Speakers Bureau

Talks and Living History Presentations for Your Community

The British Ballad Tradition in New England

Image of colonial ballad singerThe traditional British ballads as sung in New England are a rich part of the literary and musical heritage of our region, and yet they are little known today. Although these ancient songs present their often tragic narratives with a high level of poetic artistry, the texts are inexorably wedded to their melodies and must be heard as music to be fully appreciated.

As Robert Frost observed, “The voice and ear are left at a loss what to do with a ballad until supplied with the tune it was written to go with. That might be the definition of a true poem… Unsung, it stays half-lacking.”

Burt Porter, who is a singer and scholar of ballads, presents a program of New England ballads, with a focus on Vermont versions and with a commentary on the history and art of balladry. The ballads are sung without accompaniment which is tradition.

Additional Costs: $75 for mileage.

About the presenter

Image of Burt Porter Burt Porter - Burt holds a BA from the University of Connecticut and a MA from Wesleyan University, and is the author of five books of poetry and a play in verse. See full biography.

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