Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating
National Hollerin’ Day
OORAH! If you instantly heard the distinctive sound of the US Marine battle cry in your head as you read that word, you know the power of a strong, powerful shout. Gentle face-to-face spoken communication is a wonderful thing, but there’s definitely something to be said for a full-throated holler so loud that it leaves rolling echoes behind to prove its point. People across times and cultures have woven the art of hollering into not only their fearsome military battle cries but into their day to day lives. Prior to the advent of phones (and cups attached by strings), communicating long distances was a problem that all humans faced. You might have heard of the Pony Express or Carrier Pigeon as examples of people’s ingenious solutions for long distance communication, but for sheer usefulness, how about the good ol’ fashioned Southern-style holler?
On the surface, giving a good holler seems like something mindless, but the “Hollerin’ Capital of the World” in Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina would like to assure you it’s not. As one champion hollerer of the “National Hollerin’ Contest,” once held annually in Spivey’s Corner, explains, a holler is a controlled sound that rural people used to communicate before the era of phones. Thought to have originated in West Africa and then brought over by enslaved people, Southern-style hollers vary between individuals, but they are designed as a pattern of sounds that send a distinct message. The best hollers have a rhythm and modulation that creates an echo and can be heard up to a mile away!
In addition, there are four basic categories of holler. There are functional hollers designed for
calling up and down between a house and a field to ask for things like water or
food. There are hollers designed to pass
a certain message, such as to announce oneself on a neighbor’s land. An especially important type is the distress
holler, to be used only in case of emergency or if someone finds themselves
lost. Last, there is the expressive
holler, which gives voice to the hollerer’s particular feelings at the moment. If you’re in a place where a few hollers here
and there won’t disturb anybody, why not celebrate National Hollerin’ Day with
an expressive holler of your own? You
might be surprised how far your voice can carry!
If you are feeling the “call” to holler, then we invite you
to try our Paper Cup & String Phone at-home experiment. See if your holler
will carry all the way to the other end of the string! Learn about vibrations
and how sounds carry! Grab your supplies & check out the lesson plan linked
The Story of Hollerin’ and the National Hollerin’ Contest in Spivey’s Corner: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-to-win-a-hollerin-contest
Some Champions of Hollerin’ explain the Art:
Old Timer Leonard Emanuel tells the story of Hollerin’ in his Community and provides some expressive examples: