A Heritage of Songs
A Heritage of Songs is Grover's published songbook containing 140 songs that were sung by members of her immediate and extended family, and those learned from neighboring families and visitors to their small community in Sunken Lake, Nova Scotia. Many songs were sung and passed down from both her matriarchal and patriarchal grandparents, and a handful span four and even five generations. Within this collection are folksongs, ballads, sea shanties, slave songs, songs learned in lumber camps, and children's songs. While many of the titles will be familiar to the traditional singer, the melodies sung in Grover's family are a striking contrast to other published versions, and a few songs have never before appeared in print.
When Carrie was 58 years old she returned to Gould Academy, the high school she had attended in 1896, in Bethel, Maine, to work with music teacher, Ann Griggs, who transcribed all 140 songs. Gould Academy published the songbook sometime in 1954 or 1955. It was later republished by Norwood Publication in 1973.
Grover separated the songbook into two categories: Mother's Songs, of which there are 51, and Father's Songs with a total count of 89, although four songs were grouped together under "Songs of Slavery Days". It's interesting that she did it this way, I believe it speaks to the ownership singers asserted over songs within their individual repertoires. She also alludes to a courtesy of not singing a song rightfully 'belonging' to someone else in the family or community, although there are many instances where new songs came into the family repertoire and everyone learned them. Notice at the end of many songs Carrie will give credit to the person who sang that particular song, or tell where or through whom the family learned the song. Her attention to detail and prolific writings point out specific people--relatives and ancestors--who sang the songs in a specific time and place, underscoring centuries of a rich oral tradition that sadly evaporated within Grover's own children's lifetimes.
A Heritage of Songs was created for Grover's grandchildren and great grandchildren to ensure the familial music be passed down as it had been for generations through the oral tradition. Read Ann Griggs' introduction to A Heritage of Songs