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2017 Botkin Lectures

Online Archive of Past Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lectures

All of the materials from the Botkin Lectures are available to visitors in the Folklife Reading Room. Links to webcasts and selected materials will be made available online as digital versions become available.

Film Screenings: Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film

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Honeyboy Edwards playing the guitar on the street with a car behind him.
Honeyboy Edwards, from silent film footage by Alan Lomax, 1942.
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September 29-30, 2017 (see times below)
Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor, James Madison Building
Library of Congress

On Friday September 29 and Saturday September 30 the American Folklife Center will present a group of documentary films on American culture. The event brings together established and emerging filmmakers, writers and researchers who utilize audiovisual technologies in documenting American folklife and traditional culture. Participants include folklorists who work within the Mid-Atlantic region promoting American folklife to wider audiences. Discussions will focus on traditional culture and audiovisual documentation methods, and will be opened up for all attendees to participate.

 

Friday September 29, 2017 – Pickford Theater

7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
American Epic: Using Archival Footage in Film

American Epic "The Big Bang" (a film comprising episodes 1 and 2 of the American Epic series as shown on PBS), with commentary from the film's producer/writer, Allison McGourty, and its director, Bernard McMahon.

The EMMY-nominated series chronicles the period from the 1920s through the 1940s when collectors for both commercial record companies and public institutions like the Library sought and recorded traditional American roots music, including ballad singers in the Appalachians, blues guitarists in the Mississippi Delta, gospel preachers across the south, Cajun fiddlers in Louisiana, Tejano groups from the Texas-Mexico border, Native American drummers, and Hawaiian musicians on the big island. Its executive producers are Jack White, T Bone Burnett, and Robert Redford, all of whom appear in the series. The second episode, "Blood and Soil," uses extraordinary footage from the American Folklife Center’s collections, including a color clip of GRAMMY-winner Honeyboy Edwards shot for the Library by Alan Lomax in 1942.

Saturday September 30, 2017 – Pickford Theater

11:00 – 11:30 A.M.
Shorts from Maryland and West Virginia

Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack (2012, 5 minutes) presents the history and current process of making of the J. Gruber’s Hagers-town Town and Country Almanack, the oldest almanac in the United States that is still produced by heirs of the original founder, John Gruber. Established in Hagerstown (Washington County, Maryland), it has been providing agricultural, meteorological and astrological information since 1797. The Almanack, which also contains folk remedies, local poetry and traditional community wisdom, is currently edited by the great-great-great-great great grandson of John Gruber, Charles W. Fisher, Jr. While millions of copies have been sold and distributed, at its core is the tradition of weather forecasting by using centuries-old astronomical calculations, a process that is still continued by mathematician, Professor William O’Toole III of Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Bending Water Park and Indian Water Trails of the Accohannock Indian Tribe (2014, 5 minutes) features the Bending Water Park and Indian Water Trails of the Lower Eastern Shore in Maryland, which comprise indigenous cultural landscapes and waterways that are deeply connected to the history and heritage of the Accohannock Indian Tribe. Bending Water Park has long been host to the Accohannocks' annual "Healing of All Nations" Pau-Wau, and is central to the continuation of traditional and contemporary ways of life of the Accohannock people. The adjacent Indian Water Trails—branching from the Pocomoke Sound, at the mouth of the Pocomoke River—have historically been essential to the indigenous people of the lower Eastern Shore for gathering food and other resources, as well as for transportation. Today, the Accohannock Indian Tribe runs a kayak and canoe touring business on the waterways.

Inside Appalachia: James Shaffer, Charleston Broom & Mop Company (2017, 8 mins) features the story of James Shaffer, who at age 87, is the last hand-made commercial broom maker in West Virginia. He first learned the trade in 1946, and has been making brooms for 70 years, based in his Loudendale, "Charleston Broom and Mop Co." studio.

11:40 A.M – 1:15 P.M.
Maryland in Focus

Muskrat Lovely (2005, 58 minutes) provides an insider look into the National Outdoor Show, held each year on the Lower Eastern Shore, Maryland, since 1938. The event showcases the trappers, watermen and women, cooks, and sportsmen and women who define the marshes of southern Dorchester County, along the Chesapeake Bay. A fur fashion show, a beauty pageant, and the crowning of Miss Outdoors kick off the event, which also includes the women’s and men’s international world championship muskrat-skinning competitions. The film was selected for broadcast on the Emmy-Award-winning Independent Lens on PBS and also had a cameo on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. The screening will be followed by a discussion with its filmmaker, Amy Nicholson, and celebrated muskrat-skinner and cook Rhonda Aaron.

1:25 – 3:45 P.M.
Urban Culture: New York

If These Knishes Could Talk: The Story of the New York Accent (2013, 55 mins) explores the accents of New York City through interviews with linguistic experts, both official and non-official, who weigh in on what it means to tawk the talk in a city that may be slowly trying to quiet the noise.  From Atlantic Avenue to Zerega Avenue, word on the street is that the New York accent is disappearing. Yet, despite not often hearing "toity-toid and toid" in Manhattan, you can still hear strains in Bensonhurst, Whitestone, or Tottenville. Filmmaker Heather Quinlan will be on hand to answer questions after the screening.

Let's Get the Rhythm (2013, 54 mins) draws attention to the social importance of girls' games, capturing girls’ handclapping games from New York City playgrounds and across the world. Girls from diverse cultures – from Brooklyn to Tanzania – charm us as they learn and share while expanding their experience. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s co-producers, Irene Chagall and Steve Zeitlin, director of New York City's folklife program, CityLore.

3:50 – 5:00 P.M.
Urban Culture: Philadelphia

Adelante (2014, 50 mins) shows the heart of Mexico beating strongly, just outside of Philadelphia, where Mexican newcomers are revitalizing a dying Irish-Catholic parish in Norristown, Pennsylvania. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Noam Osband.


Stetson Kennedy:  Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy
a book talk and signing by Peggy A. Bulger

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Peggy A. Bulger
Peggy A. Bulger
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September 19, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Webcast Running time 01:08:37

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Stetson Kennedy (1916 - 2011) led a remarkable life as a political activist, writer, and folklorist. Yet, he is virtually unknown outside of his home state of Florida. His life was one of cultural advocacy and rebellion and his friends included Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax, Richard Wright, Jean-Paul Sartre, Zora Neale Hurston and others.  This talk explores the work of a remarkable man who was determined to make a positive difference in American life by using folklore and oral history as a vehicle for progressive change. 

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Book cover, Stetson Kennedy: Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy
Cover: Stetson Kennedy: Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy
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Dr. Peggy A. Bulger served as the director of the American Folklife Center from 1999-2011 before retiring to her adopted state of Florida, where she had previously served as the state's first folklorist and folklife administrator from 1975-1989. Her research on Stetson Kennedy, which began with her doctoral dissertation in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, has recently been published by the Florida Historical Society as Stetson Kennedy: Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy.


Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics
a talk and book signing by
Jean R. Freedman, Montgomery College and George Washington University

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Jean R. Freedman holding her book on Peggy Seeger
Jean R. Freedman
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September 7, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Webcast Running time 00:55:05

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Born into one of folk music's foremost families, Peggy Seeger has been one of the leading voices in the Anglo-American folk revival for more than 60 years. As a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and political activist, Peggy Seeger forged an unconventional and artistically vibrant path. Drawing from her recently published biography of Seeger’s life and contributions as a performer, song writer, and activist on both sides of the Atlantic, Jean Freedman discusses Peggy Seeger’s career from the 1950s to the present day.

Jean Freedman is an adjunct professor at both Montgomery College and George Washington University. She received a PhD in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University. Her first book, Whistling in the Dark: Memory and Culture in Wartime London, analyzed popular culture and political ideology in London during World War II. She has published articles about Scottish folk songs, Jewish folk theater, and unconventional Civil War soldiers, among other topics. Her latest book, Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics, has just been published by University of Illinois Press.

 

The Fantastic Worlds of Chinese Opera Theater in North America
Nancy Yunhwa Rao, Rutgers University

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Nancy Yunhwa Raoh
Nancy Yunhwa Rao
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August 9, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Webcast Running time 00:50:45

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

The Chinatown opera theater provided Chinese immigrants in North America with an essential source of entertainment during the pre–World War II era. Its compelling stories of legends, passions and warriors also attracted diverse patrons into Chinese American communities. In this presentation, Professor Rao unmasks a backstage world of performers, performances, and repertoire as well as the spellbound audiences beyond the footlights. She discusses how the circulation of stellar actors and actresses created a vibrant performing network of Cantonese opera in North America during the 1920s, and also explores how Chinatown theaters played a role in constructing Chinese American identities as well as in the birth of ultra-modern music in America. 

Nancy Yunhwa Rao is professor of Music at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Her recent work highlights the much-neglected musical history of Chinese in North America and transnational issues in the production and opera performance in these Chinatown theaters. Her book, Chinatown Theater in North America (University Illinois Press, 2017) includes analysis of opera arias, playbills, performing networks, stage spectacles, and more. As a music theorist, Rao has explored intersections between China and the West, in particular global perspectives in contemporary Chinese music. She has published on the use of music gestures, vocal styles, and percussion patterns of Beijing opera in contemporary music by composers of Chinese origin and also explored other aspects of American music, including the life and contributions of American composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. 

Banner1: Portraits of Muslim American men and women who participated in StoryCorps and who gave their permission for their photographs to be used.

 "Muslim American Journeys" Listening Event

July 24, 2017
3pm-5pm
LJ-119, first floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Library of Congress

Sponsored by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress with Partners MALA (Muslim American Leadership Alliance) and StoryCorps.

View the Webcast Running time 01:42:07

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

This public listening event will showcase narratives from the American Folklife Center's StoryCorps collection that illustrate the diversity of Muslim American cultural identity. The event will feature excerpts of Muslim American stories recently collected as part of a StoryCorps outreach partnership to encourage more Muslim Americans to document their stories and lives. The two-hour event will combine collective listening to story segments from the MALA collection, short audience engagement activities facilitated by a panel (MALA contributors, StoryCorps staff, and American Folklife Center staff), and a short presentation on AFC resources for ethnographic fieldwork. By sharing a diverse range of narratives and experiences, we hope to provide a model for more Americans of Muslim heritage to share their individual stories. Participants will also receive copies of the 2016 AFC publication, Folklife & Fieldwork (4TH Edition), to allow them to design collecting projects of their own. To listen to some recorded stories in their entirety, go to MALA's website.

The Muslim-American Leadership Alliance (MALA) and StoryCorps have worked together over the past several years to build a corpus of narratives documenting a wide range of Muslim-American experiences and identities, which are all archived by the AFC.  The project aims to document oral history, inspire pride, and celebrate individuality. Every story recorded is officially archived in the Library of Congress, and outstanding stories are featured on National Public Radio. Personal stories can be a powerful catalyst for change – challenging stereotypes, building bridges, and inspiring action. In a country as diverse and complex as the United States, the identities of Muslim Americans remain layered and contested.

The event will include the following speakers:

Zainab Khan,  Board Chair and co-founder of the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA). Coordinator of the "Muslim American Journeys" project with StoryCorps, and therapist, painter, and human rights advocate.

Tamara Thompson, Manager of Archiving for StoryCorps

Julia Kim, Digital Assets Manager, American Folklife Center

Three contributors to the "Muslim American Journeys" project. They will provide a panel to respond to audience questions regarding interviews.

Stephen Winick, writer and editor for the American Folklife Center, author of Folklife & Fieldwork. He will give a short presentation on best practices for recording fieldwork interviews and preparing them for archiving.

The Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) is a 501(c)3  civic & community organization committed to promoting individual freedom and diversity, and celebrating heritage. An alliance dedicated to leadership through integrity, MALA provides a platform for people to share their individual stories & to speak for themselves; nurtures emerging community leaders; and unites Americans of all backgrounds to advance constructive solutions to extremism and human rights abuses. MALA is open to choice and creed, and embraces free expression, gender equality, and pluralism as cherished universal ideals

Banner2: Portraits of Muslim Americans

Billy Bragg talks about his book:
Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World

a book talk and signing by Billy Bragg, singer-songwriter and activist

July 21, 2017, 7:00-9:00 pm
Mumford Room, 6th Floor, James Madison Building
Library of Congress

View the webcast (this is the edited version of the video) Running time 01:26:19

View the webcast on the Library of Congress YouTube site Running time 01:30:05 (This is the unedited video of the livestreamed event. The speakers begin at about 4:30 minutes into the video)

View the Oral History with Billy Bragg Running time 01:33:08

Read the article about this presentation: "Billy Bragg, Skiffle Historian and Singer, Visits the Library July 21," by Stephen Winick in Folklife Today

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Book cover with a photo of young men in a band playing guitars and a washboard.
Cover of Roots Radicals and Rockers:How Skiffle Changed the World
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"Skiffle" is a catchy name for a do-it-yourself music craze that swept Britain in the 1950s, primarily influenced by American jazz, blues, folk, and roots music. Like punk rock, which would flourish two decades later, Skiffle was homemade music: all you needed were three guitar chords and you could form a group, with mates playing tea-chest bass and washboard as a rhythm section. Emerging from the trad-jazz clubs of the early '50s, skiffle was adopted by the first generation of British "teenagers": working class kids who grew up during the dreary, post-war rationing years. Before skiffle, the pop culture was dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. Lonnie Donegan hit the charts in 1956 with a version of "Rock Island Line" (a song first recorded as a field recording and then by Lead Belly for the American Folklife Center archive) and soon sales of guitars rocketed from 5,000 to 250,000 a year.

The story of skiffle is a tale of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthy­ite witch hunts. Skiffle is the main reason the guitar came to the forefront of music in the UK, and in this sense led directly to both the UK folk scene and British rock and roll, including the British Invasion of the US charts in the 1960s. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Faces, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, and David Bowie—not to mention Martin Carthy, John Renbourn, and the Watersons—all got their start playing skiffle.

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Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg. Photo by Andy Whale.
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Roots, Radicals and Rockers is the first book to explore the skiffle phenomenon in depth. Billy Bragg's meticulously researched and joyous account shows how skiffle sparked a revolution that shaped pop music as we have come to know it. A book signing will follow the talk.

Billy Bragg is an English singer-songwriter and political activist. His music blends elements of folk, punk, and protest songs, with lyrics that mostly treat political or romantic themes. In addition to his own acclaimed recordings, many of his songs, such as "A New England," "Between the Wars," and "Valentine’s Day Is Over," have been covered by others, including Kirsty MacColl, The Watchmen, and June Tabor. In the late 1990s, Billy Bragg and the band Wilco were asked to set some of Woody Guthrie’s unrecorded lyrics to mu­sic. The results were three albums known as The Mermaid Avenue Sessions, as well as the film documentary Man in the Sand, which made Billy Bragg an integral part of the Woody Guthrie story. Bragg's most recent album is Shine a Light, recorded with Joe Henry. For the album, Bragg and Henry traveled across the U.S. by train, and recorded classic railroad songs in train stations along the way. The album features several songs, including "Rock Island Line," which were integral to the skiffle movement, and which were originally known from field recordings in the American Folklife Center archive. Bragg has spent several years researching and writing about skiffle in this exciting new book.

This event is co-sponsored by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington.

 

Flowing Tides: Musical Memory, History and Global Culture in County Clare, Ireland
a book talk and signing by Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, Concordia University, Montreal

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Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin playing a concertina
Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin
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July 11, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Webcast Running time 01:05:08

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Despite its isolation on the western edge of Europe, Ireland occupies vast amounts of space on the music maps of the world. Although deeply rooted in time and place, Irish songs, dances and instrumental traditions have a history of global travel that span the centuries. Whether carried by exiles or distributed by commercial networks, Irish traditional music is one of the most popular World Music genres, and Clare, on Ireland's Atlantic seaboard, enjoys unrivaled status as a "Home of the Music," a mecca for tourists and aficionados eager to enjoy the authentic sounds of Ireland.  Musician and ethnomusicologist Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin discusses Clare as a site of musical pilgrimage that has absorbed the impact of global cultural flows for centuries while simultaneously facilitating outflows of musical change to the world beyond. Placing the testimony of music and music makers at the center of Irish cultural history and working from a palette of disciplines, he explores an Irish soundscape undergoing radical change in the period from the Napoleonic Wars to the Great Famine and from the birth of the nation state to the meteoric rise-and fall-of the Celtic Tiger. A book signing will follow the talk.

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Book cover, Flowing Tides: History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape
Cover: Flowing Tides: History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape
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Professor Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin is an award-winning Irish musician, ethnomusicologist, and cultural historian. Formerly Jefferson Smurfit Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of Music at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, he holds the bilingual Johnson Chair in Quebec and Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. A native of Clare, he has performed, broadcast, adjudicated and lectured on Irish music throughout Europe and North America. He is the author of A Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music, as well as numerous recordings, chapters, and articles on Irish music and culture. His book Flowing Tides: History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape was published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Smithsonian Folklife Festival Artists: Roy Hirabayashi (co-founder) and PJ Hirabayashi (artistic director emeriti), San Jose Taiko
Moderated by Dan Sheehy, director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Records

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Roy and PJ Hirabayashi with drums.
Roy and PJ Hirabayashi. Photo by Tom Pich.
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June 30, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Webcast Running time 01:03:05

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Acknowledged as one of the premier music ensembles in the United States, San Jose Taiko has mesmerized audiences and critics alike with the powerful, spellbinding and propulsive sounds of taiko, the Japanese drum.  Founded in 1973 by young Asian Americans searching to convey their experiences as third generation Japanese Americans, and inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, company performers express the beauty and harmony of the human spirit through the voice of the taiko as they strive to create new dimensions in music and movement. NEA Heritage Fellows, Roy and PJ Hirabayashi, will discuss the power of taiko to create and sustain community. Presented in conjunction with the 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

 

Film Screening and Discussion: Shake 'Em On Down, a documentary on the legendary bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell
Scott Baretta, University of Mississippi

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Two African American men, one playing the banjo and the other playing a harmonica
A still from Shake 'Em On Down. Mississippi Fred McDowell, left, with Johnny Woods playing harmonica. Photo by George Mitchell, 1967
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June 13, 2017, 4:00 pm-5:30 pm
Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor, James Madison Building
Library of Congress

Shake 'em On Down is the story of Fred McDowell, the godfather of the North Mississippi style of blues. Through interviews and never-before-seen footage, the film chronicles the transformation of McDowell’s life following his "discovery" by Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins in 1959 and his influence on the music of artists including RL Burnside, Bonnie Raitt and the Rolling Stones. Featuring interviews with Collins, Raitt, Taj Mahal, Luther Dickinson, Chris Strachwitz and William Ferris.

Scott Barretta is a producer of Shake 'em on Down, a sociology instructor at the University of Mississippi, a writer/researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail, and the host of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting show Highway 61. He is a recipient of the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Library of Congress' Gerald E. and Corrine L. Parsons Fund for Ethnography Award for his research on McDowell.

Cultural Integrity and Local Music: Cape Breton Fiddle, New Orleans Funk
Burt Feintuch, Director, Center for the Humanities and Professor Folklore and English, University of New Hampshire

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Burt Feintuch
Burt Feintuch
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June 7, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the webcast Running time 01:05:05

Oral History interview with Nancy Groce:

View the Oral History Running time 01:04:15

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Two seemingly very different places, Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia and New Orleans, Louisiana, turn out to have much in common. In both, there is broad recognition that something special is going on culturally; something that has produced noteworthy musical distinctiveness. Both are "creative hotspots," places where people are lucky enough to be able to dance to their own music. People in both communities care deeply about their music and also worry about its sustainability. Based on Feintuch's fieldwork, this talk develops the idea of "cultural integrity" and explores local desires and anxieties about the role distinctive local music plays in a good and satisfying life.

Burt Feintuch is a folklorist at the University of New Hampshire, where he directs the Center for the Humanities. A former editor of the Journal of American Folklore and a member of the National Recording Preservation Board, he has done field research in traditional music communities in the U.K., Canada, and the U.S.

Film screening and discussion: Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill with co-producers William Shewbridge (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) and Michelle Stefano (American Folklife Center)

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Steel mill in the sunset
Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill
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May 11, 2017, noon to 1:00 pm
Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor, James Madison Building
Library of Congress

Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill (35 mins) spotlights the memories and stories of former workers of the Sparrows Point Steel Mill that was, until recently, located on the water outside Baltimore, Maryland. Created by the Pennsylvania Steel Company in 1887, and taken over by Bethlehem Steel in 1916, the mill became the world’s largest center for producing steel – evident in the girders of the Golden Gate, George Washington, and Bay Bridges – and for shipbuilding. As a key production site during both World Wars, Sparrows Point peaked during the 1960s and saw a gradual decline in the decades that followed. For 125 years, tens of thousands of steel workers and associated personnel have known the mill not only as a place of employment, but as the center of community life.

In 2012, the mill was shuttered forever, devastating its workers – both active and retired – their families, and surrounding communities. Nonetheless, this is a story that lives on in their hearts and minds. As part of the larger Mill Stories project, the film aims to safeguard and promote the living cultural heritage of the recently closed mill, and to help amplify the voices of those who knew it best.

This event is co-sponsored by the Library of Congress Professional Guild AFSCME Local 2910 and the American Folklife Center.

Open Mic with Mark Moss, Editor:  Sing Out! Magazine: Folk Music, the Folk Revival and Folk Music Journalism

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Mark D. Moss
Mark D. Moss
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May 10, 2017, noon-1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the video Running time 01:13:38

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

In the mid-20th century, North America experienced an explosion of public interest in both traditional music and politically- and socially-oriented topical songs performed with traditional instruments or in traditional style. This movement, commonly called the "folk revival" was led, shaped, and followed by myriad folk music newsletters, magazines, and journals. Of these, none was more important, innovative, or influential than Sing Out! MagazineSing Out! grew out of People's Songs, the monthly bulletin of an organization founded after World War II by a group of prominent artists including Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays, Paul Robeson, Alan Lomax, Irwin Silber, and Earl Robinson. Over the years, Sing Out! evolved to reflect a changing world, while devotedly documenting a dynamic artistic community. Join us as Sing Out! executive director and editor Mark Moss discusses the history of Sing Out! and the significance and challenges of folk music journalism over the past six decades.

Open Mic with Jayme Stone and Todd Harvey

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Jayme Stone holding a banjo
Jayme Stone
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May 4, 2017, 2:30-3:30pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the webcast Running time 00:47:17

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Banjoist and composer Jayme Stone is a long-time researcher at the American Folklife Center. During the Open Mic talk, Alan Lomax Collection curator Todd Harvey will ask Jayme to talk about his discoveries in the AFC archive. He will focus on Jayme’s re-imagining of archival recordings, specifically Alan Lomax recordings. Todd will then turn to Jayme’s performing career in general and how the Lomax Project  has impacted his career trajectory.

Two-time Juno-winning banjoist, composer, and instigator Jayme Stone makes music inspired by sounds from around the world—bridging folk, jazz and chamber music. His award-winning albums both defy and honor the banjo's long role in the world's music, turning historical connections into compelling sounds. He will perform at the Library of Congress on May 4, 2017 at noon in the Coolidge Auditorium, Jayme Stone's Lomax Project.

See also:Jayme Stone’s Folklife, May 4, 2016 (Homegrown Concert, webcast forthcoming).

Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s Celebratory Event “Speak the People/the Spark/el Poema”

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Juan Felipe Herrera
Juan Felipe Herrera
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April 26, 2017
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

Read the press release

Read about the event in this article by Anastasia Nikolis in Folklife Today

View the Webcast Running time 02:09:17

Also on Library of Congress YouTube (This is the recording of the livestreamed event)

Juan Felipe Herrera will conclude his second term as the 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress with a day-long celebration titled "Speak the People/the Spark/el Poema" on April 26. The celebration will feature a choral performance, a moderated panel discussion, and a concert by Grammy® award-winning band Quetzal.

The celebration, presented by the Library's Poetry and Literature Center, American Folklife Center, Music Division, and Hispanic Division, will start with a choral performance by the Fresno State Chamber Singers at noon in Room 119, Thomas Jefferson Building. The Chamber Singers, who hail from Herrera’s hometown, will perform newly commissioned pieces developed in collaboration with Herrera (no tickets required).

Evening event:

At 7 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, Juan Felipe Herrera will join musician Martha González of Quetzal, Radio Bilingüe Founder and Executive Director Hugo Morales, and musician Louie Pérez of Los Lobos in a discussion moderated by UCLA English professor Rafael Pérez-Torres. The discussion will focus on the continuing emergence of Latinx culture through the sounds of the fields and the barrios, as it shapes and enriches our country.

Juan Felipe Herrera is the author of 30 books of poetry, novels for young adults and collections for children, most recently Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes (2014), a picture book showcasing inspiring Hispanic and Latino Americans. His most recent book of poems is Notes from the Assemblage (2015). For his poetry, Herrera has received two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award and a PEN/Beyond Margins Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows. In 2016, Herrera was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement at the 36th L.A. Times Book Prizes.

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Quetzal group portrait
Quetzal
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Following the panel there will be a concert by Quetzal, a Grammy® award-winning Chicano/a rock group, now celebrating its 20-year anniversary. Quetzal is the collaborative project of Quetzal Flores (guitar), Martha González (lead vocals, percussion), Tylana Enomoto (violin), Juan Pérez (bass), Peter Jacobson (cello), and Alberto Lopez (percussion). Quetzal has made considerable impact in the Chicano music scene, especially in their native Los Angeles. The musical ensemble is influenced by an East LA rock soundscape composed of Mexican ranchera, cumbia, salsa, rock, R&B, folk, and fusions of international musics

This event is co-sponsored by the Poetry and Literature Center, American Folklife Center, The Hispanic Division, and The Music Division at the Library of Congress. Made possible in part with generous support from National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC).

All events are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission as seats are limited. Check back for the link to get tickets. The event will also be live-streamed on the Library’s YouTube site at youtube.com/libraryofcongress.

Repatriating the Alan Lomax Haitian Recordings in Post-Quake Haiti
Gage Averill, Dean of Arts, University of British Columbia

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Gage Averill
Gage Averill
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March 15, 2017
Noon-1:00 p.m.
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the webcast Running time 01:16:33

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In 2009, ethnomusicologist Gage Averill edited and compiled the CD box set Alan Lomax in Haiti 1936-1937 and wrote the accompanying Grammy-nominated notes. The recordings were selected from the original Alan Lomax field recordings and materials in the Library of Congress American Folklife Center archive. Averill will speak about the project and the difficulties as well as the joys and discoveries made in the process of returning the recordings to Haiti in the period after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Professor Averill is Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia and was formerly Vice-Principal Academic and Dean of the University of Toronto Mississauga, Dean of Music at the University of Toronto, and Chair of New York University's Department of Music. An ethnomusicologist specializing in popular music of the Caribbean and North American vernacular music, he served as President of the Society for Ethnomusicology from 2009-2011. His book on barbershop singing, Four Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony (2003), won best book prizes from the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Society for American Music. His book on Haitian popular music and power, A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey: Popular Music and Power in Haiti (1997), was awarded the best book prize in ethnic and folk research by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. His 10-CD boxed set of music, film, and accompanying books, Alan Lomax in Haiti, 1936-37, was named an Outstanding Project for 2010 by the Clinton Global Initiative and received two Grammy Nominations.

 

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   April 24, 2018
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