By Victor R. Greene
A making a song Ambivalence undertakes a accomplished exam of the ways that 9 immigrant teams - Irish, Germans, Scandinavians, jap ecu Jews, Italians, Poles, Hungarians, chinese language, and Mexicans - replied to their new lives within the usa via song. each one group's songs show an abiding challenge over leaving their household and place of birth and an nervousness approximately adjusting to the hot society. yet accompanying those emotions was once an pleasure in regards to the chances of changing into prosperous and approximately looking ahead to a democratic and loose society. distinctive historian Victor Greene surveys an in depth physique of songs of identified and unknown origins that touch upon the issues immigrants confronted and divulges the wide variety of responses they made to the novel adjustments of their new lives in the USA. His collection of lyrics offers precious drugs of expression that make clear the ways that immigrants outlined themselves and staked out their claims for reputation in American society. yet no matter what their universal and particular subject matters, they demonstrate an ambivalence over their coming to the United States and a pessimism approximately reaching their pursuits. A making a song Ambivalence examines the typical sentiments of recent immigrants to the us, whereas even as conveying from a cultured standpoint how immigrants expressed their hopes and problems via a different medium - tune. this can be a major quantity that may be welcomed by way of students of song and U.S. immigration historical past.
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Additional info for A Singing Ambivalence: American Immigrants Between Old World and New, 1830-1930
To the delight of contemporary Irish and the pleasure of all Americans, the popularity of and indeed the fascination with that rich repertoire of ballads and dance continue down to the present. Thus it is no wonder that Irish song has clearly conveyed emotional feelings about the various aspects of the group’s immigrant experience. Whether lyrics describe the traumatic departure from home, family, and loved ones simultaneously with the need for leaving; the physical and psychological ordeal of crossing the Atlantic; or the hardships of settling in the United States, another potentially hostile Anglo-Protestant society, the Irish vocalized about it in song.
One sibling asks God to help him convince his brother to leave and for them both to oﬀer some rationale to their dear parents to ease their sad parting. The anguish of the two youths is obvious. They ﬁnally oﬀer two justiﬁcations that most actual emigrants felt. One is, as in “Muss I Denn,” the greater income potential, or “gold,” in America, while the other is the intolerable slavery at home. 13 In any event, clearly their departure, while necessary, is fraught with bitterness and pain. Two of the most popular German emigrant songs from the s through the early s include the conﬂicting mental pressures that earlier lyrics articulate with a greater stress on the attractions for agrarians of new land.
47 With some distinctive exceptions, the corpus of German emigrant songs oﬀer a similar complexity of hope, resignation, and reservation about a new life in the United States. The Germans “Kultur” and Complexity In their attempt to ﬁnd generalizations that would apply to all immigrants, some students, such as the earlier migration historians, might consider that the nineteenth-century exodus of Europeans to North America was a movement of peoples who had similar migration experiences, adjustments, and attitudes.
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