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April 18 , 2008

Tales from the Red Book of Tunes

The Stories Behind the Music


Folklorist Jiri Hansom Felding is caught in a web of jigs and reels as she tries to untangle the secrets of the melodies set down in the ancient Red Book of Tunes. The complicated politics of a modern contra dance,  the hopes of the elephant seller’s daughter, and the dangerous myth of the Bramble Hive are all stones in a river of music and dance connecting the players across time and distance.

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“When you’re there, circling around the floor on a Saturday evening with all your mates about, it’s like all the other dancers are there with you. In other halls. In other times. It’s the music what brings it.”

In this collection of interwoven tales, Tyler Johnson takes us across the world, back in time, and into the murky myths where the music was born.


What People Are Saying

“Rare is the writer who is able to spin a tale so rich in the lore of folk music and dance traditions. To do it in a manner that spellbinds and beguiles and gives us meaningful insights into our collective spirit is extraordinary. Highly recommended reading AND playing.”

- Rodney Miller, National Endowment for the Arts Master Fiddler


“An excellent and brilliant debut collection, Tales from the Red Book of Tunes is a must read for anyone who has ever been touched by the power of music.”

- Matthew Peters, author of The Brothers’ Keepers and Conversations Among Ruins


“The stories flowed, sometimes in unexpected ways, and kept me turning pages for more. What fun to find the numerous connections between stories throughout the book. Full of feeling, well-written and entertaining. ”

- Gaye Fifer, folk dance caller

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