Saturday, September 08, 2007

Robin Hood in History, Legend, and Ballad

Dr. Kaung's Salon: Friday, September 14, 7:10pm* to 8:30pm
Space 7:10 at Kefa Cafe
in downtown Silver Spring

*Regulars, please note new official start time. Feel free to come earlier to greet, meet, and eat.

These days, the medieval English outlaw Robin Hood is mostly known through films and TV adaptations. Previous generations of English and American children know Robin from his appearances in books. Much earlier, Robin Hood was a character in English poems, songs, and plays that began to appear in the middle ages and were well known by the fourteenth century. In this presentation, Stephen Winick will discuss the weird, wild world of these Robin Hood ballads and plays: Robin's birth on the wrong side of a noblewoman's bed; his deeds both good and questionable; his savage battle with the bestial Guy of Gisbourne; his meetings with Little John, Friar Tuck, and Maid Marian; and his death, foretold in ancient Celtic fashion by a 'washer at the ford.' Steve will sing his own settings of several Robin Hood ballads, including a few that are almost never sung. Along the way, he'll discuss interpretations of these legends: some think they grew up around a historical figure, while others claim they have roots in pre-Chrsitian English myth. Are they both--or neither?

Dr. Stephen D. Winick studied medieval literature at Columbia University before earning his PhD in Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, and now works as the writer and editor for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. A well-known music journalist in the field of British and Celtic folk music, he serves as a contributing editor to Dirty Linen magazine. Dr. Winick has presented workshops on Robin Hood at several Washington, DC area folk festivals, has attended the International Robin Hood Conference, and has published scholarly essays on the Robin Hood legend. A traditional-style folk singer, he sings mostly in pubs and informal sessions, but has appeared as a guest vocalist with The Poor Clares, Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra, and other Celtic groups, and has recently joined the Ship's Company Chanteymen.