Oregon Folk Music
Culture & Music
The displacement and theft of Indigenous people and lands—combined with the exclusion of Black Americans—have left tragic voids in the culture and music of early Oregon. The logging and fishing songs of white settlers were not documented, and hence the 1941 ballads written by Woody Guthrie remain some of the earliest songs that reflect both the ideals and complexity of the state.
Later, the sawmill and logging songs of the band Timberbound and the fishing ballads of Astorians such as Hobe Kytr and Mary Garvey vividly depicted the history and tragedy of the region’s extractive industries.
In this adaptable workshop program, developed over two decades of study and performance, Joe Seamons presents the story of these Northwest Oregon performers and their songs. In the process, participants are invited to reflect and discuss the nature of Pacific Northwest character, whiteness, and colonization.
Participants are encouraged to reflect upon the role of the harvester as a protector of the resources they harvest. For schools where logging, fishing, or sawmill industries provide jobs, students learn to connect their own communities’ stories with this young tradition of folk songs. Read more about the Layers of Heritage on our blog.
for ages 12 and up
Virtual or in person
duration 60 - 120 minutes as desired
Sliding Scale $0-$100
Facilitated by Joe Seamons
Available by request