Annie Barthlomew “Mountain Dove Song”

Photo: Julie Shelton

Annie Bartholomew recently recorded her debut album ‘Sisters of White Chapel‘ (out on June 16th) which is a folk opera about the roles of women in the 19th century Klondike gold rush.  It’s an impressive release, there’s a full review here.  Annie Bartholomew did a lot of archival research whilst writing the songs and the play they accompany, and was inspired by one particular piece in the Klondike Nugget newspaper entitled ‘A Short But True Story’—about a woman who loses her provisions on the journey to the Klondike and has to make the difficult choice to enter sex work.  This gave her the core storyline and opened the door to a whole world of hidden history as she found that in turn of the century Alaska there were the stories of women escaping abusive marriages, women seeking rich husbands and economic opportunity, those changing their identity to work as dancehall girls (women paid to dance with men) or other sex-work, and gals playing banjos and mandolins. “Presenting these women as complex, whole people is important to me,” she says

Today’s song is the latest single from it, and reflects on the lives after the boom which had seen many women become sex workers –   Annie Bartholomew gave some background to the song saying “I was inspired by many stories of women, but especially Maude Parrish who brought her banjo to the Yukon at 19, escaping a bad marriage in San Francisco. Maude’s roommate was a Dawson City sex worker, and I tried to imagine the life of her cabin mate in this piece.

About Jonathan Aird 2747 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
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