David Robb Research Seminar Newcastle 2014

David Robb Research Seminar, Newcastle 03/12/14.

4pm, Wednesday 3rd December, Lecture Room 2, Armstrong Building, International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University.

The Mobilizing of the German 1848 Protest Song Tradition in the Context of International Twentieth Century Folk Revivals


In the German folk revival from the 1960s onwards songs of the 1848 Revolution featured largely in the repertoires of folk singers and groups. This happened in the context of the rediscovery of a “democratic” folk song tradition in Germany after the Second World War. This revival was, however, not just the counter-reaction of singers and academics to the misuse of German folk song by the Nazis. Such a shift to a more “progressive” interpretation and promotion of folk tradition was not distinct to Germany and had already taken place in other parts of the Western world. This paper will look firstly at the ideological basis on which the 1848 tradition was reconstructed; secondly how the New Social Movements functioned in providing channels of transmission for this tradition; and thirdly how in this process a collective cultural memory was created whereby the lost songs of the German 1848 Revolution could be awakened from extinction.

To illustrate the process of creative acquisition in the renewal of tradition, textual and musical adaptations of certain 1848 songs will be observed including “Trotz Alledem”, Ferdinand Freiligrath’s translation of Robert Burns’ “A Man’s A Man for a’ that,” which became the most widely recorded song of the German folk revival. Live examples will be performed by Dave Robb.

More info. on our seminar series available here.

A link to Dave Robb’s profile page here.

I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Simon McKerrell.


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