This is a collection of songs suitable for a May Day picnic, or any other festive celebration of kindred spirits. The songs, with their memorable melodies, are perfect for singing in a crowd, by yourself, or with family. Some are new, some are old as the hills, all are in the public domain and free to be interpreted, cut-up, performed, arranged, and re-written any way you please. Even the ones as old as the hills can be recreated, made fresh, re-envisioned, and made your own.
These are folk songs. Music by people, for people, made to enjoy live, in flesh and blood. To be played at gatherings with friends and families, at places where people laugh, dance, and cry. Smash that radio and feel the power of a music being created as part of free culture, not as part of some money-making venture. Don’t let music remain shackled by the greed and chains of the spectacle. You are what you sing!
Just a few notes on the songs. Many of the songs are based on old fiddle tunes. They follow a familiar form, split into two melody parts, an A part and a B part, with each repeated twice. If you have several folks sitting in, it’s fun to get a good rhythm going and go around the circle, giving each person the chance at the melody line, or to jazz up a hot solo, on their turn. The same goes for lyrics. Change and adjust everything as you see fit.
Just as you can pick and choose which parts of the songs you want to play, just as you can alter and recreate the songs to make them your own, so with this collection. There is no “official” May Day songbook. Make a May Day music folder if you don’t already have one, and print up the songs you like. Pick your favorites from this collection, and add new songs to your own folder. If you have a song that you think should be included in this collection, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. But please be aware, all songs will be placed in the public domain.
I hope that you enjoy the songs in this collection, and it serves as a starting point to transmit your own messages and feelings. The creation and sharing of live music is an important and vital part of any culture. And all cultures, regardless of godliness or nationality, have to acknowledge the awesome power of the changing of the seasons. Winter has passed. Spring has arrived. The world is reborn!