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First Published in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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Bart Plantenga is a widely published author, having written journalism, fiction, and non-fiction. His writings have appeared in Reggae, Rasta Revolution: Jamaican Music from Ska to Dub , and he has contributed to many musical and pop culture journals, including the American Music Research Center Journal. He lives in Amsterdam.Review:
The hills are alive with the ululations of centuries of yodelers, whose echoes persist undyingly. Bart Plantenga shows how yodeling, which may be encoded in our DNA, is humanity's most open secret, linking Swabian and Farsi, mountain and atoll, cowboy and jazzbo. Like an errant carnival ride, his book is fun, head-spinning, and ontologically profound. -- Luc Sante
How did an ancient Swiss mountain tradition evolve into an American country-music staple? That's only one of the questions Plantenga seeks to answer in his solid, exhaustive look at yodeling, a high-pitched ululation good for herding cows, marketing Tarzan, and inflicting Martian brain melt in a Tim Burton film. Moving beyond the kitsch factor, the author credits Jimmie Rodgers, the tubercular Singing Brakeman, for siring Nashville's infatuation with this Alpine cry; notes that real cowboys probably didn't yodel before Gene Autry; and tracks the warble as far as Bollywood and New Zealand. Grade: B
. -- Entertainment Weekly
For 150-year-old academic publisher Routledge, a major release is usually a heavy classroom tome. But this fall it found itself with an uncharacteristic hit: Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World ($20), by radio deejay Bart Plantenga, which has attracted an audience of hipsters that, says Marketing Director Frederic Nachbaur, has helped it sell more copies than many Routledge titles do in an entire run. The book traces the singing style to such unlikely places as Central Africa and Mexico, and dishes on its various adherents. Everyone from Sly and the friggin' Family Stone, the Fugees, De La Soul . . . to even the Velvet Underground have used yodels, Plantenga says.
. -- Washington Post
Writing like the manic, gonzo son of Nick Tosches, Plantenga here crams into his text just about everything one would ever want to know and then some about yodeling and yodelers. A DJ and amateur musicologist, he intends to trace yodelingfrom its Swiss origins to the upper registers of country, funk, folk, and pop, among other genres. As a thoroughly entertaining, throttle-at-the-red-line ride through the history of the various discrete styles of yodeling, this book scores a ton of points. The bibliography is thorough, and the annotated listening lists are highly eclectic and full of insight. Highly recommended for all public libraries and for academic libraries with significant popular culture or world music collections
. -- Library Journal Reviews, Nov. 2003, James E. Perone
Solid, exhaustive look at yodeling. Alanna Nash, Entertainment Weekly
. -- Alanna Nash, Entertainment Weekly
Plantenga cracks the secret history of yodeling wide open
. -- Vanity Fair, Dec. 2003
Both a serious study of the history of yodeling, and a fun look at how this unique sound has worked its way into popular culture...promises to be a classic for fans of music and pop culture
. -- BookSense, Dec. 2003
The British-Irish folk music/American country link is common knowledge, but the provenance and, goddammit, appeal of the yodel in country (and, claims, Plantenga, rap, reggae, ambient and rock music) remains a mystery. Tackling his subject manfully and opting for humor over academia, he wrangles it into a Rough Guide-like format, with pull-outs on key figures and artifacts and a useful glossary (epiglotissary?) of terms
. -- Sylvie Simmons, Mojo Magazine
Like its subject, this history of the yodel is both goofy and heroic. Plantenga unearths loads of historical data about the yodel, from its origins in Appalachia to its secret presence in modern pop, with stops in Germany, Latin America (where Tarzan's yell receives an entertaining sidebar) and, of course, American country music. Plantenga's style is breezy and ingratiating and he wisely refuses to treat yodeling or yodelers as a joke. An excellent treatment of an underdiscussed subject
. -- Michaelangelo Matos, Rolling Stone Magazine
It is all fascinating reading. -- Matt Rogalsky, Musicworks
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