"What Folksongs Tell Us About Work in Wisconsin," by Jim Leary

New Berlin Public Library
15105 Library Lane
New Berlin, Wisconsin 53151
Jennifer Webb
(262) 785-4980

People have often relied on songs to express their experiences as workers and human beings. Rural and urban, blue collar and white collar, of indigenous and immigrant heritage, Wisconsin’s culturally and linguistically diverse peoples have sung songs while they work. What can we learn about class, culture, and work from these songs? This talk includes historic and contemporary field and studio recordings of Irish and French Canadian lumberjacks, Finnish and Croatian miners, Potawatomi and Norwegian ironworkers, Italian and Mexican farmhands, and Polish and Hmong factory workers to illustrate continuity, change, and commonality in the folksongs of Wisconsin’s workers.

Funded project of the Wisconsin Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.