Heirloom Records

American History Through Its Songs and Ballads

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Also available on all major music and streaming sites.

I reconnected with Bill in 1981 when I was teaching 5th grade in Lubec. My friend and mentor Diana Becker reminded me that Bill was from Maine and that he worked in schools helping weave folksongs and their makers into history lessons for all ages. I invited him up that year and we hit it off. Bill was 70 and looking for someone to pass his work and knowledge onto. We decided to work together. In 1990 we started an educational consulting business as a non-profit called Traditional Arts in Education. In the late ‘90’s Bill was in a bad accident and could no longer work or perform. In 2001, when CCLC needed to establish itself as a non-profit and it was agreed that we would apply to change the name of Traditional Arts in Education to Cobscook Community Learning Center. The change was accepted by the state and we have operated from work that was established with and from the spirit of this good human being. Bill’s record label, Heirloom Records, was transferred to CCLC. We have distributed them from our website for over a decade.
— Alan Furth, Executive Director of the CCLC

Excerpts from

Bill Bonyun - Folk Singer, Folk Lorist

Coming soon to iBooks.

“It’s happened often.” Bill Bonyun once told me with a laugh.“Someone approaches me on the street, squints at me with a look of curiosity, and asks, “Were you ever in an elementary school in such-a-such county?” I answer, “I was in all of them.”
— Joan Dean

 

In the Fall of 1986, Joan Dean, a student at the University of Vermont, was on a mission. She also had memories of the kind, bearded man with warm eyes, who visited her elementary school in rural Maine when she was a child. He sang, “silly songs,” she writes, and he strongly believed, “Children should be seen, and most especially heard.”

Joan was working on an Independent Study Project in the UVM Anthropology Department that Fall. She wanted to tape record Bill Bonyun about his life’s work. Bill was 75 at the time; she, 25. Bill joked that together they made a century.   

Joan produced a 250 page manuscript, much of it a transcript of the tape recordings. In it, Joan expresses an urgency to record Bill’s story before he died. This is something that “... must be done, by someone,” she writes, “before it is too late.”

"I feel that I have learned a great deal during my time here: about folk music, folklore, collecting and recording, handling the collected material, and about Bill Bonyun himself. This has been a very valuable time for me, and one for which I am deeply grateful to Bill - for making it possible."

Joan Dean
December 17, 1986


Yankee Legend

The story of New England through its songs and ballads. Nineteen songs that have fought wars, chopped down forests, tilled the land, sailed ships, peddled Yankee notions, amused children and fought off the tedium of long New England nights around the hearth.

 

Roll and Go – The Shantyman’s Day Aboard A Yankee Clipper

The story of everyday life aboard a sailing ship; an honest effort to recapture the sounds of shipboard life of a day no longer regularly lived. Here are the sounds of the sea, of men and of the ship itself.

Songs of Yankee Whaling

The story of early New England whaling, brimming with mortal dangers and the satisfaction from a successful chase, with the back breaking labor and love of life which prevailed on the open seas.