March 17, 2003 American Folklife Center at Library of Congress Receives Donation of "American Roots Music"

AT&T Makes Gift Possible with Grant to Ginger Group

Contact: American Folklife Center, Michael Taft (202) 707-1739, | Ginger Group Productions, Sarah Cullen (212) 505-0138,
Contact: Library of Congress, Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940,

Ginger Group Productions, producer of "American Roots Music," a four-part television series that aired on PBS last fall, is giving nine segments of the series to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The segments have been specially edited with the support of a grant from AT&T so that they can be viewed and used by scholars and researchers as stand-alone pieces, although they were originally produced as part of the larger series.

The nine musical segments received by the American Folklife Center are: "James D. Vaughan Segment," "Blues Segment," "Bristol Sessions Segment," "Gene Autry Segment," "Bob Wills Segment," "Bluegrass Segment," "Cajun/Zydeco Segment," "Tejano Segment," and "Native American Segment."

The "American Roots Music" series traces the development of uniquely American music forms throughout the 20th century-blues, country, gospel, bluegrass, Cajun, zydeco, tejano and Native American-by interweaving rare archival footage and photographs of the legends of American music with newly filmed performances and interviews of living legends and leading scholars. The American Folklife Center archives provided many of the historic recordings used in the series.

"'American Roots Music' presents a series of treasured musical performances that document the diversity of our musical heritage in the United States. These programs will add to our understanding of American culture and folklife," said Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center. "The Library of Congress is pleased to add these recordings to our research collections."

"American Roots Music" was a collaboration of the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Experience Music Project and Ginger Group Productions. Additional funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Public Broadcasting Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and AT&T.

"The preservation, archiving and educational use of 'American Roots Music' was always one of the goals of the series, and it's great that AT&T came to the table and enabled us to do this at a time when so many museums are struggling with budget cutbacks and a lack of funds," said Jim Brown, president of Ginger Group and the producer/director of the series. "We wanted future generations to have access to the filmed performances of America's musical pioneers that were discovered and collated during the four years of research and production that went into 'American Roots Music.' The donation to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will ensure the use of these valuable recordings by scholars and researchers for generations to come."

This effort is also one of the first undertakings of the Music Museum Alliance, an association of more than 50 music museums in the United States and Canada that worked with Ginger Group in accomplishing the project.

Sequences from "American Roots Music" are being donated through a special licensing arrangement to at least 15 other museums throughout the country. Through a special grant from AT&T, program segments of "American Roots Music" will be donated to a number of selected museums throughout the United States for use as installations and for educational purposes.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife." For more information on its resources and services, see its Web site at


PR 03-012
ISSN 0731-3527