Multimedia Programs: Online or In-Person
Ballad of America Live! multimedia programs entertain, inspire, and inform. In each of the following programs, Matthew Sabatella weaves an engaging narrative through a selection of songs and historic images that illuminate a theme or story from America's past. They can be delivered at live in-person events or in an online format, such as Zoom, GoToWebinar, etc.
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-Our Signature Program-
A Celebration of America's Music:
From Plymouth Rock to Rock & Roll
Take a journey through time and celebrate the multicultural nature of the music of the United States. Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band perform the songs and tell the story that connects traditional folk music, spirituals, fiddle tunes, Appalachian music, ragtime, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, country, bluegrass, and rock & roll. Immigrants, both voluntary and involuntary, have been carrying their musical traditions to the New World since before the United States became an independent nation. New songs and styles emerged from encounters among diverse people and the unique American experience itself. As America changed, grew, and pushed its boundaries, so did the music.
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A Celebration of America's Music: From Plymouth Rock to Rock & Roll can be expanded into the following two 90-minute programs: The Roots of American Music and The Blues and County Roots of Rock & Roll.
The Roots of American Music
Since before the United States declared independence, songs and musical styles were brought to the New World by British colonists, African slaves, and immigrants from different parts of the world. This program features music from colonial America through the ragtime craze in the early twentieth century.
The Birth of Rock & Roll
Songs of Westward Expansion
When the American Revolution ended, the United States was just a narrow strip of land along the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout the nineteenth century, the boundaries of the country expanded as Americans pushed westward in pursuit of land, riches, and adventure. In this program, the songs of the people tell their story. The journey begins in Colonial America and follows the paths of the pioneers, sailors, immigrants, ‘49ers, farmers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, homesteaders, and railroaders who moved the country across the continent and into the twentieth century.
Songs of the American Folk Music Revival
During the twentieth century, successive waves of singers and folklorists became interested in older forms of American music. The folk music revival peaked in the 1960s as the focus on traditional songs gave way to singer/songwriters who were informed by older music but wrote their own songs that addressed issues important for their generation. This program includes plenty of well-known songs by artists including Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, Odetta, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Bob Dylan, and more.
Songs of American Workers
Music has been tied to work at least since the beginning of recorded history. People have sung songs while working. They have sung about work, working conditions, and other issues of concern to workers. This program tells the story of labor in the United States through the songs of workers and labor movements. It includes music of farmers, lumberjacks, slaves, indentured servants, factory workers, railroad workers, coal miners, unions, and more.
Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was a man of remarkable determination, compassion, honesty, humor, and melancholy. This program celebrates the 16th president of the United States through the music he cherished. From a childhood on the American frontier to a presidency that changed the course of history, Lincoln's life unfolds through these Old World, play party, minstrel, campaign, slave, Civil War, and sentimental songs.
All-Time Greatest Hits of American Folk Music
This program is a completely unofficial countdown of the most beloved American folk songs of all time. You'll learn the fascinating stories behind songs you've probably known most of your life. Music from colonial times through the folk music revival of the 1950s and 60s will be included. These are songs that have been handed down, generation after generation. We have the privilege of singing them today and the responsibility of passing them on to future generations.
Songs from America's Wars
This program presents music from American military engagements, including the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and both World Wars.
Singing the American Dream
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
With these words from the Declaration of Independence, the American Dream was set in motion. This program explores the notion of the American Dream in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries through the music of the people.
The Story of the Banjo
How did the banjo, which has roots in West Africa, become a symbol of rural white America? Along the way, the instrument took center stage in America's most popular entertainment form in the mid-19th century and found a home in the Victorian parlor. This program tells the story of the banjo from its African roots through its development in the Caribbean, early history with people in slavery in North America, growth in popularity through blackface minstrel performances, integration into dance and song traditions in Appalachia, and its role in 20th and 21st century ragtime, jazz, folk, old-time, bluegrass, country, popular, and world music.