The Homestead Players, the group that brought Sir Andrew Macphail’s classic The Master’s Wife to the stage a couple of years ago, will give a talk on their next project, on Sunday, September 24th, at the Macphail Homestead. Melissa Mullen, Rob MacLean and Harry Baglole will describe some of their plans for writing a script and staging “Drive Dull Care Away”, a memoir of Sandy Ives’ folksong collecting in Prince Edward Island.
Ives (1925-2009) was one of North America’s pre-eminent folklorists. In the 1950s, while teaching at the University of Maine and singing at local gatherings, he became fascinated by the many references to P.E.I., and in particular the songs of one acid-tongued Islander, Larry Gorman. As a result, he spent several summers here criss-crossing the Island and gathering songs before they faded away. He wrote a book on Gorman, another on a second Island song-maker called Lawrence Doyle, and a third featuring a collection of Island folk songs.
“Drive Dull Care Away” was written some years later and published by Island Studies Press in 1999. This humorous, superbly-written memoir recounts the adventures of a young man with very large recording equipment trying to document this music in electricity-challenged rural Prince Edward Island.
The talk will run 40-50 minutes. It will feature background on Sandy Ives, slides, a short television interview with him, comments on adapting his work for the stage and samples of the music he collected.
More information on Sandy Ives:
“Dr. Edward D. “Sandy” Ives was one of the most respected folklorists in North America. Initially, Sandy Ives came to the Island following, in reverse, the trail of Larry Gorman, who had died in Maine and left a legacy of folksong there. Dr. Ives has written four Island-based books: Larry Gorman: The Man Who Made the Songs; Lawrence Doyle: The Farmer-Poet of Prince Edward Island; Twenty-One Folksongs From Prince Edward Island; and, most recently, Drive Dull Care Away: Folksongs from Prince Edward Island (Institute of Island Studies, 1999). In 1986, he received an honorary doctorate from UPEI. And in 1998, he was awarded the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation’s Award of Honour for lifetime achievement in preserving Island heritage, the first non-Islander to be so recognized.” (The Buzz)