On January 18, 2018, AFC sponsored a special event in our Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series. Alan Jabbour, 1942 – 2017: His Legacy in Folklife and Traditional Music brought together speakers who worked closely with Alan to examine the contributions he made during his career to cultural documentation, the promotion of traditional music, and federal cultural policy. The brief talks were followed by a jam session bringing together many of Alan’s musical associates.
For those who didn’t know him, Alan Jabbour, (1942-2017) was the founding director of the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress. He was a leader in the field of folklife scholarship, as well as the world of old-time string band music. He headed two of the most important federal programs related to folk traditions, the American Folklife Center and the Folk Arts Program at the NEA. At AFC he established many programs that preserve and present folklife traditions, including field surveys, concert and lecture series, and training programs. As both a scholar and a musician, he brought the music of fiddler Henry Reed and West Virginia’s Hammons Family to prominence in the old-time world. With his wife Karen Singer Jabbour, he extensively documented the practice of Decoration Day in the Upland South. When Alan died, AFC posted this appreciation of his life and work.
Below, find some photos I captured at the event. In the near future, we will post remarks from Alan’s friend and coworker Carl Fleischhauer. AFC remains committed to continuing the important legacy of our founding director, Alan Jabbour.