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Archive: 2024 (12 Posts)

A woman sings into a microphone

Homegrown Plus: Ladino Songs with Nani Noam Vazana

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! We're continuing the series with a concert and interview featuring Nani Noam Vazana. Vazana is one of the few artists in the world who writes and composes new songs in the endangered Ladino (or Judeo-Spanish) language, a form of Spanish derived from Old Castilian which is spoken by Sephardic Jews living mostly in Israel, the Balkans, North Africa, Greece, and Turkey. Ladino, which traveled to these areas with Jewish communities expelled from Spain in 1492, is very nearly extinct in many places. Nani says her work seeks to capture the spirit of this ancient, matriarchal language and culture and propel it into the 21st century with socially pertinent lyrics addressing themes such as migration, gender, and female empowerment. Nani's goal is to create a bridge between tradition and modern life, capturing the sounds and smells of the marketplace and fusing them with surprising instrumentation and vibrant singing. As usual with Homegrown Plus blogs, you'll find the concert video, an interview video, and a wealth of links to related collections and concerts, all right here in this blog post.

What’s That Smell? Highlighting Cabbage in the Archives

Posted by: John Fenn

This guest post is from Meg Nicholas, as Folklife Specialist on the staff of the American Folklife Center. National Cabbage Day is this Saturday, February 17th. The oft-maligned and overlooked cabbage is loaded in important nutrients, comes in a variety of shapes and colors (did you know there is a purple Napa cabbage?) and aids …

Head and Shoulders portrait of a man

Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Barry Jean Ancelet on Theory and Practice of Folklore in Cajun and Creole Louisiana

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this post, we'll feature a Botkin Lecture classic: Barry Jean Ancelet, Professor Emeritus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, speaking on Theory and Practice of Folklore in Cajun & Creole Louisiana. As usual, this blog features videos of both the lecture and an interview with Barry Jean Ancelet. As you'll hear John Fenn say in introducing our speaker, we have presented many eminent colleagues in the Botkin series, but few of them have made as significant an impact on the documentation, public awareness, and revitalization of their chosen areas of interest as Professor Ancelet has for Cajun and Creole culture in Louisiana. Even fewer of them have been officially knighted by the government of France for their efforts. Those are just a few of the reasons we're delighted to present his lecture in our series.

Three men on a stage. Pete Seeger smiles at Andy Wallace. Wallace and Mike Rivers play guitars.

Announcing the Artists in Resonance Fellowship

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We’re very happy to invite applications for our brand new Artist in Resonance Fellowships at the AFC to support artists in creating new musical works inspired by and sourced from collection materials in the American Folklife Center Archives. One Fellowship of $10,000 will be awarded annually by the American Folklife Center. The deadline for the first Artists in Resonance award is April 5, 2024. In this blog post you'll find links to help you apply, as well as the story of the founding of the fellowship with the help of the late Mike Rivers.

Leah Chase, owner of the renowned Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans being interviewed at her establishment.

Now Available: The Fifth Season of the America Works Podcast

Posted by: Douglas D. Peach

Season 5 of America Works, a podcast from the American Folklife Center (AFC) celebrating the diversity, resilience, and creativity of American workers, is now available on loc.gov/podcasts. In this post, Nancy Groce, AFC Senior Folklife Specialist, explains what we will hear in Season 5, focused on African American workers.

Elderly woman sitting next to three children in the shade of several trees.

This Is Your Brain on Folklife: Upcoming Event Featuring Connections Between Longevity and Traditional Culture

Posted by: John Fenn

On Wednesday, February 7, the American Folklife Center will be co-hosting an event that explores some of the science and perspectives on longevity, working with our colleagues in the Library’s Health Services Division and an external partner, the Longevity Science Foundation. A panel will discuss issues informing work on longevity, including ethics, neural health, and …

Woman stands on stage of auditorium speaking to crowd with a hand held microphone.

Staff Spotlight: Melanie Zeck On Collaborating with National Philharmonic

Posted by: John Fenn

This guest post is by Melanie Zeck, one of our Reference Specialists at the American Folklife Center. As the stage door opened, blindingly bright lights struck my eyes.  I strode over to the piano, sensing that the audience was following my every move.  At that moment, I   realized that no one—not even the orchestra members …