Click on the picture to hear a clip.Hollerin' is not for the weak of spirit. It's a long-distance communications device, alarm system, karaoke alternative, and slightly questionable method of telling your girlfriend that you're coming over so she should brush her hair. It's also one of the oldest and most exhilarating-sounding methods of communication that I've heard. This compilation of music on Rounder Records documents a contest held in Spivey's Corner, North Carolina between the years of 1969-1975. If you have a history of Hollerin' in your family, please tell me about it! Read some history and listen to excerpts here. It was Leonard Emmanuel, 1971 Hollerin' champion, who said it best: "There was just as much a need of hollerin' as there was of eatin' at that day and time."
This post is part of a series about music that disorients the senses. I've found that some of the most amazing and jarring auditory illusions are not the usual scientifically distilled or synthesized ones, they're often found in folk music and made by people's voices. Of course, in a way, it makes perfect sense - the vocal chords are some of the most complex and advanced musical instruments in existence. They are ubiquitously available, and we've been experimenting with them for longer than any other sound-making implement.