On Friday, February 21, the American Folklife Center will host a discussion and screening of clips from the upcoming film premiere of “This Ain’t No Mouse Music!”: The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records with the filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling. Please join us from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm in the
Whittall Pavilion on Ground Floor of the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. (This event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required: map and directions).
Roots music icon Chris Strachwitz is a detective of deep American music — music that’s the antithesis of the corporate “mouse music” dominating pop culture. Born a German count, Strachwitz came to the United States as a teenager in 1947. There he saw a film that would change his life forever: New Orleans, starring Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Since then, his life has been a relentless quest to track down and record the best of American roots music — New Orleans jazz, down home blues, Cajun, Zydeco, and Norteño. Strachwitz is the legendary founder of Arhoolie Records, the label that brought rural American music out of the shadows and into the limelight. He also brought rural musicians to Europe, introducing wildly enthusiastic audiences to the rhythms of bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins, Zydeco king Clifton Chenier and others. In the process, he changed music in the US — and the world — forever. From Texas to New Orleans, Cajun country to Appalachia, join Ry Cooder, Richard Thompson, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Michael Doucet, the Pine Leaf Boys, Flaco Jiménez and the Treme Brass Band for a delightful hip-shaking romp, as Strachwitz continues his passionate quest for the musical soul of America.
Directors and Producers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling met over thirty years ago while working with world-renowned documentarian Les Blank. Each struck out on her own after twenty years with Blank. Maureen directed and produced Blossoms of Fire, a feature documentary on the Isthmus Zapotecs of southern Oaxaca. Chris Simon produced and directed four independent documentaries including the prizewinning Down an Old Road and My Canyonlands. Chris and Maureen have come together for this project because of their love for the music and cultures that Chris Strachwitz brought out to the world — and to share the vision of their longtime friend and colleague.
For more information about American Folklife Center events see What’s Happening at the American Folklife Center.