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Voices, Spring-Summer 2010:
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Voices Spring-Summer 2010

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Volume 36
Spring-Summer
2010
Voices

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Features

3

The Vodou Kase: The Drum Break in New York Temples and Dance Classes
by Lois E. Wilcken


10 Saint Rip
by John Thorn


18 Diego Obregón: Innovation and Tradition Flow from Colombia to Queens
by Gabrielle Hamilton and Naomi Sturm


23 The Grateful Terrorist: Folklore as Psychological Coping Mechanism
by Trisha L. Smith, Grafton Eliason, Jeff L. Samide, Adrian Tomer, and Mark Lepore


30 North by Northeast: NYFS Celebrates Mohawk and Tuscarora Traditions
by Lisa Overholser


Departments and Columns
16 Upstate: North Country on the Rocks!
by Varick A. Chittenden


17 Downstate: Dreams and Money
by Steve Zeitlin


22 Songs: Get Ready for the Civil War
by Dan Milner

28 Still Going Strong: Brewmaster
by Paul Margolis

29 Good Spirits: Orbs and Avatars
by Libby Tucker


35 Play: The Last Resort
by John Thorn

36 In Praise of Women: Maria Yoon
by Eileen Condon

37 Books to Note


Cover: Dancer, choreographer, and teacher Pat Hall performing in Tokyo, July 2007
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 freedom of 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 temples.

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.

Gabrielle 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 feedback.

Eileen Condon
Acquisitions Editor
New York Folklore Society



 






Hall and Destin explore the dimensions of yanvalou

Joseph Jefferson (1829-1905) as Rip in a 1869 photograph by Napoleon Sarony

Diego Obregon performing

Sue Ellen Hearne next to items displayed in the North by Northwest exhibition

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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