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Homegrown Plus: Emma Björling and Petrus Johansson

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.

Homegrown Plus: Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas

We continue the Homegrown Plus series with the duo of Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, who perform their own unusual arrangements of traditional and original Scottish and American folk music on fiddle and cello. Alasdair Fraser has a concert and recording career spanning over 30 years, with a long list of awards, accolades, radio and television credits, and feature performances on top movie soundtracks, including Last of the Mohicans and Titanic. In 2011, he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. Natalie Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, is one of the most sought after cellists in traditional music today, and has performed and recorded with Mark O’Connor, Natalie MacMaster, Irish supergroups Solas and Altan, Liz Carroll, Dirk Powell, Brittany Haas, Darol Anger, Laura Cortese, and many more. Together, the duo of Fraser & Haas has helped reconstruct and revive a longstanding Scottish tradition of playing dance music on violin and cello. For their socially distanced concert, they performed some music solo and some using studio technology to join up separate performances, but most of it is never-before-released concert footage from their archive of pre-pandemic performances. In the interview, we discuss their separate musical histories as well as their 20-year career as a duo.

Homegrown Plus: Eva Salina and Peter Stan

Eva Salina and Peter Stan have played not one but two Homegrown concerts in the last few years…so this blog presents three videos: both concerts and an oral history interview. California-grown, Brooklyn-based Eva Salina is a groundbreaking interpreter of Balkan Romani songs. Raised in the US Balkan Diaspora, Eva’s mentors are some of the greatest living Balkan musicians. Eva’s duo partner, Peter “Perica” Stan, is a Serbian/Romanian Roma accordionist known for his playful innovation and soulful, intuitive improvisations. Together, they played exciting Serbian and Roma music, and told fascinating stories about their lives and musical experiences. Find it all in the blog!

Citizen DJ and Collaborative Programming at American Folklife Center, Part 2

This guest post is the second in a series about collaborative programming the American Folklife Center supported last year that involved the Library’s Citizen DJ platform. The post comes to us from the staff at Class Act Detroit, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit, MI focused on providing equitable out-of-school programming that serves the metro […]

Homegrown Plus: Steve Riley and the Riley Family Band

We’re starting a new season of Homegrown Plus with a concert and oral history from the Riley Family Band featuring Steve Riley. Steve is a widely acclaimed master of the Cajun accordion, and also sings and plays fiddle and guitar with his acclaimed band Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Steve has two very talented sons: Burke, who was 10 when the concert was recorded, and Dolsy, who was 7. In this concert father and sons perform together in their own backyard, billing themselves as The Riley Family Band. In the oral history interview, I asked Steve about his whole musical history. Find both videos right here on the blog!

Homegrown 2021 Concert Series Starts at Noon on March 10

Here at the American Folklife Center, we’re busy working on the 2021 Homegrown at Home Concert Series.  These concert videos, recorded at home by the artists, will be presented online every other Wednesday starting at noon (Eastern U.S. Time Zone), initially on the AFC Facebook page and then permanently on the Library of Congress YouTube […]

Citizen DJ and Collaborative Programming at American Folklife Center, Part 1

This guest post is the first in a series about collaborative programming the American Folklife Center has recently supported involving the Library’s Citizen DJ platform. The post comes to us from Solidarity Studios, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, IL but working worldwide to connect youth with music making skills, empowering narratives, and each other. […]

Homegrown at Home and Home Archive Challenge on the Folklife Today Podcast

Episode 19 of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 7) is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher.  As usual, I’ll use this blog post to direct you to fuller audio and video of the items we mentioned in the podcast, […]

Homegrown Plus: The Murphy Beds

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!) I’m very happy to continue the series with The Murphy Beds, which is the duo of Eamon O’Leary and Jefferson Hamer. The Murphy Beds present traditional and original folk songs with close […]