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Coffeehouses: Folk Music, Culture, and Counterculture

The following is a guest post by Nancy Groce, Senior Folklife Specialist at the American Folklife Center.  It originated as opening remarks for the forum Coffeehouses: Folk Music, Culture, and Counterculture, which was held last week in the Library’s Montpelier Room.  Webcasts of the event will eventually be added to the Library’s website and accessible […]

“A Dudele”: A Little Song for Jewish Heritage Month

Jewish vocal music culture in the United States reflects the variety of the many different parts of the diaspora from which the Jewish immigrants originally came, as well as different song traditions among Jewish denominations. This essay will examine some of the Jewish folksongs curated by the Recorded Sound section, the Music Division, and the […]

The Animals Marched In Two By Two: More Songs About Noah’s Ark

In my last post, I discussed the more serious side of songs about Noah’s ark. As I mentioned, though, there are other songs too, often with more celebratory messages–or even silly ones.  We’ll look at some of those Noah songs in this post. Celebratory songs tend to focus on the joy felt by Noah when […]

A Boatload of Songs About Noah’s Ark

The tale of Noah and the ark is one of the Bible’s perennially  popular  stories.  Children’s books, novels, comics, TV shows, and even movie novelizations are forever emerging onto the scene, depicting the story of the great flood. There’s even a motion picture out right now, featuring a modern take on the story. It may not […]

Folklorist Harry Oster’s collection of 1950s-60s folk music ranges from English folksongs in Iowa to Delta country blues

During a recent trip to the University of Iowa at the invitation of the Digital Studio for Public Arts and Humanities, I took the opportunity to show off some of our recently digitized recordings made by folklorist Harry Oster (1923-2001), who was on the English faculty at Iowa for 30 years. The American Folklife Center […]

Narratives of Women and Girls: the Center for Applied Linguistics Collection

For Women’s History Month, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some examples of interviews with women and girls in American English Dialects: The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection. This online collection is one of several dialect collections in the American Folklife Center archive. With a little digging, such collections can yield exciting examples of […]

Collection highlight: Wisconsin recordings from the 1940s

Helene Stratman-Thomas (1896–1973) emerges from this cavalcade of (Wisconsin folk music) scholarship as neither the first, nor the most persistent, nor the most prolific, nor the most expert collector of Wisconsin’s musical folklore, but she is, and perhaps always will be, the most significant. — James Leary, The Wisconsin Patchwork: A Companion to the Radio […]