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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie) why do some sing in usa accent (64* d) RE: why do some sing in usa accent 09 Nov 18

If you are a collector of fake accents, try listening to Dick van Dyke playing the cockney dustman in 'Mary Poppins'. As someone born and raised in London, am I entitled to shout abuse at him for insulting 'my' culture?   I don't think so. He was just an actor, doing his job to the best of his ability. If I don't like the show he puts on, I'm free to walk away or switch channels.

Another example to consider: Willard White (born and raised in Jamaica) has recorded a highly acclaimed performance as Porgy in Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess'. Good for him! But he's also sung the role of Wotan in Wagner's RingCycle - in German - very creditably. Is this in any way reprehensible? I don't think so. We are talking about show business, not impersonation with intent to defraud.

In fact the clue to unraveling this dilemma is lurking in the first lines of a great many traditional ballads:

'Oh my name is...., and from .... I came'

Anyone who is not telling the literal truth when they sing those lines (or anything similar) is ... wait for it ... ACTING! You do not need to be a legitimate Prince of Denmark to play Hamlet - you just need to learn your craft thoroughly, and then give the part your all when you walk on stage. Same with a song, wherever it came from originally.


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