I’ve been working on the railroad. Heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go. Six foot, seven foot, eight foot, bunch. Yo ho, blow the man down. Work songs have been around as long as we can tell, in every agrarian culture (past and present) that we can find. Let’s get to work.
The Prompt: sing a song for working. Yours may be a song to be sung while working, or a song about work; it may be for working communally, or for keeping yourself company while you work alone. You may wish to call to mind the deep history that work song has, and join with generations of cloth workers, agricultural harvesters, factory workers, hunters, seamen and women, herders, lumberjills and jacks, miners, street merchants, and/or cowboys and girls. The choice is yours. Get to work!
Here’s an example response from Amado (yours truly), to give you an idea of one approach you may use. This may be taking a fairly narrow interpretation of the Prompt, and that’s on purpose; we encourage you to be as imaginative in your interpretation as you like. Whatever works for you!
It’s good to have options. Here are ways to perhaps make the prompt a bit easier, or ways to go a bit further with it.
Option A: “There’s something I gotta do” – For an easier stretch, let’s go concrete. Thing of some work that you need to do in your life, either something you do regularly/routinely or something you need to do that could use the motivational boost of a soundtrack. Sing that song. If technically feasible, perhaps even try singing while you’re working that task; try, as much as you can, to focus the task at hand and free yourself from any judgement of the singing.
Option B: What Matters the Most – For a deeper stretch, consider what seems to you to be the most important work that needs to be done—by you or by others—in the world, in your country, in the town where you work or live, or in your personal life. Maybe it’s something you’ve never done, or something that nobody knows how to do. But it needs to be done, and in this Option we hereby call upon you to sing the soundtrack that this work needs, to really fuel or encourage it to be done.
The steps are as follows:
- Step 0: Sign up for a free SoundCloud account here. Join the SSS group.
- Step 1: Record yourself singing your song for Working.
- Step 2: Upload to SoundCloud and post the track to the SSS group.
- Step 3: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow singers. (Play nice!)
Deadline: Your tracks should be uploaded by midnight wherever you are on Monday, May 11, 2015.
Length: The length of your finished work should be about two to five minutes, or whatever length you deem necessary to get the job done.
Description: It would be awesome to include a short description of where and when you sang your piece—and how it felt.
Title/Tag: When uploading to SoundCloud, put “[sss-working]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-working” as a tag. This will help us find it.
Group: Once the track is uploaded, click on the “Add to group” button below the waveform and make sure to select the Society for Spontaneous Singing group. (This option will only appear if you have already joined the group! So do that now.)
Linking: You are welcome to include this info in your description:
This track is a reply to “SSS Prompt 15: Sing a song for Working.” More on the Society for Spontaneous Singing at http://singthis.org. You can join the SSS at https://soundcloud.com/groups/society-for-spontaneous-singing
Thank you, sweet singers!