Jigs, Reels, and “Realness”: An Investigation of Ideas of Authenticity and Tradition in New England French Canadian Music
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Jigs, Reels, and “Realness”: An Investigation of Ideas of Authenticity and Tradition in New England French Canadian Music is an Honors Paper for the Bowdoin College Department of Anthropology, presented by Lowell Ruck in 2021.
Abstract: Franco-American culture is increasingly recognized as an integral part of the heritage of Maine and New England, and has attracted growing academic attention in recent years. But while many scholars and cultural promoters focus on the French language in their work on this subject, few studies have considered the position of traditional music in Franco-American communities in the 21st century. This thesis examines French Canadian traditional music as it is played in New England and the ways in which musicians think about authenticity and tradition in their art. Using material from ethnographic interviews, it illuminates how musicians draw from individual, familial, and communal experiences and from past, present, and future conceptions of authentic tradition in their roles as cultural mediators. Ultimately, it suggests that players of French Canadian traditional music interact with this tradition in diverse ways, and that in doing so, they help to maintain the vibrancy of Franco-American cultural practices.
Franco-American music, folk music, music traditions
Ruck, Lowell, "Jigs, Reels, and “Realness”: An Investigation of Ideas of Authenticity and Tradition in New England French Canadian Music" (2021). Original Research. 7.
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English and French