We're continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with a video concert by the Hudaki Village Band from the Carpathian region of Ukraine. This is one of our prerecorded video concerts, shot on video in Ukraine and presented here for the first time! As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! The Hudaki Village Band is made up of nine master musicians from the Ukrainian Carpathians. In the Maramures region, a mountainous area of Southwest Ukraine on the border with Romania and Hungary, village musicians are called "hudaki." Archaic Slavic vocal traditions, Romanian melodies, Jewish rhythms and Romany temperament blend together in a local cross culture that has evolved over centuries of living side by side.
This post is a save-the-date announcement for the online discussion event, the Community-driven Archives: Local Needs/Global Practices in Safeguarding Living Cultural Heritage, bringing together panelists to discuss examples of community-guided documentation and archival preservation work from international perspectives. The event is hosted by the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, in collaboration with the American Folklore Society and the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore.
We're continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Ali Doğan Gönültas and Friends. This is one of our prerecorded video concerts, shot on video in Istanbul and presented here for the first time! As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! Ali Doğan Gönültas is a Kurdish musician born in Turkey. Ali's oral history and field research, which he began in 2007, led him to record and release the 2022 album “Kiğı," and to record this concert. Kiğı is a personal look at the 150-year musical process of the village of Kiğı, Ali's birthplace. It consists of works in the regional languages of Kurmancî, Kırdaskî, Armenian and Turkish, as well as Zazakî, Ali's mother tongue. Themes and styles such as govend (traditional Kurdish dance), laments, work songs, and prayer forms are conveyed with the modal characteristics of the region.
Back in February, we were delighted to host the first Homegrown concert of 2023 here at the Library of Congress. The concert was a solo performance by the banjo player, fiddler, and singer Jake Blount, an award-winning musician and a scholar of African American musical traditions. We presented Jake as part of Live! at the Library, the series featuring extended visiting hours and special programming every Thursday night. It was also part of the Black History Month celebrations at the Library of Congress and was presented in cooperation with the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. Like other blogs in the Homegrown Plus series, this one includes a concert video and a video interview with the featured performer (in this case Jake Blount), plus links and connections to Library of Congress collections.
A June 16th Library symposium entitled Rewriting America: Reconsidering the Federal Writers' Project 80 Years Later will bring attention to the enduring legacy and importance of the archival materials and mansucripts produced by a small army of unemployed writers, historians, librarians, teachers, and others for the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the 1930s. The symposium will illustrate how this Library collection continues to inform and inspire public outreach and interdisciplinary scholarship in fields ranging from public and oral history to journalism to ethnic studies and folklore. Dr. Alessandro Portelli will deliver the keynote address, which will be livestreamed. Learn more about the in-person symposium and how to attend, as well as how to attend the livestreamed keynote address, in this blog post.
Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! We're continuing the series with Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin, a duo that has been at the forefront of old-time string music and other folk styles for decades. Like other blogs in the Homegrown Plus series, this one includes a concert video and a video interview with the featured performers, plus links and connections to Library of Congress collections. Kate Brislin is a specialist in singing with others, a peerless blender. She was a founding member of the all female Any Old Time String Band in the 1970s. Tone and rhythm are paramount in the way she plays five-string banjo and guitar. Jody Stecher has been a soloist, a band member, an amateur folklorist, a record producer, an unusually enabling teacher, and an individualistic multi-instrumentalist and singer. In recent years he has been dreaming and composing new songs and tunes that sound old.
We're continuing the Homegrown Plus series with Bennett Konesni, who performs work songs in the context of both farm work and maritime pursuits in his home state of Maine. 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. Bennett Konesni is a singer, farmer, musician and administrator, based where he grew up in midcoast Maine, and also at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, NY, where parts of his family have lived since 1652. He has been singing work songs while working since he was a teenager on schooners in Penobscot Bay. At Middlebury College, he wrote a thesis based on research into Zulu work song traditions done while studying abroad in South Africa and involving a workshop at the Middlebury College Farm in 2004—one of the first work song workshops on an American farm. After graduating, Bennett studied musical labor on three continents thanks to a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship: musical fishing in Ghana and Holland, singing and dancing farmers in Tanzania, and livestock songs in Mongolia and Switzerland. Since 2007, Bennett has been using work songs at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm.
Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! We're continuing the series with Tenzin Choegyal, a master musician who is part of the global Tibetan diaspora, based in Australia. 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. Tenzin Choegyal is a Tibetan/Australian artist, composer, activist, musical director and cultural ambassador. Born to a nomadic family in Tibet, he escaped the Chinese occupation with his family in the early 1970s and was raised in a Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, India. There, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama actively encourages his people to preserve their culture, Tenzin first began to explore his musical talents. He feels a particular connection to the music of the high Himalayan plateau and, as a son of Tibetan nomads, he remains dedicated to preserving the musical traditions of his ancestors. His collaborative albums include The Last Dalai Lama? with Philip Glass and the 2021 Grammy-nominated Songs from the Bardo with Laurie Anderson and Jesse Paris Smith, which is a moving interpretation of the religious text popularly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! We're continuing the series with Cambalache, who perform son jarocho music, one of the regional Mexican styles that has become very important to the Chicano community in California. 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. Cambalache, named for a Spanish word that means "exchange," is a Chicano-Jarocho group based in East Los Angeles. Founded in 2007 and led by Cesar Castro (sonero, maestro and luthier from Veracruz, Mexico), Cambalache plays and promotes traditional son jarocho through performance, music workshops, and educational demonstrations. Son jarocho comes from Veracruz, Mexico, on the gulf coast, a cultural region shaped by Indigenous, African, and Spanish culture. In the spirit of the fandango, a traditional celebration of music and dance, Cambalache engages its audience through participatory performances.