The American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress, in cooperation with Rykodisc and 360 Degree Projections, has released two new albums in the Endangered Music Project series: The Discoteca Collection: Missão de Pesquisas Folclóricas (Rykodisc RCD 10403) and L.H. Corrêa de Azevedo: Music of Ceará and Minas Gerais (Rykodisc RCD 10404).
These historical collections of field recordings were made in the late 1930s and early 1940s and are now part of the Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture. The albums were co-produced by Alan Jabbour, director of the center, and Mickey Hart, the renowned percussionist who, through this series of albums, is making available to new audiences the musical cultures of many regions. All material has been expertly remastered from the original source discs for these releases. Liner notes were written by ethnomusicologist Morton Marks.
The Discoteca Collection is 1938-vintage field recordings culled from the library of the Discoteca Pública Municipal (Municipal Public Recordings Collection) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Discoteca dispatched a team to six states in north and northeast Brazil to document regional folklore, ritual music and dance. The cultural expedition gathered recordings, musical instruments, costumes and ritual objects. The music they collected, much of which accompanied ritual, social and dramatic dance, is primarily vocal, accompanied by various types of drums, bells, rattles, shakers and other assorted Brazilian percussion and strings.
Luiz Heitor Corrêa de Azevedo, a professor of music and composer from Rio de Janeiro, recorded the material on Music of Ceará and Minas Gerais in the early 1940s. Azevedo's involvement in folk culture began in 1937 and led to his appointment as chair in National Folklore at Rio's National Institute of Music. In 1941 he visited Washington as a guest of the Pan-American Union and returned to Brazil with recording equipment loaned to him by the Library of Congress. He then began to undertake arduous expeditions through Brazil documenting a great variety of his country's folk music. The northern and central Brazilian songs on this collection are performed on shaker, wooden box, claps, strings, bell, friction drum, guitar and other instruments. The music Azevedo recorded documents the roots of Brazilian music that would later enter the mainstream of world popular music.
The Endangered Music Project draws its material from one of the world's greatest repositiories of ethnomusicological treasures, the American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture in the Library of Congress. The term "endangered music" can be used to describe music from cultures whose existence is threatened by war, political upheaval or natural disasters or by the encroachment of industrial and agricultural interests.
Missão de Pesquisas Folclóricas and Music of Ceará and Minas Gerais are available in the world music sections of retail outlets nationwide or from Rykodisc mail order: (888) 2-EARFUL or (888) 232-7385.