We’re back with another episode of the Folklife Today podcast! In this episode, reference librarian Allina Migoni and folklorist Michelle Stefano do a special takeover of the podcast in honor of National's Women's History Month. In this episode, Allina and Michelle chose interviews with women from across the collections who have shaped those around them and are dedicated to passing down their cultural traditions. Through these brief insights into these women's lives, we hope to tell a greater story about how women through everyday interactions and relationships shape our society. This may be through the stories they tell, the traditions they pass on, the skills they teach, and the legacies they create.
The following is a guest blog post by Andy Wolanski, a liaison specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP). The Veterans History Project (VHP) proudly celebrates Women’s History Month by highlighting female veterans across a wide variety of backgrounds, conflicts, and military service branches. The current “Go Box” display that I curated for the VHP …
Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! Since it's Women's History Month, we thought we'd feature another fantastic woman musician, Mamselle Ruiz! Like other blogs in the Homegrown Plus series, this one includes a concert video and a video interview with the featured performer, plus links and connections to Library of Congress collections. Since the interview was conducted in French, this blog also features an English language translation of the interview. Mamselle Ruiz is a Mexican-born singer and guitarist living in French-speaking Montréal. She was raised on all kinds of Mexican music, and she includes traditional Mexican folksongs such as “La Bruja” and “La Llorona” in a diverse repertoire that also includes Son Huasteco classics along with Latin cover songs and her own compositions. This concert features mostly traditional Mexican songs.
Since it's Women's History Month, we thought we'd get back into the Homegrown Plus series with Neli Andreeva! Like other blogs in the Homegrown Plus series, this one includes a concert video and a video interview with the featured performer, plus links and connections to Library of Congress collections. Master traditional Bulgarian singer Neli Andreeva grew up in the resort of Narechen in the majestic Rhodope Mountains. She is a soloist as well as choirmaster of the Philip Koutev Folklore Ensemble, and has also been artistic director of the Nusha vocal ensemble. In this concert, Neli performs as a soloist, with choirs, and with instrumental accompaniment, for a varied program of traditional song.
Learn about the fascinating character "Daca," a bookseller in New York who taught Alan Lomax the cowboy classic "Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle." Daca contributed ten songs and a sheaf of tall tales to the Library of Congress. He was a cowboy in the 1910s and a bookshop owner in Bohemian Greenwich Village in the 1920s and 30s, while he moonlighted by singing cowboy songs on the radio. He had a master's degree in Spanish and was an expert on European fables. He also went by at least three names (Harry Payne Reeves, David Daca, and Harry Reece). Daca was a fascinating forerunner both of Woody Guthrie, another cowboy singer who arrived in New York just as Daca left, and of Bob Dylan, a trickster who concealed his identity with aliases and gave evasive answers to interviewers. In this way, he laid the groundwork and established some of the norms for the folk scene in Greenwich Village. Read his story, hear his songs, and find out about a little known "hidden folklorist"--all in this blog post!
The Veterans History Project (VHP) is proud to offer a new online exhibit, part of our vast array of curated thematic presentations collectively known as Serving: Our Voices. Previously known as Experiencing War, these exhibits are part of VHP’s new website, which debuted Veterans Day 2022. These presentations provide users with a specially selected set of collections centered on a particular theme, offering immediate access to content-rich oral histories and other original primary-source materials.
The newest installment of Serving: Our Voices focuses on the experiences of African American women who served during World War II. Titled “Determined to Serve: African American Women in World War II,” the presentation explores the stories of 15 veterans who served stateside and abroad, from the Arizona desert to the boulevards of France.
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is kicking off 2023 with the much-awaited fourth season of “America Works,” a podcast series celebrating the diversity, resilience and creativity of American workers in the face of economic uncertainty. The new season, launched today, features captivating job-related stories from a range of occupational groups, including a professional wrestler, a cement plant work, a neonatologist and a grocery store cashier. The first episode is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and at loc.gov/podcasts. Subsequent episodes will be released every week on Thursdays through April 27, 2023. All the links you need are in this post!
The American Folklife Center has recently acquired a five-string Fairbanks Vega banjo donated by musician, photographer, and filmmaker John Cohen before his death in 2019. The John Cohen banjo is extraordinary for three reasons: it is in itself a classic instrument, a beautiful example of a Fairbanks Vega banjo with a Whyte Laydie tone ring and an unusual tone projector; it belonged to John Cohen, one of the most significant figures in the revival of the five-string banjo; and it was often played by Roscoe Holcomb, a singular artist and crucial figure in American traditional music. Read more about the banjo's history, see pictures, and follow links to some video of the banjo being played, all in this blog post!