‘Wind Blowing Across a Field’ book explores traditions in folk music

Tan wheat appears to blow in the wind in front of a dark background.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, before the internet and YouTube instructionals, folk musicians honing their technical skills and musicology sought oldtimers to learn from them directly. One could gain a firsthand apprenticeship and an improved understanding of the culture from which the music derives. The experience of learning from master folk musicians was invaluable.

A new book, “Wind Blowing Across a Field: Wisdom and Tales from 23 Musicians,” explores methods of learning music that is barely possible now. The book is compiled and edited by Evo Bluestein and Juliana Harris and published through The Press, California State University, Fresno

There is deep wisdom in the old music. The older generation of master folk musicians and dancers is mostly gone. Their experiences were drawn largely from an era where they had limited exposure and relied upon the styles of their heritage or region. In contrast to today’s generations utilizing technology to pursue old traditions and invent new ones, most of the subjects in this book did not have those options. 

The book contains 21 tales from a disappearing but not-so-distant past, including interviews with Holly Tannen, Peggy Seeger, Richard Hagopian, Jody Stecher, Peter Alsop, Harry Liedstrand, Earl White, Ron Thompson, Fraydele Oysher, Marc Silber, Blaine Sprouse, Deborah and Ernie Fischbach, Phil Jamison, Franck Goldwasser, Rodney Miller, Byron Berline, Libby Harding, Henry Sapoznik, Joe Craven, Kathy Kallick, Mark Simos, Judy Hyman and Kevin Burke.

Other books by Evo Bluestein and Juliana Harris include “Road to Sweet’s Mill” and “Rings Like Silver, Shines Like Gold.”

Posted by

The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.