Born of Fire: Songs of Steel and Industry

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The NewLanders in Oberhausen, Germany, 2008

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Born of Fire: Songs of Steel and Industry was a collaborative project between the NewLanders and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, PA. We were invited to explore the Born of Fire: Valley of Work collection of paintings, prints, and photographs. Then, we searched archives and field recording to find regional folk songs that told the tale of Pittsburgh’s big steel era.

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Bread and Roses – The lyrics of this song were written by James Oppenheim and were inspired by banners that women held during the textile industry strike of 1912, reading “Give us Bread, but Give us Roses!”

To order a Born of Fire: Songs of Steel and Industry CD, visit  WMAA Museum Shop

Longtime friends and musicians Art Gazdik, Paula Purnell, Doug Wilkin and Gerard Rohlf are heading to Germany for the third time, performing Thursday and Friday at the Kokerei Hansa Coking Plant Museum in Dortmund and the LVR Industrial Museum in Oberhausen. The band’s music celebrates Western Pennsylvania, reworking old songs from a time when steel mills offered workers, many of them immigrants, both sustenance and camaraderie. — Pittsburgh Tribune Review

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