Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Laura Week: The Music of Little House

There are 127 songs in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. For anyone who has read them, it's not hard to imagine. Laura's Pa played his fiddle all the time, and we are given snippets of lyrics to songs that were spiritual and folksy and ethnic and a slice of Americana.

There have been a handful of albums dedicated to the music of the books, primarily because it plays such a major role in the stories. It's amazing, but listening to the tunes actually does enhance reading the series even more. When you are just reading lyrics and do not know the melody, it is purely poetry. But put a tune behind it, and the emotion is intensified. Some of the albums focusing on "Little House" music are:

  • 2005's "Happy Land: Musical Tributes to Laura Ingalls Wilder"
  • 2006's "The Arkansas Traveler: Music From Little House on the Praire"
  • 2010's "Pa's Fiddler: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler"

Last year, Dean Butler, who played Almanzo Wilder on the "Little House" television series, produced a PBS special with numerous country stars performing the music. "Pa's Fiddle Project" brings all the classic songs to life:

I just love this clip. The soundtrack was also released as "Pa's Fiddle: The Music of America," and is available on Amazon via download.

Pa's actual fiddle is on display at the museum at Laura's Missouri home. Some day I hope to travel to see it in person!

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