Two Sisters added to the Songs Page

I have just posted the lyrics of The Two Sisters on the Songs page of this site, because it is a song I have recently relearned and want to share it with you all.

I used to sing it when I was involved with the Vancouver Folk Song Society, an organization that has been meeting twice a month since 1958, sustaining a nourishing environment for people who love to sing folk songs. As I am working on initiating some sort of new folk music organization here in Ottawa I have been thinking of this group and how valuable it was in my life.

I learned from the singers of the VFSS that it is possible, indeed desirable, to sing unaccompanied, letting the pure beauty of the melody convey the words and tell a story, without the distraction of instrumentation. This style also allowed me to develop as a singer in a way that had not until then been possible. Before my exposure to this kind of singing I had sung along with the guitarists, who determined the songs we sang and the keys in which we sang them. While this practice helped me learn to harmonize, it was the singing of traditional ballads and other folk songs that gave me the power to choose and learn my own material, singing the songs in the right key and tempo for me. Traditional folk songs gave me a voice of my own.

Apart from the drama of the story, there is another reason I love singing songs like this in groups: the repeating chorus every other line, over the course of a long song, induces a kind of trance in me when I participate, either leading or following along. It is the closest I get to religious experience and it is accessible to everyone, regardless of belief or spiritual path.

I hope our idea of a new folk music project blossoms into something that can nurture the singing and playing of others, as I was nurtured in the early 1970s by the Vancouver Folk Song Society and its regular gatherings.


About Maura Volante

Maura Volante is a talented and experienced performer. Although she has written many songs over the years, her main focus these days is traditional folk songs. These are songs that have stood the test of time and have an enduring quality that speaks directly and clearly to the human experience. They also tell us about our history. Because these songs are not commonly sung in these post-folk-revival times in which folk music generally means singer-songwriter material, Maura has taken on the project of helping to keep this valuable material alive. Her specialty is Canadian folk songs, but she knows many songs from the British Isles and the USA as well. All her concerts and other programs are designed with group singing in mind. Whether in a concert, a tour, a social gathering, a classroom, a festival or a conference hall, Maura creates an encouraging atmosphere, relaxed and inclusive. She uses her strong voice and facilitation techniques to bring out the best possible music with these voices in this moment. Maura firmly believes that everyone can sing and, moreover, that everyone has a right to sing and be part of group singing activities, without judgement or criticism. No matter what the various skill levels of participants may be in any group singing activity, it always sounds good in a group, because the voices naturally attune with each other. Maura also teaches and calls contra dancing and simpler forms of traditional dancing suitable for all ages, often incorporating group singing into the dancing through the use of play party songs, which are sung by the whole group as they dance.
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