October 4, 2005 American Folklife Center Plans January Symposium on Alan Lomax
“The Lomax Legacy: Folklore in a Globalizing Century” to Be Presented Jan. 18-20, 2006
Press Contact: Trish Taylor Shuman (202) 707-1940 | Joanne Rasi (202) 707-1744
Public Contact: (202) 707-5510
The American Folklife Center (AFC), in cooperation with the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), will present a symposium, “The Lomax Legacy: Folklore in a Globalizing Century,” from Jan. 18 to 20, 2006, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the Library of Congress’ Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The two-day event will be open to the public, free of charge, but seating is limited and reservations are required.
Reservations for no more than two seats per call will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, by calling (202) 707-1743 or e-mailing Thea Austen at [email protected] For general information, online registration, program details and event locations, visit www.loc.gov/folklife/lomax/lomaxlegacy.html.
A diverse group of scholars, cultural workers and media producers will gather to reflect on the life and work of preeminent song collector, musical anthropologist and cultural activist Alan Lomax (1915-2002) for two days of panel presentations, film screenings and an evening concert. The gathering highlights the AFC’s 2004 acquisition of the Alan Lomax Collection, his legacy of recordings, research and writing—a multimedia archives of musical performances from around the world. Visit www.loc.gov/folklife/lomax for additional details on the collection.
During the symposium, participants will discuss their own research, publications, productions and advocacy in light of Lomax’s pioneering initiatives in these same areas. Sometimes referred to as “the father of the American folksong revival,” Lomax began his career at the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folk Song (the predecessor to the American Folklife Center) in 1933.
Between 1933 and 1942, Alan Lomax and his father, folklorist John A. Lomax, established the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folksong as a major repository of traditional music. Many of the early recordings held by the center are the products of their celebrated field trips to document folk music and oral history across much of the United States and the Caribbean.
After he left the Library of Congress in 1942, Alan Lomax continued his work to document, analyze and present traditional music, dance and narrative through projects of various kinds throughout the world. He expanded the scope of his work to include ethnomusicological and anthropological research and teaching, book publishing for scholarly and popular audiences, and commercial record, radio and film production.
Alan Lomax was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 1980 National Book Critics Circle award for “The Land Where the Blues Began,” the National Medal of the Arts in 1986, a “Living Legend” award from the Library of Congress in 2000 and a Grammy in 2002 for his lifelong contributions to music.
The Association for Cultural Equity, chartered in 1985 and located at New York City’s Hunter College, was founded by Alan Lomax to research, preserve and disseminate world folk performance traditions. It is currently directed by Lomax’s daughter, Anna Lomax Wood. ACE administers the rights to the use of materials in the Alan Lomax Collection and carries on Lomax’s mission through the cataloging and dissemination of materials. Partnering with the American Folklife Center, ACE seeks to ensure that his legendary collection remains accessible to general and specialized audiences. For more information on ACE, go to its Web site at www.lomaxarchive.com.
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American Folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival presentation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.