This product was added to our catalog on Friday 26 February, 2010.
n the nineteenth century, for all practical purposes, everyone sang—they had to! The ability to amuse one’s self and others was an essential skill in a world without recorded sound. We have largely lost this willingness (and, to a lesser extent, ability) to sing: it’s a double-punch: the need has disappeared, and the singing we hear on a daily basis is produced not by “folks just like us”...but by professionals. This has convinced most people that “they can’t sing.” Those interested in learning—and teaching—what life was like in the past need to incorporate amateur music making into their impressions; but almost all period music available in recordings is either not stylistically correct for the mid-19th century and/or far too professional to represent the day-to-day singing of average people.
Kevin (“Pat”) McDermott is a professional singer who has devoted a large part of his career to researching and performing social, domestic, and pastime music of the 17th through 19th centuries. He has been retained by many museums and restorations (including Old Sturbridge Village; Historic Hudson Valley; Plimoth Plantation; The Paul Revere House and The Constitution Museum among others) to perform this amateur repertoire. His decades-long activity as a respected singer in the living oral tradition of Irish traditional music, broad knowledge of the recorded legacy of the core anglo-celtic song repertoire in North America, and intensive research and understanding of the culture of mid-19th century America make his performances—enjoyable in their own right—trustworthy models for others seeking to develop an accurate mid-19th century performance style.
You can hear Mr. M'Dermott's mid-19th century professional singing style on the CD UNION & LIBERTY! Music on the Northern Homefront during the American Civil War.