-ranging gamut of folk songs.

“Passion, protest, ecstasy and nonsense all appear, in settings from simple to ingenious,” says Maclean.

“This programme is designed for musical interest and variety. There will also be brackets of songs inserted for audience participation.”

Timeless Treasures The Gisborne Choral Society concert tracks folk songs through the ages. St Andrew’s Church, Sunday, May 6 (2pm).

Asked what was his greatest creative inspiration, American singer songwriter Bob Dylan cited the lyrics in Scottish poet Robert Burns’ 1794 song A Red, Red Rose.

Included by Burns as part of a project to preserve traditional Scottish songs for posterity, A Red, Red Rose is now part of a programme of folk songs performed by the Gisborne Choral Society (GCS) next week.

The wide-ranging song list includes a solo (with choral accompaniment) of soulful spiritual I’ve Been in the Storm So Long in which the lyrics seem to implore for release from the struggle as well as for more time to pray.

The song was part of a compilation recorded in the mid 1960s by Smithsonian Institution record label, Smithsonian Folkways. The location of the recording, Moving Star Hall, was a gathering place for community members to express themselves through sermon, song, testimony and prayer evocative of the oldest forms of African American folk life and slave culture.

Also in GCS’s Timeless Treasures programme is Scottish folk song Loch Lomond, 18th century North East English folk song Bobby Shaftoe, English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Spring Time of the Year, and Just As the Tide was Flowing; Macedonian folk songs All Night I am Awake, and Come, Sweetheart. New Zealand songs Hine e Hine, and Nau Mai Haere Mai will also feature.

Folk songs did not come from named composers but over time they have been rehashed in classical and non-classical forms for solo singers to symphonies, says GCS musical director Gavin Maclean.

“The best of these melodies have survived and evolved by a process of natural selection.

“They are timeless treasures.”

The selection is aimed to touch on various styles in the wide-ranging gamut of folk songs.

“Passion, protest, ecstasy and nonsense all appear, in settings from simple to ingenious,” says Maclean.

“This programme is designed for musical interest and variety. There will also be brackets of songs inserted for audience participation.”

Timeless Treasures The Gisborne Choral Society concert tracks folk songs through the ages. St Andrew’s Church, Sunday, May 6 (2pm).

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