Finals are officially winding down and this blogger couldn’t be happier. Looking around the library the past two weeks it’s been hard not to draw certain parallels. For instance, a lot of people (myself included) looked like extras from the Walking Dead. More disturbing still, I haven’t seen anyone work so hard to keep a place clean since my mom the summer between 7th and 8th grade year. (Thanks, custodial team, you’re the real MVPs.) But all that aside, things could have been much worse; we could have been cooped up in Northeastern State’s library–the horror!!
Yes, I concede, finals are awful; but Max Chambers has some pretty good stuff going for it, not least of which its collections. Speaking of which, I’ve got a great find for you guys this month: John W. Work’s book/score collection, American Negro Songs. Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t some pseudo-racist collection of black stereotypes. Dr. Work was actually “a noted musicologist affiliated with Fisk University and the celebrated Fisk Jubilee Singers.” For those of you who aren’t familiar, Fisk is a well-respected historically black college located in Nashville, Tennessee. Some notable alumni are W. E. B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells.
Dr. Work’s book covers everything from the origins of African-American “folk songs and spirituals, [both] religious and secular” to the different sub-genres associated with this kind of music. Plus, the book includes music and lyrics to 230 different songs. Published first in 1940 and again in 1998, this is definitely a piece of history. If any of you are interested, it’s housed with the scores on the south side of the fourth floor. Come see us at the service desk and we’ll help you find it!
And just for the fun of it, here’s a video of the aforementioned Jubilee Singers performing one of the pieces found in the book: