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Guthries, Lomaxes, and Seegers

The “Great Folk Scare” of the 1930s-1950s had few surnames more prominent than Guthrie, Lomax, or Seeger. They were multi-generational families who today continue to practice folk music and illuminate tradition bearers. The American Folklife Center holds archival collections documenting these families and so we have produced guides to aid research access. This blog post explains and introduces the new guides.

Homegrown Plus Premiere: WÖR’s Folk and Early Music from Belgium

We’re continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with WÖR, a band of five musicians from Belgium whose curiosity and passion lead them to research old Flemish music and present it in vibrant contemporary arrangements. 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!

The Kitchen Sisters and Frances McDormand Live at the Library of Congress September 15

The American Folklife Center is delighted to announce a live program at the Library of Congress:
Live! at the Library: The Kitchen Sisters with Frances McDormand
Stories from the B Side of History
Presented by Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress
September 15, 2022, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Library of Congress, Coolidge Auditorium

This event is part of the Live! at the Library series and the Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series.

Admission is free, but attendees must secure tickets at the link provided in this blog post. All the info is in the post!

Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Camille Moreddu on French American Traditions

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!

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Janusz Prusinowski Kompania’s Progressive Village Music from Poland

We’re continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Janusz Prusinowski Kompania, a quartet that plays rural music of Polish villages on fiddles, flutes, accordions, and other traditional instruments.  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!

Work in Progress: New Story Map on the AFC’s Occupational Folklife Collections

We are excited to announce the new Library story map, Work in Progress: The American Folklife Center’s Occupational Folklife Collections, which explores the many collections in the AFC archives dedicated to documenting “occupational folklife,” or work culture, and people’s work-related histories and experiences in places across the country. Check out the Work in Progress story […]

AFC’s Community Collections Grants Recipients: Habele Outer Island Education Fund, Federated States of Micronesia

This is an excerpt from a post on the Library’s Of the People blog highlighting the 2022 AFC Community Collections Grant recipient, Habele Outer Island Education Fund and their project, “The Warp and Weft of the Remathau.” Written by AFC Senior Folklife Specialist Nancy Groce, the post is part of the Of the People blog […]

Capturing Military Stories with the Veterans History Project and Military Voices Initiative

This post is written in collaboration with Megan Harris, Senior Reference Specialist for the Veterans History Project On Tuesday, August 9, 2022 3 pm EST, the American Folklife Center will host the panel discussion, “Sharing Military Voices Archived at the American Folklife Center,” at the Library of Congress—and you’re invited! The American Folklife Center invites […]

Conversation with Nathan Salsburg, Curator at the Lomax Association for Cultural Equity

The American Folklife Center’s partnership with the Association for Cultural Equity dates from the Library’s acquisition of the Alan Lomax collection in 2004. The partnership focuses on creating access to and awareness of Lomax Family collections. The following is a conversation between Todd Harvey and Nathan Salsburg, respective curators from the American Folklife Center (AFC) […]

Music and Dance collections at the American Folklife Center

Music and dance have such prevalence in American Folklife Center collections that, appropriately, we announce guides to these cultural expressions in the same Folklife Today post. The resource guides “Music in the United States” and “Dance” provide descriptive access to more than 1000 AFC collections. Music and dance are intangible cultural expressions that lend themselves […]