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Category: Women’s History

A woman in elaborate Catrina Calavera (fancy skeleton) makeup.

Homegrown Plus: Mamselle Ruiz’s Mexican Sones from Montreal, Canada

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! Since it's Women's History Month, we thought we'd feature another fantastic woman musician, Mamselle Ruiz! 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. Since the interview was conducted in French, this blog also features an English language translation of the interview. Mamselle Ruiz is a Mexican-born singer and guitarist living in French-speaking Montréal. She was raised on all kinds of Mexican music, and she includes traditional Mexican folksongs such as “La Bruja” and “La Llorona” in a diverse repertoire that also includes Son Huasteco classics along with Latin cover songs and her own compositions. This concert features mostly traditional Mexican songs.

Head and shoulders portrait of a woman

Homegrown Plus: Neli Andreeva’s Traditional Songs from Bulgaria

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Since it's Women's History Month, we thought we'd get back into the Homegrown Plus series with Neli Andreeva! 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. Master traditional Bulgarian singer Neli Andreeva grew up in the resort of Narechen in the majestic Rhodope Mountains. She is a soloist as well as choirmaster of the Philip Koutev Folklore Ensemble, and has also been artistic director of the Nusha vocal ensemble. In this concert, Neli performs as a soloist, with choirs, and with instrumental accompaniment, for a varied program of traditional song.

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

Irish American Women on the Folklife Today Podcast

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're back with another episode of the Folklife Today podcast! To round out both Women's History Month and Irish American Heritage Month, we're presenting A Tribute to Irish American Women. As usual, I'll present links to relevant blog posts, videos, and audio selections in this post, as well as the link to download the podcast.

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

Hidden Folklorists and Hidden Spirituals on the Folklife Today Podcast

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Our latest podcast looks at three “Hidden Folklorists” from Louisiana with special guest Joshua Clegg Caffery from the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. The Hidden Folklorists are Becky Elzy and Aberta Bradford, two spiritual singers who had been born in slavery, but who years later sang over a hundred spirituals for collectors; and E.A. McIlhenny, the head of the Tabasco Sauce company, who first collected their spirituals into a book. We recount details of how a microfilm of unique, unpublished manuscript spirituals by Bradford and Elzy came to be part of the American Folklife Center archive, and how Bradford and Elzy came to be recorded on audio discs for the Library of Congress by Alan Lomax in 1934, with the resulting recordings also coming to the AFC Archive. It’s an amusing story in which the 19-year-old Alan Lomax is forced to leave his father, the seasoned collector John A. Lomax “by the side of the road” and drive 40 miles with the 73 year old Bradford to try to find the 82 year old Elzy so they can sing together for the Library’s recording machine. The episode also presents several of their spirituals, and ends with the very moving recording of two women who had been born in slavery singing “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, got free at last!”

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

Caught Our Ears: Two French Songs from Maine

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this blog, Stephen Winick looks into the mysterious background of two French-language folksongs in AFC's Maine Acadian Cultural Survey collection, "Fox Henry" or "Faux Henry," sung by Ida Burgoin Roy, and "Chambre et chaînes" sung by Connie Morin Desrosier. He identifies other versions of each song and provides audio, transcriptions, translations, and pictures of the singers.

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

Snapshots of AFC Women in the Field: Celebrating Our Own

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The following is a guest post by Jennifer Cutting. Continuing on the momentum set by the American Folklife Center’s symposium Women Documenting the World: Women as Folklorists, Ethnomusicologists & Fieldworkers (September 26, 2019), we’d like to showcase some women ethnographers who are very close to home. This blog post takes a scrapbook-style look at photographs …