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Category: Homegrown Plus

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

Homegrown Plus: Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. We're proud to continue the series with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, an American roots music duo based in New York's Catskill Mountains. They are best known for their work on the soundtrack of Ken Burns's PBS documentary series, The Civil War. Jay's composition "Ashokan Farewell" became the musical centerpiece of the Grammy-winning soundtrack and was nominated for an Emmy. Their performance left a lasting impression on everyone who tuned in. Jay’s fiddling is known for playfulness, drama, soul and technical verve, as he explores many musical styles and idioms that he has internalized and made his own. Molly’s inventiveness on piano and guitar supports the tunes and follows the flow of the melody. Her rich and expressive vocals round out the experience of their award-winning concert presentations.

Iona Fyfe. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Homegrown Plus: Iona Fyfe

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Welcome to another post in our Homegrown Plus series, in which we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We're continuing the series with  Iona Fyfe, who is a folksinger from Aberdeenshire in the North East of Scotland. Iona is recognized as one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East. Winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018, Iona has been described by Global Music Magazine as “one of the best Scotland has to offer.” In her Homegrown concert, Iona sang a variety of traditional ballads associated with her part of Scotland. She also honored the American Folklife Center by taking what we call the "Archive Challenge": learning a song from one of our archival recordings. In Iona's case, the song was "The White Fisher," as sung by Bell Duncan in the James Madison Carpenter collection. In our conversation, Iona and I talked about a lot of topics, including the influence of great archival collections on Scottish folksinging; the importance of regional identity in Scottish music; the experience of getting a traditional music degree from a conservatory; the influence of teachers like Rod Paterson, Margaret Bennett, and Ian Russell; and Iona's plans to draw further on AFC's James Madison Carpenter collection. Watch both videos right here in this blog post!

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

Homegrown Plus: Changüí Majadero

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. We're happy to be continuing the series with the Cuban American band Changüí Majadero. Founded by tres guitarist and vocalist Gabriel García, Changüí Majadero was the result of García’s pivotal pilgrimage to the Guantanamo region of Cuba, where he learned the musical style called changüí from the living masters of the style. He says he was inspired to spread the spirit of Cuban folkloric music mixed with a dash of East Los Angeles grit. The band's concert included songs they learned during research in the American Folklife Center archive, along with other songs from their repertoire. Our conversation with Gabriel provides an introduction to the band and to the unusual style known as changüí, including the instruments, rhythms, and history of this important musical tradition.

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

Homegrown Plus: Joe Jencks

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In the "Homegrown Plus" series we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. We're continuing the series with our friend Joe Jencks, who is an accomplished singer-songwriter but also a lover of traditional songs, especially work and labor songs. For his Homegrown concert, he performed an entire set of songs from the AFC archive, making this concert also an example of an artist taking the Archive Challenge. We're delighted that Joe took the challenge, and we think he did a fantastic job in his exemplary concert video. You can watch his concert, his interview video, and a bonus Archive Challenge song from Folk Alliance International, all in this blog post!

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

Homegrown Plus: PIQSIQ Inuit-Style Throat Singing

Posted by: Stephen Winick

It's been a while since we posted a Homegrown Plus post! In this ongoing series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. We're continuing the series with PIQSIQ, an Inuit style throat singing duo who characterize their style as being "galvanized by darkness and haunting northern beauty." PIQSIQ is composed of sisters Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik and Kayley Inuksuk Mackay. These talented performers come together to create a unique duo, performing ancient traditional songs along with new compositions. The two grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, with roots in Nunavut, Canada's northernmost territory. After years of hard work on their music, they have developed their own form, blending haunting melodies and otherworldly sounds. As PIQSIQ, they perform their songs with live improvisational looping, creating a dynamic audience experience that changes with every show. In this blog, you'll find their November 2020 concert and their February 2021 oral history interview.

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

Homegrown Plus Four: The 2018 Archive Challenge Sampler Concert

Posted by: Stephen Winick

  In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with one that fell through the cracks for a while: the 2018 Archive Challenge Sampler concert in the Coolidge Auditorium. Today is …

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

Collection Connections: Hubby Jenkins Homegrown Concert, August 11

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're excited for this week’s Homegrown concert from Hubby Jenkins, who will be playing old-time songs and spirituals that are the root of American folk, country, blues, and gospel. The concert premieres at noon on August 11 on our Facebook page. After that, the concert will be available permanently at his concert page, where you can also read more about Hubby. For now, I’ll just say that he's an old-time and blues musician living in New York. He's a singer and multi-instrumentalist who plays guitars, banjos, mandolins, and bones. He has been a member of the Rhiannon Giddens Band, and before that the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.  As a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he played at the Library of Congress back in 2012. In this post, I’ll try to whet your appetites by talking about a few of the songs Hubby plays in the concert, and presenting related field recordings from our collections.

Two head and shoulders portraits: a woman facing the camera and a man facing left.

Homegrown Plus: Emma Björling and Petrus Johansson

Posted by: Stephen Winick

By now, experienced readers know the deal with these Homegrown Plus posts: we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. We're continuing the series with the duo of Emma Björling and Petrus Johansson, who perform beautiful arrangements of Swedish and other Scandinavian folksongs. Emma Björling (vocals) is one of the foremost singers of Swedish folksongs performing today. She is a member of the bands Lyy and Skye Consort with Emma Björling, as well as vocal groups Kongero and Baravox. She has also toured extensively with the well-known Swedish folk band Ranarim. Petrus Johansson (guitar) started playing guitar and bass, mostly jazz and rock, when he was quite young. During his University studies he met Emma, and together they started playing Swedish traditional music. This led to a greater interest in the guitar as a folk music instrument, using it to provide bass lines. He is a trained guitar and bass teacher and has worked at Ingesund College of Music and several music schools. He also works as a freelance musician and has played with Mats Berglund, Svante Turesson and others.

A woman plays Chinese Zheng

Homegrown Plus: Ann Yao

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) This time, though, there’s a twist: Ann Yao, who performed in the 2020 series, also presented a Homegrown concert way back in 2011 with the Ann …