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Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film Screening and Discussion Event

On September 29th and 30th, 2017, the Library of Congress is hosting “Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film,” a series of free film screenings and discussions organized by the American Folklife Center. The films feature fascinating explorations of traditional culture in the U.S., focused particularly on cultural communities, traditional artists and their cultural practices in […]

Tracking Lomax’s 1952-53 Spain trip

Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita is the current scholar in the Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the Study of the Alan Lomax Collection, and has been using her time at the Library of Congress to explore materials held at the AFC related to Lomax’s 1952–53 field recording trip to Spain. In this recent guest post on the Kluge […]

Billy Bragg, Skiffle Historian and Singer, Visits the Library July 21

This blog post about the singer-songwriter Billy Bragg is part of a series called “Hidden Folklorists,” which examines the folklore work of surprising people, including people better known for other pursuits. Billy Bragg will be here for a book talk, July 21 at 7:00 pm in the Mumford Room of the James Madison Memorial Building. […]

“I Didn’t Done the Crime”: Stavin’ Chain’s “Batson” and the Batson Case

Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses the version of the ballad performed by Wilson Jones, aka “Stavin’ Chain,” in light of the real-life Batson case. In previous blog posts about the murder ballad “Batson,” I looked at early versions collected by Robert Winslow […]

“No One Can Ever Forget It”: Stavin’ Chain’s Performance of “Batson”

Note: This is the second in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses the performance recorded by John A. and Alan Lomax from a trio of musicians including Wilson Jones, a.k.a. Stavin’ Chain, in 1934. A little while back, I presented for the first time anywhere a version of the […]

“When I First Got Ready For the War,” a Song of World War I

This is one of two articles, each focusing on one ethnographic recording of an African American song of World War I. To read the article about “Trench Blues” select here. African Americans left to serve in World War I, beginning one hundred years ago in June 1917, landing in France on June 25. They had […]

“Oh, Mama”: A Mother’s Love and the Murder Ballad “Batson”

Note: This is the first in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses previously unpublished versions of the song from manuscript collections at AFC. Introduction The ballad “Batson,” collected by John and Alan Lomax from Wilson Jones (whose nickname was “Stavin’ Chain”) and two accompanists, has long been a well-known […]

Beyoncé, Paul Bowles, and More: Current GRAMMY Nominees with AFC Connections on the Library of Congress Blog

Note: This is just a teaser for a fuller post over at the Library of Congress Blog. Read the full story there! This year the GRAMMY awards promise to be exciting for music fans everywhere, but especially fans of the American Folklife Center.  At least four of the nominees have connections to the AFC archive: […]

Nearly 300,000 Lomax documents now accessible online

This is a guest post by the American Folklife Center’s Alan Lomax curator Todd Harvey. Fans of folk music fire up your browsers! The second—and largest—phase of the Lomax family papers has just gone online at this link. This set of manuscripts joins ca. 25,000 items that went online last fall. Researchers now have access to nearly […]

Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the Study of the Alan Lomax Collection

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress invites qualified scholars to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship for advanced research based on the Alan Lomax Collection. The Lovelace Fellowship, established in 2015 for the study of the Alan Lomax Collection, pays tribute to the 60-year friendship between philanthropist Jon B. Lovelace and James […]