Wakulla Springs Glass-Bottom Boat Tour Chant by Luke Smith

Wakulla Springs Glass-Bottom Boat Tour Chant by Luke Smith

Description

The sound recording presented here features a chant recited by Luke Smith at the 1981 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida. Smith, a longtime guide on the Wakulla River, sings about the underwater environment and summons fish to the boat. His chant is reminiscent of African-American spirituals and field hollers common throughout the Deep South of the United States. Alligators, snakes, rare birds, and native exoticism are part of Florida’s tourism industry. Narrated boat tours at sites such as Wakulla Springs State Park, located at the spring south of Tallahassee that gives rise to the Wakulla River, offer visitors the chance to experience all of these things and more under the guidance of knowledgeable guides. Such boat tours have been a long-standing part of Florida attractions, at Wakulla Springs, Silver Springs, Homosassa Springs, and Rainbow Springs, among others. Since the late 1800s, guides at Wakulla Spring have related folktales and described the flora and fauna as they rowed visitors up and down the river. Businessman Edward Ball built a lodge at Wakulla Springs in the 1930s, and as Wakulla Springs established itself as an attractive location for tourists and filmmakers, the guides were provided larger watercraft and regular employment. Right up through recent history, descendants of the first boatmen at Wakulla Springs have followed in the footsteps of their forefathers, and their chants, jokes, and stories have been passed down through the generations.

Last updated: October 17, 2014