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Archive: May 2022 (10 Posts)

From Conflict to Creativity: Veteran Artists Showcase event announcement

VHP Unites with Veteran Artists for PTS Awareness Month

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

“From Conflict to Creativity: Veteran Artists Showcase” ~ June 28-30, 2022 Join the Veterans History Project (VHP) as we recognize Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) Awareness Month with a three-day Veteran Artists Showcase focused on living with, managing and raising awareness of PTS and Military Sexual Trauma. Hosted in collaboration with Uniting US, this series of creative …

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

Nicole Saylor Is the New AFC Director

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The American Folklife Center is delighted to announce that Nicole "Nicki" Saylor has been appointed the fourth Director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, effective May 22, 2022. Followers of the American Folklife Center will remember Nicki as the head, and then director, of the Archive of Folk Culture, which is AFC's archive, from 2012 to 2021. "The Center's work of preserving and presenting stories, songs and living traditions from all over the world is more important than ever," Nicki says. "The staff is so innovative and committed to the work. It's a dream job and I am excited!"

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

AFC Director Betsy Peterson Has Retired After 10 Years

Posted by: John Fenn

The American Folklife Center is bidding a fond farewell to Elizabeth “Betsy” Peterson, who has retired from the position of Director after ten years in that role.  Her leadership engaged all facets of the Center’s activity–from stewardship of the collections to expansion of public programming and outreach–and she routinely anchored that leadership in an ethos …

A man plays a Ukrainian Bandura

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Ukrainian American Bandura Master Julian Kytasty

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Julian Kytasty, a third generation player of the bandura, a Ukrainian stringed instrument with similarities to the lute and the zither. Julian also sings beautifully and composes for the bandura and other instruments. In this blog you'll find an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore!

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

AFC Welcomes a New Director of Archives!

Posted by: John Fenn

Please join the American Folklife Center in welcoming our new Director of Archives, Michael Pahn! He’s only just started with us in this position---his official first day was May 9—but has a long relationship with the Center, going all the way back to an internship he held in the 1990s! He’s also worked with many AFC staff over the years in his capacity as Head of Archives and Digitization at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the position he held prior to joining the Library of Congress.

Twelve women dancing

Homegrown Plus: Traditional Dance from American Samoa

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're continuing the Homegrown Plus series with a very special presentation of Samoan dance. In addition to the dance video, the blog features an interview with Eti Eti, one of the members of the dance group. The dance video was created by the Student Association For Fa'asamoa, a program of the Samoan Studies Institute at American Samoa Community College. The Samoan Studies Institute’s mission is to ensure and promote the continuity of Samoan culture, traditions, language, and heritage. Since its inception, SAFF has been active in performing the Siva Samoa (traditional Samoan dance), and in teaching and practicing old Samoan customs. For their Homegrown video, the SAFF dancers performed a 30-minute program of traditional dances in several locales at the college, under the direction of Molitogi Lemana. See the video right here in the blog!

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

ETL: Searching the Lomax family papers through the magic of crowdsourcing

Posted by: Todd Harvey

"ETL" is a wonderful acronym, a non-word, a nickname for a phrase by which insiders describe a complex process. ETL in the context of digital collections at the Library of Congress is short for "extract, transform, and load." To a curator working with crowdsourced archival material. "ETL" in an email subject line signals the final step in a process by which an archival collection becomes full-text searchable, the gold standard for access to manuscript materials. In this post we look at the ways in which crowdsourced transcriptions add depth to our understanding of our rich fieldwork collections. We look at a variety of materials, including Alan Lomax's trips to collect traditional songs and music in Florida and Haiti. We show how Zora Neale Hurston's fieldwork informed her brilliant novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God," providing excerpts from fieldnotes that comport with descriptions in the novel.

People enjoying a parade

More About “Hal An Tow”: Early Evidence of a May Song.

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this post we examine some of the earliest evidence of the Cornish May Song, also known as "Hal An Tow." A version of this song was recorded from Lillian Short in Missouri by Vance Randolph in 1941. By that time, the melody to the song had changed in oral tradition, but this early evidence, a written transcription by Edward Jones from 1802, shows that the song was formerly sung to the same melody retained by Lillian Short. The post includes Jones's 1802 passage describing the May 8 observances in Helston, Cornwall, which include the "Hal An Tow" song, the "Furry Dance" or "Flora Dance," and other events; the sheet music as he published it; and a discussion of Jones's interpretations of the Helston song in relation to AFC's field recording.