In sixteenth century Europe broadsides containing ballads were sold like newspapers are today. The ballads reported events, often containing specific names and places like newspapers, but the broadsides printed the lyrics to folks songs and poems as well. These broadsides were often accompanied by an oral component; a balladeers could recite a ballad, which broadened the audience for their work as well as creating the opportunity for memorization and repetition of the ballad. This balladic history continues to this day, such as in the Brazilian cordel tradition.
This project uses the traditional balladic form to examine how historical figures are changed by the stories told about them and how legends are formed. I wrote a collection of ballads that invite the viewer to challenge the validity of the information given, as well as the source it comes from, to observe how a legend grows, and to question the resulting legend. The ballads are distributed on pamphlet as well as being performed by a balladeer.