The Music

The traditional music collected by Camp Woodland over its years of operation (from 1939 through 1962) was of English, Irish and Scottish origin, much of it brought to the United States by early settlers. Many of these songs have been included in Folk Songs of the Catskills, edited and annotated by camp musicologists, Norman Cazden and Herbert Haufrecht and camp director, Norman Studer (SUNY Albany Press, 1982).

The authors of Folk Songs of the Catskills conclude that the Catskill music collected at Woodland constitutes “a cultural pocket in respect to its song lore.” The body of collected Catskill ballads and songs shows more resemblance to the repertory found in the lumber woods of Michigan, Ontario, northern New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada than to the traditional music from nearby regions.

Recordings of some of the songs performed at Camp Woodland or at its Folk Festival of the Catskills can be found at the M.E. Grenander Special Collections and Archives, SUNY Albany website. Some examples are listed below.

A late recording of George Edwards evinces the rawness and bite of his singing. Go to minute 21:00 in the recording.

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Campers sing Lather and Shave collected from Etson Van Wagner. Go to minute 7:50 in the recording.

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A special section of the archive has a recording of counselor Hector Angulo teaching Pete Seeger Guantanamera for the first time, and they discuss the lyrics and melody of the song.

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