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Text Box: Songs of English and Scottish Travellers and Gypsies 1965-2005 is the result of a small team—compiled by Mike Yates; musical transcriptions by Elaine Bradtke; editorial assistance by David Atkinson and Malcolm Taylor; audio recordings by Mike Yates.

Norma Waterson said Traveller’s Joy was ". a plain speaking music with real  passion and real humour  at the very heart of what it means, culturally speaking at least, to be English, Scottish or Irish, especially as those notions continue to develop apace."

Traveller's Joy

New Book Celebrates Gypsy Musical Legacy

from the English Folk Dance and Song Society 

Text Box: Traveller's Joy is a celebration of the extraordinary and ultimately unique musical legacy of the Gypsies and Travellers of England and Scotland. 

Caribbean immigrants to Britain during the 1950s and 60s reminded us that shops were barred to ‘coloured’, ‘Irish’, ‘Travellers’, ‘Gypsies’ and ‘dogs’. Travellers and Gypsies experienced equally mindless prejudices, as those experienced by black people at the time.

Its interesting that , like members of the Black Community, Travellers and Gypsies developed a vibrant singing and dancing culture. African Americans translated their experiences of contemporary social exclusions via ‘the Blues’ , ‘Jazz’ and ‘Soul’ music. The people from the Caribbean, particularly those of African heritage, arriving in Britain, related their experiences via Rock Steady, Reggae, Soca and Calypso, music, naming a few cultural outlets. In the case of the Travellers and Gypsies - ‘Traveller’s Joy’, for want of a better description of their music.

The eminent singers and folklorists Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger once wrote that 'the travelling people have become the real custodians of English and Scots traditional song'. No wonder, then, that over the years folk song scholars and collectors have been fascinated by this rich heritage. Mike Yates is no exception and has met and recorded many fine singers from the travelling people of England and Scotland. Examples from their repertoires are presented here. 
	
Traveller's Joy is first and foremost a songbook - a collection of over fifty songs to be learned, sung, and enjoyed by the reader. 

It is not meant to be a scholarly dissertation, though the intention is to portray the singers and their music with honesty and sensitivity. To enhance and complement the texts and musical transcriptions, an accompanying twenty-track CD allows the reader to hear some of the performers themselves. 

In addition, there is an authoritative introductory essay by Mike Yates, along with biographical sketches of the singers, notes on the songs, photographs of the singers and of travelling life, and a bibliography and discography.

Published December 2006.  ISBN -13    978 0 85418 200 8; IBSN -10   0 85418 200 4

WebShop www.efdss.org   Tel.020 7485 2206  Fax. 020 7285 .   E-mail: info@efdss.org
English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 7AY. 

Price £18.50+ £2 p&p (UK only, Overseas rates available on request). Trade rates available

Defying a decades-long push for diversity in America, Sunday mornings can be the most segregated time of the week. Mixed-race congregations are relatively rare, notes University of Texas journalism professor, Robert Jensen. “The churches are a physical manifestation of a much deeper problem,” says Jensen, author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race.

 

Racism and White Privilege.

 

In Jensen's view, a system that denies non-whites their full humanity also keeps whites from fully realizing their own humanity. The key to a truly non-racist society, he says, is to identify and confront liberal platitudes that sometimes conceal the depths of racism.

 

'The Heart of Whiteness'

by Robert Jensen 

 

  Excerpt:

 

It may seem self-indulgent to talk about the fears of white people in a white-supremacist society. After all, what do white people really have to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege? It may be self-indulgent, but it's critical to understand because these fears are part of what keeps many white people from confronting ourselves and the system.

 

The first, and perhaps most crucial, fear is that of facing the fact that some of what we white people have is unearned. It's a truism that we don't really make it on our own; we all have plenty of help to achieve whatever we achieve. That means that some of what we have is the product of the work of others, distributed unevenly across society, over which we may have little or no control individually. No matter how hard we work or how smart we are, we all know -- when we are honest with ourselves -- that we did not get where we are by merit alone. And many white people are afraid of that fact.

 

A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have -- literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable. That fear is not completely irrational; if white privilege -- along with the other kinds of privilege many of us have living in the middle class and above in an imperialist country that dominates much of the rest of the world -- were to evaporate, the distribution of resources in the United States and in the world would change, and that would be a good thing. We would have less. That redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just. But in a world in which people have become used to affluence and material comfort, that possibility can be scary.

 

A third fear involves a slightly different scenario -- a world in which non-white people might someday gain the kind of power over whites that whites have long monopolized. One hears this constantly in the conversation about immigration, the lingering fear that somehow "they" (meaning not just Mexican-Americans and Latinos more generally, but any non-white immigrants) are going to keep moving to this country and at some point become the majority demographically. Even though whites likely can maintain a disproportionate share of wealth, those numbers will eventually translate into political, economic, and cultural power. And then what? Many whites fear that the result won't be a system that is more just, but a system in which white people become the minority and could be treated as whites have long treated non-whites. This is perhaps the deepest fear that lives in the heart of whiteness. It is not really a fear of non-white people. It's a fear of the depravity that lives in our own hearts: Are non-white people capable of doing to us the barbaric things we have done to them?

 

A final fear has probably always haunted white people but has become more powerful since the society has formally rejected overt racism: The fear of being seen, and seen-through, by non-white people. Virtually every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds and hearts and bodies. In our heads, we can pretend to eliminate it, but most of us know it is there. And because we are all supposed to be appropriately anti-racist, we carry that lingering racism with a new kind of fear: What if non-white people look at us and can see it? What if they can see through us? What if they can look past our anti-racist vocabulary and sense that we still don't really know how to treat them as equals? What if they know about us what we don't dare know about ourselves? What if they can see what we can't even voice?

 

I work in a large university with a stated commitment to racial justice. All of my faculty colleagues, even the most reactionary, have a stated commitment to racial justice. And yet the fear is palpable.

 

It is a fear I have struggled with, and I remember the first time I ever articulated that fear in public. I was on a panel with several other professors at the University of Texas discussing race and politics in the O.J. Simpson case. Next to me was an African American professor. I was talking about media; he was talking about the culture's treatment of the sexuality of black men. As we talked, I paid attention to what was happening in me as I sat next to him. I felt uneasy. I had no reason to be uncomfortable around him, but I wasn't completely comfortable. During the question-and-answer period -- I don't remember what question sparked my comment -- I turned to him and said something like, "It's important to talk about what really goes on between black and white people in this country. For instance, why am I feeling afraid of you? I know I have no reason to be afraid, but I am. Why is that?"

 

My reaction wasn't a crude physical fear, not some remnant of being taught that black men are dangerous (though I have had such reactions to black men on the street in certain circumstances). Instead, I think it was that fear of being seen through by non-white people, especially when we are talking about race. In that particular moment, for a white academic on an O.J. panel, my fear was of being exposed as a fraud or some kind of closet racist. Even if I thought I knew what I was talking about and was being appropriately anti-racist in my analysis, I was afraid that some lingering trace of racism would show through, and that my black colleague would identify it for all in the room to see. After I publicly recognized the fear, I think I started to let go of some of it. Like anything, it's a struggle. I can see ways in which I have made progress. I can see that in many situations I speak more freely and honestly as I let go of the fear. I make mistakes, but as I become less terrified of making mistakes I find that I can trust my instincts more and be more open to critique when my instincts are wrong.

 

From The Heart of Whiteness by Robert Jensen. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from City Lights Books.

 

To purchase the book: http://www.npr.org/include/howtosupportnpr.html

 

“It may seem self-indulgent to talk about the fears of white people in a white-supremacist society. After all, what do white people really have to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege?” 

- Robert Jensen

Hidden Racism

in

'The Heart of Whiteness'

Robert Jensen 

Professor of Media Ethics and Journalism at the University of Texas,                    Austin, USA.

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1807-2007

 

Britain Commemorates  the Bicentenary

 of  The Slave Trade Abolition  Act 1807.

 

One of the Black Community’s Contributions -

 

“Cries of Our Kidnapped  Ancestors”

 

 

 

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From “The Kasidah of Hji Abu el-Yezdi”, as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton