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Postcards from the Edge

Regulars | By Mary Kenny | Summer 2017


It's broken hearts and trailer parks for me

Mary Kenny on the down-home cultural appeal of American song lyrics

When I was diagnosed with a chronic bronchial disorder back in 2011 (yes, the wages of sin – ciggies), I was advised to start singing a lot more. Singing opens the airwaves and exercises the pulmonary fields: whistling, which hardly anyone does any more, is an even better breathing exercise. And attending Singing for Breathing sessions in the Dover area has been altogether instructive on a number of levels. It is said that in Britain the upper-middle classes identify with Continental European values – having those second homes in the Dordogne or Chiantishire – while more ordinary folk identify with American culture. And the songs chosen for our Singing for Breathing exercises surely illuminate the power of American down-home culture sentiments. These lyrics and melodies are engraved in the collective psyche, and tell stories that resonate deeply with ordinary people. ‘Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’/On this our weddin’...

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