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Category: Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus

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Cormac Ó hAodha and the Múscraí Gaeltacht: Botkin Plus Podcast!

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're back with another entry in the Botkin Plus series AND another episode of the Folklife Today podcast! In this entry, we'll provide the video of a Botkin Lecture and a podcast interview, both of them featuring Cormac Ó hAodha. Cormac is the most recent Lovelace Fellow (aka Lomax Scholar) at the Library of Congress's John W. Kluge Center. That's a fellowship established within the Kluge Center especially for the study of the Alan Lomax collection, one of the American Folklife Center's signature collections. Cormac comes from the village of Cúil Aodha in the Múscraí Gaeltacht of Co. Cork in Ireland, a recognized heartland of the Irish language and traditional Irish-language singing. He is conducting in-depth research on the material Lomax collected some 73 years ago from singers in the Múscraí singing tradition, the same singing tradition Cormac grew up in and is a part of. Some of the people recorded by Lomax are Cormac's relatives, and his research seeks to illuminate their songs, their language, and their traditions. Follow the link to the post, the video, and the podcast!

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Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Michael Ford, Mississippi Ethnographer, Photographer, Filmmaker, and Author

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Enjoy two video interviews with the ethnographer, photographer, and filmmaker Michael Ford. Michael first visited the American Folklife Center in 2014, soon after we were able to acquire his significant collection of materials documenting traditional life and culture in the hill country of northern Mississippi. Michael first moved to Mississippi in the 1970s after receiving his BFA in photography and film from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MS in broadcasting and film from Boston University. Michael became captivated with his new home, and soon became a part of community life. He completed an apprenticeship in a local blacksmith's shop and began to realize that local life and culture was rapidly changing. He spent several years documenting music, local farming practices, and other aspects of community life, primarily in Lafayette, Marshall, Tate, and Panola Counties in Mississippi. He shot over 16,000 feet of 16 mm film, recorded many hours of interviews and music, and took over 1000 still photographs. These have formed the basis of films, books, and more. As a special treat, we include links to streaming video of several of his films, exploring traditions of blues music, blacksmithing, quilting, and more! As usual for posts in this series, you'll find two embedded videos and a set of links to explore.

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Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Joseph Palackal on Syriac Christian Music

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In the Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus series, we present selected lectures in our Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lectures series that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. In this post, we'll present a classic lecture from 2018: Joseph J. Palackal and his presentation Syriac Chants & Aramaic Christianity in India. As usual for posts in this series, you'll find a lecture video, an interview video, and a set of links to explore.

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Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Barry Jean Ancelet on Theory and Practice of Folklore in Cajun and Creole Louisiana

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this post, we'll feature a Botkin Lecture classic: Barry Jean Ancelet, Professor Emeritus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, speaking on Theory and Practice of Folklore in Cajun & Creole Louisiana. As usual, this blog features videos of both the lecture and an interview with Barry Jean Ancelet. As you'll hear John Fenn say in introducing our speaker, we have presented many eminent colleagues in the Botkin series, but few of them have made as significant an impact on the documentation, public awareness, and revitalization of their chosen areas of interest as Professor Ancelet has for Cajun and Creole culture in Louisiana. Even fewer of them have been officially knighted by the government of France for their efforts. Those are just a few of the reasons we're delighted to present his lecture in our series.

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Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Camille Moreddu on French American Traditions

Posted by: Stephen Winick

This post features a lecture by Camille Moreddu, a cultural historian from France who is studying what she calls the "French Creole Corridor," French-speaking communities, primarily in the Upper Midwest, which retained fascinating French music and song recorded by collectors in the 20th and 21st centuries. In her lecture. Moreddu reviews the repertoire found in these and related collections--from Great Lakes voyageurs’ songs and French-Canadian fiddle tunes to the ballads, winter ritual songs, and local songs of the Creole settlements of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. She also discusses methods and experiences of the different collectors; the histories of colonial era Francophone settlers as well as later immigrants from France, Belgium, and Canada; and how the French cultural presence was integrated into the narrative and historiography of the American frontier. We also conducted a brief question and answer session with Moreddu, and appended it to the lecture video itself. Moreddu kindly did her lecture twice--once in English and once in French--to make it as accessible as possible to people with an interest in these collections, and we did the Q & A in both languages too!

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Homegrown and Botkin Plus: Ethel Raim and the An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In the Homegrown Plus series, and the Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts and Botkin lectures that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole Homegrown Plus series here, and find the whole Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus series here.) For Jewish-American Heritage Month, …

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

Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Billy Bragg

Posted by: Stephen Winick

A look at a book talk and interview with Billy Bragg, which occurred at the Library on July 21, 2017. Billy came to the Library of Congress to talk about his book, Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World. While he was here, I teamed up with the award-winning radio personality Mary Sue Twohy of Sirius/XM Radio to do a deep-dive oral history on Billy's life and career. Both videos are right here on this page--just scroll down!

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

Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Burt Feintuch

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In the Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus series, we’ll present selected lectures in our Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lectures series that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here.) We’re inaugurating the series with one of last year’s most fascinating lecturers, the late Burt Feintuch, who …

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James P. Leary and Folksongs of Another America

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The following installment in Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus post introduces James P. Leary, a distinguished folklorist and researcher who has published extensively on Library of Congress collections in the American Folklife Center. In addition to his lecture video, it includes photos, audio, and video from AFC's collections of Midwestern folk music, including Croatian, French, Scandinavian, Oneida, English, Welsh, and other ethnic groups. Most of the quotations from Leary in this article come from an email interview we did in July 2015, but I also quote occasionally from the lecture itself, which is also here as an embedded video.