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Archive: 2017 (14 Posts)

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Where Did That Christmas Song Come From?

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

At this time of year the reference staff of the American Folklife Center staff are often asked about the origins of Christmas carols. Here are a few examples of songs with interesting histories. Some of the oldest Christmas songs came from folk plays that were popular in the Middle Ages. The Juan B. Rael Collection …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Collection Spotlight: Children’s Songs from the Virgin Islands

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Between 1976 and 1978 Karen S. Ellis recorded the playground songs of elementary school students on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. She was teaching at the Ricardo Richards School and many of the children she recorded were her students. This work culminated in a book and recording, Domino, a resource for children and teachers, published …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

James Mooney Recordings of American Indian Ghost Dance Songs, 1894

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

In the summer of 1894 James Mooney, a scholar of American Indian culture and language, made recordings of songs of the Ghost Dance in several languages.  The James Money Recordings of American Indian Ghost Dance Songs have recently been updated and are part of the presentation, Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry. …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

A Few Examples of Dads’ Traditions

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

A celebration of fathers and fatherhood took a long time to be established as a nation-wide observance.  Mother’s Day was being locally observed as it was being promoted in the 19th and early 20th century, and became a regular holiday in May in 1914 by presidential proclamation. Father’s Day was locally celebrated around the country …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Teaching the Japanese Tea Ceremony: Mine Somi Kubose

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In China, in the eighth century, it entered the realm of poetry as one of the polite amusements. The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion of aestheticism—Teaism. Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts …