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Americana: A New Voice for a New Nation - Immigrant Songs

This is the fifth concert of a six- part music series on the second Sunday afternoons from May through October 2019.

Each musical performance will include educational and entertaining readings related to the history of that era.

Tickets for each concert are $10 and will be available at the door and on Eventbrite. Stay tuned!

Supported in part by a grant from the Mid Cape Cultural Council.

From the 1880s to about 1918 the United States saw the largest immigration of Europeans in its history. These included many European groups who had not immigrated to the United States in large numbers before this period. Immigrants came from Poland, Slavic countries, Italy, Greece, Hungary, and Finland, among others. Due to persecution of Jews in Russia, many immigrated first to western Europe, then to North America. Some of these new immigrants created city neighborhoods or whole towns of people who spoke the same language. An example is Tarpon Springs, Florida, settled by Greeks during this period. It remains today the city with the largest proportion of Greek inhabitants in the United States. Examples of songs and music of immigrants to Tarpon Springs are included in this presentation. This influx of people bringing cultures and languages different from previous settlers was not wholly welcomed by all Americans, leading eventually to strict immigration quotas after World War I. For the music industry, this wave of new immigrants brought diverse cultures to cities, contributing an array of talent. Immigrants brought talent to collaboration to the vaudeville stage as well as songwriters and publishers to the developing popular music called Tin Pan Alley. Irish and Jewish immigrants were key players in this mix, often collaborating. As sound recording technology developed from rare curiosity to a fixture in American homes, the voices of performers reached a wider audience. Along with this ethnic mix, comic impersonations of ethnic groups also became part of the entertainment. Some artists of these ethnic groups participated, exaggerating their own accents for comic effect.