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Category: Asian American History

Homegrown Plus: From China to Appalachia with Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, and Chao Tian

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! We're continuing the series with a concert and interview featuring Grammy Award winning American Roots artists Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer together with accomplished Chinese classical hammered dulcimer player Chao Tian. The trio's repertoire includes traditional Chinese and Appalachian music as well as contemporary and traditional music from around the world. They use instruments that include yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), gourd banjo, five-string banjo, ukulele, guitars, dumbek, cello-banjo and mandolin, employing them in unusual combinations to create exciting new arrangements of old music. Cathy and Marcy join Chao in singing Chinese songs, and Chao easily adds her love of American Old-Time music to fiddle tunes and songs. As usual with Homegrown Plus blogs, you'll find the concert video, an interview video, and a wealth of links to related collections and concerts, all right here in this blog post. 

AAPI hosts wokshop and itneriews with VHP Los Angeles, CA, May 2023.

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month with VHP interviews in Los Angeles

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

The following is a guest blog post by Andrew Huber, a liaison specialist for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP). The idea of an event focusing on collecting stories from Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) veterans all stemmed from a simple question asked during a VHP workshop in 2020. I was teaching …

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.

Homegrown Plus: Tenzin Choegyal’s Tibetan Music from Australia

Posted by: Stephen Winick

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.

Black and white photograph of a woman sitting at a desk.

The Alice Fletcher Korean Cylinder Recordings : A Small Part of D.C. History

Posted by: Allina Migoni

Alice Cunningham Fletcher, anthropologist and ethnologist, is most known for her work with Native American groups and her early field recordings of Native American culture. However, this blog will focus another aspect of Fletcher’s fieldwork, a small group of rare and invaluable recordings of traditional Korean music, which she made on July 24, 1896. These cylinders contain the earliest known recordings of Korean music in the world, and predate the next documented recording of Korean song by 11 years. Specifically, they contain songs sung by Korean students whose names are often transliterated today as Ahn Jeong-sik, Lee Hee-Cheol and Son Rong. In this blog you can see a video lecture by Robert Provine about the cylinders, and hear four songs from the collection. These fascinating Korean recordings testify to the historical significance of AFC's cylinder collections to diverse communities all over the world.

Photograph of David Nagashima, Iyo Nagashima, and Yoshiko Nagashima standing in a field outside of their home.

National Women’s History Month on the Folklife Today Podcast

Posted by: Allina Migoni

We’re back with another episode of the Folklife Today podcast! In this episode, reference librarian Allina Migoni and folklorist Michelle Stefano do a special takeover of the podcast in honor of National's Women's History Month. In this episode, Allina and Michelle chose interviews with women from across the collections who have shaped those around them and are dedicated to passing down their cultural traditions. Through these brief insights into these women's lives, we hope to tell a greater story about how women through everyday interactions and relationships shape our society. This may be through the stories they tell, the traditions they pass on, the skills they teach, and the legacies they create.

Five people photographed on a platform overlooking the Himalayas

Personal Connections to Folklife Collections: The Linda LaMacchia Collection

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Linda LaMacchia was a folklorist and ethnographer who documented the music and lives of Tibetan Buddhist nuns, or jomos, in the Kinnaur district of northwestern India between 1985 and 2017. LaMacchia conducted fieldwork in Kinnaur for a period of fifteen months in 1995 and 1996 for her dissertation, while pursuing a PhD in South Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In this blog post, processing archivist Sara Ludewig writes about the personal connections she made with the collection, and presents comparisons of photos from the collection with photos she herself took in the same locations in India.

A group of women dancing outside a Buddhist temple

AFC’s Community Collections Grants: Documenting Lao New Year in Iberia Parish, Louisiana

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

Below is an excerpt of a guest post on the Library’s Of the People blog comprised of notes, observations, and an interview by Sami Haggood (Project Assistant Director) with Phanat Xanamane (Project Director) on their project, the Louisiana Lao New Year Archive, as part of a blog series featuring the 2022 awardees of the AFC’s Community …

A woman plays the hammered dulcimer

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Chinese Hammered Dulcimer with Chao Tian

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Chao Tian, a master of the yangqin, or Chinese hammered dulcimer, as well as a sound designer and visual artist. For her concert, Chao Tian is joined by Tom Teasley, a multidimensional percussionist, performer, and composer. 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!