Cover: Dancer, choreographer, and
teacher Pat Hall performing in Tokyo,
July 2007. Photo: Koichiro Saito
|FROM THE EDITOR|
From the Spring-Summer
2010 issue of Voices:
This issue of Voices
offers readers a cornucopia
of food for deep
thoughts on New York.
We experience the transcendent
Vodou dancing in the
city, survey the shape-shifting history of
Rip van Winkle stories, and wend our way
through the psychological landscape of a
post-9/11 urban legend. We also encounter
Afro-Colombian music in Queens and Native
New York handcrafts.
In “The Vodou Kase: The Drum Break
in New York Temples and Dance Classes,”
participant-observer Lois Wilcken examines
kase, a drum pattern associated with spirit
possession. She compares transcendent
experiences in Brooklyn dance classes to
possession during the rites of Afro-Haitian
Vodou. Wilcken argues that experiences of
transcendence or possession related to the
kase vary, but they exist along a continuum,
whether they occur in dance studios or in
In “Saint Rip,” Voices’ Play columnist
and author John Thorn offers an erudite
and thought-provoking exploration of the
origins and concentric reappearances of
the Rip van Winkle story and its key motifs,
in New York State and beyond.
Hamilton and Naomi Sturm take us into the
Queens apartment of marimba maker and
player Diego Obregón for a chat with the
artist about currulao dancing and drumming
and his experiences as a craftsman, instrumentalist,
and composer within this tradition.
In “The Grateful Terrorist: Folklore
as Psychological Coping Mechanism,” a
group of psychologists and counselors—Trisha Smith, Grafton Eliason, Jeff Samide,
Adrian Tomer, and Mark Lepore—explore
urban legend texts and folklore scholarship
to offer their own thoughtful meditation on
the psychological functions of a legend that
surfaced after the events of September 11,
2001. Stories like this one depict a suspected
terrorist as neither essentially evil nor good.
The terrorist responds to an act of kind
treatment in a grocery store, later providing
his helper with a cryptic, protective warning,
alluding to terrorist acts in the near future.
The authors argue that this urban legend
and other stories like it can simultaneously
reduce anxiety and stir up fear—while
sustaining belief in a just world—in the
immediate aftermath of large-scale trauma.
Finally, New York Folklore Society’s staff
folklorist Lisa Overholser reports highlights
from the September 2009 celebratory opening
of North by Northeast, a monthlong exhibition
of basketry and beadwork by New
York Akwesasne Mohawk and Tuscarora
artists. The exhibition took place in Schenectady
and included an opening lecture, a
film screening and panel discussion, and an
interactive music and dance performance
by the Mohawk women’s singing group,
Kontiwennenhá:wi : Carriers of the Words.
As always, Voices welcomes readers’ responses
to what we print, in the form of
articles, photo essays, artist profiles, regular
columns, and more—or share your thoughts
in a letter to the editor. We look forward to your
New York Folklore Society
|Spring–Summer 2010, Volume 36:1–2|
Acquisitions Editor Eileen Condon
Managing Editor Sheryl A. Englund
Design Mary Beth Malmsheimer
Printer Eastwood Litho
Editorial Board: Varick Chittenden, Lydia Fish,
José Gomez-Davidson, Nancy Groce,
Lee Haring, Bruce Jackson, Libby Tucker, Kay
Turner, Dan Ward, Steve Zeitlin
Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore
is published twice a year by the
New York Folklore Society, Inc.
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