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Friday, February 17, 2012

Oh Shenandoah


One of my favorite songs in the world is "Oh Shenandoah." I posted another version of the same song two years ago, but did not explain why I love it.

I grew up in a musical family, and long evenings hearing my Mother's family sing this song and many others is a cherished memory. It always reminds me of home and the Blue Ridge and Alleghany mountains.
(my Mom and I on my parent's deck overlooking the Blue Ridge mountains)

Here are the University of Richmond Octaves performing this beautiful song:



Here is some history (thanks for Wikipedia, natch):
The lyrics may tell the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell of a pioneer's nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia, or of a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War, dreaming of his country home in Virginia. The provenance of the song is unclear.

The song is also associated with escaped slaves. They were said to sing the song in gratitude because the river allowed their scent to be lost.

The Shenandoah area made many parts like wheels and seats for wagons going west. These parts were assembled in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and settlers set out in Conestoga wagons down the Ohio River, on the Mississippi and west up the Missouri River. Lyrics were undoubtedly added by rivermen, settlers, and the millions who went west. Sailors also frequently sang this song in the 1880s.

(me at Humpback Rocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway)
Lyrics:
Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you, Away you rolling river.
Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you,
Away, I'm bound away, 'cross the wide Missouri.

Oh Shenandoah, I love your daughter, Away, you rolling river.
For her I'd cross, Your roaming waters,
Away, I'm bound away, 'Cross the wide Missouri.

'Tis seven years, since last I've seen you, And hear your rolling river.
'Tis seven years, since last I've seen you,
Away, we're bound away, Across the wide Missouri.

Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you, And hear your rolling river.
Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you,
Away, we're bound away, Across the wide Missouri.



Do you have a favorite song, that reminds you of home?

2 comments:

  1. Virginia is so beautiful! I love that song too. :)

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  2. Such a gorgeous song! I grew up hearing it and singing it too (Go Virginia Girls!) I have to say one of the other songs that reminds me of home in a broader sense is Georgia On My Mind and Wagon Wheel because the bring me right down south even though we're still living in NY

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