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Dance Heritage Coalition Intern Helps Expand Access to Lomax Choreometrics Materials

This is a guest post from Lotus Norton-Wisla, an intern at the American Folklife Center working to improve access to materials in the Alan Lomax Collection related to choreometrics, which was Lomax’s methodology for studying dance performance style. These materials consist of more than 70 boxes of paper materials and more than 3,500 film elements. […]

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!

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 […]

Caught Our Ears: Two French Songs from Maine

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.

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. […]

What Was the Green Man?

This is our second post about the Green Man, a figure from traditional folk culture. It traces the meaning of the phrase “Green Man” from the 16th to the 20th centuries, providing a wealth of historical references to “green men,” which were wild men covered in leaves, often armed with clubs. The post is richly illustrated with appearances of the Green Man in paintings, sculptures, engravings, and other artworks.

Katherine Dunham’s Ethnographic Research in the Caribbean

Katherine Dunham is perhaps most famous for her influence on modern American dance with the introduction of African and Caribbean dance movement. That work began with ethnographic work in the Caribbean in 1936. Films made during her research have been put online by the Music Division of the Library of Congress in Selections from the […]