Linda LaMacchia was a folklorist and ethnographer who documented the music and lives of Tibetan Buddhist nuns, or jomos, in the Kinnaur district of northwestern India between 1985 and 2017. LaMacchia conducted fieldwork in Kinnaur for a period of fifteen months in 1995 and 1996 for her dissertation, while pursuing a PhD in South Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In this blog post, processing archivist Sara Ludewig writes about the personal connections she made with the collection, and presents comparisons of photos from the collection with photos she herself took in the same locations in India.
It's hard to believe, but this is the 1000th published post here at Folklife Today! To celebrate, we'll talk about one of the songs on the Archive's 1000th disc. It reveals a lot about the history of the archive, the methods of Alan Lomax, and the development of a well known cowboy song. It also introduces us to "Daca," a little-known folksinger active from the 1920s through the 1940s, whom we'll profile in a later post. This track is known as AFS 1000 B2, and is Alan Lomax, then Assistant-in-Charge of the archive, singing "Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle." In the blog you can hear the song, read about where Lomax learned it, find out about its roots in "The Virginian" by novelist Owen Wister, and examine the influence of Lomax's version on the song as it was later sung by cowboys.
Sixty-one years ago this month, on February 1, 1961, the “Friendship Nine” – a group of African American college students at Friendship Junior College - adopted an unorthodox tactic termed “Jail, No Bail” during their appearance on trespassing charges in a Rock Hill, South Carolina court. The group had been arrested the previous day for trying to get service at a segregated lunch counter in the city (in other words, they staged a “sit-in”). Rather than paying a fine for violating a public ordinance, as was the norm, they chose instead to serve out their sentence of thirty days of hard labor on a county chain gang. In commemoration of Black History Month, my post today (number 999 in AFC blog history!) reaches into the Civil Rights History Project collection to illuminate this facet of the civil rights era as recollected by veteran activists.
In this podcast episode, John Fenn, Michelle Stefano, and Stephen Winick discuss Groundhog Day traditions. Drawing on the research of Don Yoder, they discuss the history and folklore of the holiday, including groundhog traditions among the Pennsylvania Dutch, weather proverbs, and even cooking and eating groundhogs! There are even four groundhog songs! Find the link to the podcast in this blog post!
The following is a guest blog post by Nathan Cross, an archivist for the American Folklife Center. This African American History Month, the Veterans History Project (VHP) is pleased to announce a new resource designed to introduce VHP’s holdings related to the veterans of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an all-African American, all-female unit …
Every so often I dive into our online collections in search of interesting fieldwork materials to share, especially anything from the large-scale field surveys that the Center facilitated from the late 1970s on through the mid- 1990s (visit an interactive Story Map about these projects). Just the other day I visited the Pinelands Folklife Project collection, used the faceted search options to pull together all audio files also tagged as “songs” and started listening. One particular 32-minute field recording caught my ear, so I’ve shared it in full in this blog.
The American Folklife Center is excited to announce the 2023 recipient cohort of the Community Collections Grants program. Over this year, recipients will undertake cultural research and documentation projects focused on a wide range of cultural traditions and practices across the U.S. and territories. Their work will ultimately be included in the Library’s permanent collections, …
The American Folklife Center is delighted to announce the acquisition of the Missouri Friends of the Folk Arts collection from Julia Olin and Barry Bergey. The collection includes concert recordings of iconic blues and old time musicians like Henry Townsend and Robert Jr. Lockwood; festival performances from the Frontier Folk Festival; fiddling traditions from Ozark and Midwestern regions; and traditional arts documentation from around the state of Missouri. Communities documented include the French speaking towns around Old Mines, Native American communities, and several Spanish speaking communities. Bergey and Olin wrote this blog post to introduce the collection to researchers at the American Folklife Center.
Way back in 2022, after the Homegrown Plus Premiere series from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress was over, we managed to squeeze one more concert into the Homegrown 2022 season. With support from The Embassy of Georgia and The America-Georgia Business Council, we held a live a cappella holiday concert in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. The group was Alilo, a well known professional vocal ensemble from (you guessed it!) the country of Georgia. This blog presents the concert video, along with photos and links to more Georgian content.