TITLE: Not the Same Old (Folk) Song and Dance: Field Recordings in the European Communities of the United States
SPEAKER: Matthew Barton
EVENT DATE: 2006/07/27
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 52 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
In the 1930s, Library of Congress fieldworkers recorded the folk music of non-English-speaking communities throughout the United States. There, they captured songs and styles that had died out in the lands of their birth, as well as emerging fusions of the ancient and modern. From the songs of a sacred Spanish mystery play performed in Texas to wild Polish wedding music played in Wisconsin, they preserved rare and beautiful music as much a part of American heritage as any from English-speaking communities. In his Benjamin Botkin Lecture sponsored by the American Folklife Center, Matthew Barton focuses on rarely heard recordings from the European-American diaspora, including the music of older North American communities, as well as the music of immigrants new to this country in the 1930s. Special attention will be given to Alan Lomax's 1938 fieldwork, which took him to Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin to record music in French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Finnish and other languages.
Speaker Biography: Matthew Barton worked as an assistant to Alan Lomax in the 1980s, and later as production coordinator of the Alan Lomax Collection album series on Rounder Records. More recently, he has worked with original Library of Congress field recordings for the American Folklife Center. He currently works in the Library's MBRS Sound Lab. He contributed essays to "Alan Lomax: Selected Writings, 1934-1997" (Routledge, NY: 2003).
SERIES: Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series