In brief: If you're interested in worksongs and want to learn more, see more, do more, hear more of them, make a monthly pledge to support the revival!
THANKS TO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE ALREADY SAID YES!
Hello! I’m Bennett Konesni, worksonger. I'm a farmer-rower-jogger-musician. Most people know me as the guy who bellows worksongs in fields, in boats, and on the trail. My vision is a world where music reclaims its place as a practical, joyful tool to help us get our work done better.
Join me for my newest project: The Worksong Project.
It's part documentary, part songbook, part how-to series, and all about exploring productive fun for the pure, simple joy of it.
Lots of the time this project will help me share old and new worksongs, I'll make recordings of me actually doing work and finding songs that fit. Sometimes I'll interview other practitioners to get their songs and their advice (especially old-timers!) Other times I'll highlight a tradition, getting inside what makes it work. Whatever it is, I aim to bring you interesting recordings, with lyrics and historical background, too.
But I need your help to do it!
Worksongs.org has been the main platform for my work collecting these useful songs - it's a site that I run with whatever time and money I can spare. But it's getting expensive.
With a reliable income from your monthly patronage on this platform, I can pay for what I'm already doing, and devote much more time to the project.
The more support we get, the further afield we can go
With each milestone we hit, we’ll explore another part of the world, adding to the archive as we go. New England Worksongs, 'bout magine! Swedish Cow Calls, ja! Tanzanian Jogging Songs? Jambo!
TO BE CLEAR: All of the stuff that comes out of this project will go up for free online. So you don't actually need to do this in order for it to happen. But someone does. How about you?
How I got into this:
As a teenage deckhand aboard tall ships in my home state of Maine, I learned Sea Shanties- the songs sailors use to help lift the anchor and raise the sails. When I began farming in 2001 my coworkers asked me to use those songs to help us weed and harvest crops. And at around the same time my Tanzanian roommate introduced me to his home tradition of singing while jogging: Mchakamchaka. We started a singing-jogging club that is still going.
This led me to research Zulu musical farming in South Africa and write a thesis about it.
After which I was awarded a Thomas J Watson Fellowship to research worksongs in a dozen countries. How do they work? What makes a great song leader?
This led to a Ted Talk and the amazing experience of starting Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, and even a stint as a Cultural Ambassador for the US State Department, sharing worksongs and traditional music abroad... diplomatically.
Today I use worksongs on my own Duckback Farm, in Belfast, Maine, and teach them to thousands of people at over 100 events each year, from music festivals to farms that want them as a tool to boost their own productivity and morale.
Like it? Want to help make this happen? Click Here to Pitch In!
Here are the types of things that will come with support:
- A patreon-only forum
- Your own mp3 of each song
- PDFs of the lyrics and liner notes for your personal use away from the Interwebs
- AND... know that you have helped support the collection and sharing of worksongs.
Thank you so much for your support.