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A group of 14 people in costumes

Happy Holidays! AFC’s 2023 Literary Ball Mummers Play Video

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Happy holidays from the American Folklife Center! Watch a video of the AFC Mummers performing our 2023 mummers play! Then you can read the play, see the pictures, and even read the annotations if you’re interested in the history of holiday customs. This year’s play is called “Artificial Intelligence Meets Natural Stupidity: A Literary Ball Mumming.” When Artificial Intelligence tries to make writers obsolete, can St. George Eliot, Sherlock Holmes and Enola Holmes save the day? Find out in this play set at the North Pole Library Literary Ball, which includes wassailing carols and dancing to traditional tunes as well! Mummers plays are short plays which were traditionally performed in Britain, Ireland, colonial America and the West Indies at holiday time. Mummers went from house to house and pub to pub, collecting food, drink and small change as a reward for their entertainment. The American Folklife Center’s archive boasts a large collections of British mummers play texts in its James Madison Carpenter Collection.

Portrait of singer Thea Hopkins on stage playing a guitar and singing into a microphone

New Guide Offers a Tool Kit for Staging an Archive Challenge

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Since 2015, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress has encouraged singers, musicians, and other artists to explore our archive. Through our Archive Challenge events, artists find a song or piece of music they love, put their own stamp on it through arrangement or interpretation, learn it, and perform it. But what if you work at a different archive, and would like to stage similar events to get the word out about your archival resources while also supporting artists and musicians? Good news! We've just created a research guide containing a tool kit for staging Archive Challenge events. Read all about the tool kit, and find a link to the toll kit itself, in this blog post from Folklife Today!

A man sings and plays Tibetan lute

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on the Folklife Today Podcast

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're back with another episode of the Folklife Today podcast! In this episode for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, John Fenn and Steve Winick invite guests to talk about Asian collections in the American Folklife Center. Allina Migoni talks about the earliest known recordings of Korean music, playing segments of a lecture by Robert Provine and a song sung by Ahn Jeong-Sik. Sara Ludewig discusses the Linda LaMacchia collection, including recordings made of Tibetan singers in India. Steve discusses Asian and Pacific Island collections in the Homegrown concert series, and plays a song, a story, and a flute composition by Grammy-nominated Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal. Special theme music is provided by ukulele master Herb Ohta, Jr.