Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Yodeling Queens

The DeZurik Sisters, a.k.a. "The Cackle Sisters," were a popular singing duo in the 1930's and 40's. They appeared on such radio shows as the Grand Olde Opry, the MidWestern Hayride, and the Checkerboard Time. Their debut was on The National Barn Dance Radio show in 1936.

Mary Jane (b. 1917-1981) and Carolyn DeZurik (b. 1918) were farm girls raised near Royalton, Minnesota. They were two sisters from a large, talented, musical family. Their father played fiddle, their brother accordian and guitar, and several other sisters were also adept singers and yodelers.

I first heard of "The Cackle Sisters" on an NPR program in 2005 that covered their lives and music. To hear the story, and hear a sampling of their songs, click on this link:

The "Cackle Sisters" were unique amongst other yodelers and singers of the time. First, they were the first women to achieve stardom on both the National Barn Dance and Grand Olde Opry shows. Second, their yodeling talents were far ranging. Not only did the sisters incorporate the bleating, cackling, and warbling sound imitations of farm animals, (this is where they earned their nickname-- as they could 'cackle' like hens) but they imitated musical instruments like trumpets, the mandolin, and the Hawaiian guitar. The DeZurik sisters also mastered many yodeling 'tricks,' such as the 'Swiss triple tongue yodel,' 'the cackle trill,' and the 'Hawaiian yodel.'
The 'Cackle Sisters' are not like anything you've ever heard in the world.
Below is one of their very funny songs. I chose it because it's two women singing about the lost love of another woman (I know--not really), but the song also features some classic 'warbling/ chirping sounds.' Enjoy!
The Dezurik Sisters - I Left Her Standing There.mp3

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