Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sankey's hymns - "Scottish and Irish in its construction"

Last week I was up at the annual Keswick at Portstewart convention, with about 1000 people in a big tent. The event has been going for over 100 years every summer. The bookstall people were doing a bargain offer on a book about the American evangelist DL Moody, for just £1. How could I resist?

Moody’s musical partner was Ira D Sankey, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and their music made a vast impact worldwide. Here’s a few pics of pages from the book, recalling the observations of a Glasgow journalist on Moody & Sankey’s d├ębut in Scotland in the 1870s. Now bear in mind that Scotland had never heard this kind of sacred music before. And it was in its own way scandalous as it introduced a 'new' sacred musical style different from the Psalmody tradition. But, like the Wedderburns before in 1520s Scotland, Sankey’s hymnwriting bore the recognisable hallmarks of popular folk music:

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