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Sing Out The News: A Social History of the Broadside Ballad


Saturday, February 22, 2014


2:30pm to 4:30pm





The Ash Grove Music Foundation Presents:                                                                                                                                                                     In the days before radio and television, the news was broadcast by word of mouth. Often the word became lyrics, and the voice became song.   In Britain, Ireland and North America these songs were called Broadside Ballads. The centuries-long tradition of the broadside ballad may be swamped by the mass media bombardment of infotainment and talking heads. But in this brief encounter at the public library you will learn the history and hear that the tradition is still an integral part of the peoples’ response to the news and events of the day.

Ross Altman is probably the most prolific, literate, experienced, politically active, and excellent topical singer/songwriter in Los Angeles today. With a Ph.D. in English literature, he traded his professorship for a life as a political folksinger and music historian of left movements. If there’s been a cause that needed a song, Ross has been on the spot with lyric and tune. Writing in traditions ranging from Woody Guthrie to Tom Paxton, this "singer-songfighter’s" songs always have something to say.

Len Chandler is a singing hero of the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements. He sang with Joan Baez and Bob Dylan at the historic March on Washington, fifty years ago, in 1963. His song, "Green, Green Rocky Road", can be heard today in