Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception

While author Maggie Stiefvater does not rework any traditional ballads in the telling of her story, she does pay homage to Irish songs and the power of music in the life of the fae. Thomas the Rhymer makes a guest appearance as well as does mention of the ballad telling his tale.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Robert Johnson and the Crossroads

"What's up man?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said. "I've just got a feeling."

"Like what kind of feeling?"

"Crossroads," he said.

What's that mean?

"There was this blues dude -- Robert Johnson--got to the crossroads, met the devil, and they struck up a deal. Sold his soul to the devil for some guitar licks."


Jonesy stood up and tucked the Bible under his arm. "I'm just wondering if I need to strike me up a deal," he said.

From Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers, Scholastic Press, 2008, page 28.

I have been running into the folklore of Johnson and his meeting with the devil at the crossroads quite frequently lately, particularly in the research I did for Stories from Songs. Possibly the most interesting contemporary reworking of this legend can be found in the manga Me and the Devil Blues: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson, Volume 1 by Akira Hiramoto (Del Rey, 2005, English translation by David Ury, 2008). Highly recommended.

Gypsy Laddie

One of my favourite artists, Arthur Rackham, illustrates one element of the story of the Gypsy Laddie/Gypsy Davy. I am presently working this ballad into a tellable tale for the presentation I am doing early in June.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Perspectives on Centemporary Legend Conference

I will be presenting a session on "A Tragic Love Story: The Tale of the Ballad of "The Gypsy Laddie"/"Gypsy Davy" on June 4, 2009 at the Perspectives on Contemporary Legend Conference held this year in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

This presentation is based on research I did for my newest publication Stories from Songs: Ballads as Literary Fictions and is related, to the presentation that I made at the Perspectives on Contemporary Legend conference held in Copenhagen three years ago.