Happy Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Every year on this day, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, people from all over the Salento area would pilgrimage to the town of Galatina, to the chapel of St. Paul where the women known as the Tarantate would seek the cure from the venomous bite of the mythical tarantula. Here they would dance the venom out as musicians, guided by the tamburello, played all day and all night the ancient songs of healing known as the Pizzica. Buona Festa a tutti!

Some have called “This Land Is Your Land” an alternative national anthem. Others say it’s a Marxist response to “God Bless America.” It was written and first sung by Woody Guthrie. Over time, it’s been sung by everyone from Lady Gaga to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Folklorist Nick Spitzer has the story of an American classic.

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born in 1912 in Okemah, Okla. He recorded “This Land Is Your Land” during a marathon April 1944 session in New York for Moses Asch, who founded Folkways Records. Guthrie was on shore leave from the Merchant Marines, one of his many occupations during the Depression and war years.

Growing up in small-town Oklahoma, Guthrie heard church hymns, outlaw ballads, blues, fiddle tunes and popular music. The Guthries had been fairly prosperous — Woody’s father was a small-time politician and businessman — but the family unraveled in the topsy-turvy oil economy of the ‘20s and '30s. The Guthrie family relocated to Pampa, Tex., after Woody’s mother was committed to a mental institution for a mysterious nervous condition. That’s when Woody took to the road.

As a boy, he’d already proven himself to be a gifted street entertainer — dancing, playing guitar and harmonica, making up songs as he went. Words and music became a growing passion for him.

The Story Of Woody Guthrie’s 'This Land Is Your Land’

Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Protest Against the Rising Tide of Conformity

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez by Daniel Kramer, 1964

Chelsea Hotel #2
Leonard Cohen
Chelsea Hotel #2

And clenching your fist for the ones like us 
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty, 
you fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind, 
we are ugly but we have the music.” 

WOMEN WHO FOLK EACH OTHER

traditional love ballads sung by women about women 

She Moved Through the Fair Cecile Corbel

Black is the Color | Celtic Woman (note: I REALLY wanted to use the version by Japanese artist, Kokia, but it is no longer on youtube)

Star of the County Down | Loreena Mckennitt

Fainne Geal an Lae | Fionna Tyndall

Wild Mountain Thyme | Unknown/Emma? (note: not specifically sapphic, but was written by a man about his wife. Singer asks another woman to accompany her to the mountain, which has romantic implications)

Maid of Llanwellyn | Kate Rusby

Annabel Lee | Joan Baez

Sweet Amaryllis | Cecile Corbel

East Virginia | Joan Baez

if you have any suggestions for traditional ballads sung by women about women, feel free to add or ask me to add! painting is of Britomart from Spenser’s Faerie Queene

Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ Reimagined As A Collection Of Novels

A lot of people have asked me when I was going to get round to making a Joni Mitchell album-as-books print. Well, that day has arrived - here’s the wonderful ’Blue’ reimagined as a collection of classic Penguin and Pelican paperback books.

This print is available now in the Standard Designs Etsy Shop.