Western Folklore

Vol. 74 No. 1 – Winter, 2015


DJs and the Production of “Gypsy” Music: “Balkan Beats” as Contested Commodity
Carol Silverman

ABSTRACT: In the 1990s, clubs in Western Europe featuring remixed Romani music began to drawn large crowds of young people. This article analyzes the production of this soundscape, often trademarked as “Balkan Beats,” by a growing DJ subculture, comprised of dozens of performers on five continents. Focusing on the most famous DJ, Shantel, I explore musical marketing via issues of representation and political economy. I highlight the tenuous position of Roma in this music scene where non-Roma dominate as artists, producers, and consumers. Appropriation provides a critical lens to investigate Shantel’s claims to hybridity and multiculturalism via his mythical personal history. KEYWORDS: Roma, gypsies, Balkan, music, appropriation

Women Artists Recycling the Skull: New Bone Gang Traditions in Post-Katrina New Orleans
Leslie A. Wade

ABSTRACT: The centuries-old practice of the skull and bone gangs, a New Orleans African-American folkloric practice, has been taken up and reconstituted by white female artists, in particular in the post-Katrina work of Joy Gauss and Claudia “Mardi Claw” Gehrke. This essay explores the city’s evolving culture, in changes that are both troubling and encouraging, that suggest new possibilities for a re-envisioned 21st-century New Orleans. KEYWORDS: Mardi Gras, New Orleans, women artists, skull and bone gangs, African American folklore

The Kosher Con Game: Who's Keeping Kosher in Prison?
Steve Siporin

ABSTRACT: A neo-Nazi, white supremacist gets booked in a Utah county jail and immediately requests kosher meals. This may sound like the opening line of a Jewish joke, but these words describe an actual event. What’s more, five out of six kosher meals served in prison today are served to non-Jews, so such a seemingly bizarre request is far from unique. What’s going on? Is keeping kosher a new prison fad? Part of the answer lies in a folk belief current among incarcerated populations. KEYWORDS: prison, Jewish, kosher, foodways, food


Lynne S. McNeill, Folklore Rules: A Fun, Quick, and Useful Introduction to the Field of Academic Folklore Studies
Reviewed by Martine Stephens

Shirley Moody-Turner, Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation
Reviewed by Jerrilyn McGregory

Trevor J. Blank, The Last Laugh: Folk Humor, Celebrity Culture, and Mass-Mediated Disasters in the Digital Age
Reviewed by Peter M. Robinson

Mariya Lesiv, The Return of Ancestral Gods: Modern Ukrainian Paganism as an Alternative Vision for a Nation
Reviewed by Amy Hale

Eric A. Eliason and Tom Mould, Latter-Day Lore: Mormon Folklore Studies
Reviewed by Stephen C. Taysom

Jason Baird Jackson with Mary S. Linn, Yuchi Folklore: Cultural Expression in a Southeastern Native American Community
Reviewed by Sean Patrick O'Neill

Carol Crown and Cheryl Rivers, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 23: Folk Art
Reviewed by James Deutsch

Elizabeth Tucker and Ellen McHale, New York State Folklife Reader: Diverse Voices
Reviewed by Susan Eleuterio

Pauleena M. MacDougall, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm and Her Quest for Local Knowledge, 1865-1946
Reviewed by Kent C. Ryden

Diane Pecknold, Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music
Reviewed by Peter B. Lowry