Paper Title

Challenging Folk Icons - Rewriting Woody and Santeri

Presenter Information

Oren Tikkanen

Location

Fisher 127

Event Website

http://www.finnforumx.com/

Start Date

12-4-2014 11:20 AM

End Date

12-4-2014 11:40 AM

Description

Woody Guthrie’s song, “The 1913 Massacre,” written around 1940-41, has become something of a folk anthem for progressives, leftists, and labor supporters. It depicts the Italian Hall Disaster of December 24, 1913, in a plainspoken and colorful way, but has been (rightfully) described as “deeply flawed historically.” Much like Guthrie’s English-language folk songs, Finnish immigrant Santeri Mäkelä had a major impact on capturing the working-world around him. Mäkelä’s lyrics for the “Kaivantomiehen Laulu (The Miners’ Song)” were first published in Hancock, 1909, in “Uusi Työväen Laulukirja (The New Workers’ Songbook),” and was probably sung widely by Finnish strikers during the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike. Leading up to, and during this Strike Centennial year, there have been renewed performances of the song, both in Finland and the United States—but only in the original Finnish language. This presentation will delve into the accuracy, history, and lyrics of these two important, but historically problematic labor songs.

Presenter Bio

Tikkanen, a native of Calumet, Michigan, is a retired clinical social worker and now devotes most of his time to playing Finnish and Upper Peninsula ethnic music, traditional jazz, and other folk music. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in social sciences and communication from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan, and two years of post-master’s study in communication and humanities at Michigan Technological University. Over the past 20 years, he has written extensively about Finnish folk music for the Finnish American Reporter and the New World Finn. For the past five years has written, produced, and hosted “The Red Metal Radio Show,” a live annual broadcast from the Calumet Theatre featuring the history, culture, and humor of the Copper Country, and in 2013 focusing on the story of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike.

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Apr 12th, 11:20 AM Apr 12th, 11:40 AM

Challenging Folk Icons - Rewriting Woody and Santeri

Fisher 127

Woody Guthrie’s song, “The 1913 Massacre,” written around 1940-41, has become something of a folk anthem for progressives, leftists, and labor supporters. It depicts the Italian Hall Disaster of December 24, 1913, in a plainspoken and colorful way, but has been (rightfully) described as “deeply flawed historically.” Much like Guthrie’s English-language folk songs, Finnish immigrant Santeri Mäkelä had a major impact on capturing the working-world around him. Mäkelä’s lyrics for the “Kaivantomiehen Laulu (The Miners’ Song)” were first published in Hancock, 1909, in “Uusi Työväen Laulukirja (The New Workers’ Songbook),” and was probably sung widely by Finnish strikers during the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike. Leading up to, and during this Strike Centennial year, there have been renewed performances of the song, both in Finland and the United States—but only in the original Finnish language. This presentation will delve into the accuracy, history, and lyrics of these two important, but historically problematic labor songs.

http://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/copperstrikesymposium/Schedule/Saturday/19