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From Cornwall to the Ozarks: More May Celebrations

  As you can read in Stephanie Hall’s Post “May Day: A Festival of Flowers,” on May Day, or May 1, people in Europe traditionally celebrated the coming of summer with songs, dances, and ceremonies.  But confining our understanding to one day alone would limit the materials we can share with you regarding springtime holidays, […]

Coffeehouses: Folk Music, Culture, and Counterculture

The following is a guest post by Nancy Groce, Senior Folklife Specialist at the American Folklife Center.  It originated as opening remarks for the forum Coffeehouses: Folk Music, Culture, and Counterculture, which was held last week in the Library’s Montpelier Room.  Webcasts of the event will eventually be added to the Library’s website and accessible […]

“A Dudele”: A Little Song for Jewish Heritage Month

Jewish vocal music culture in the United States reflects the variety of the many different parts of the diaspora from which the Jewish immigrants originally came, as well as different song traditions among Jewish denominations. This essay will examine some of the Jewish folksongs curated by the Recorded Sound section, the Music Division, and the […]

The Animals Marched In Two By Two: More Songs About Noah’s Ark

In my last post, I discussed the more serious side of songs about Noah’s ark. As I mentioned, though, there are other songs too, often with more celebratory messages–or even silly ones.  We’ll look at some of those Noah songs in this post. Celebratory songs tend to focus on the joy felt by Noah when […]

A Boatload of Songs About Noah’s Ark

The tale of Noah and the ark is one of the Bible’s perennially  popular  stories.  Children’s books, novels, comics, TV shows, and even movie novelizations are forever emerging onto the scene, depicting the story of the great flood. There’s even a motion picture out right now, featuring a modern take on the story. It may not […]

Folklorist Harry Oster’s collection of 1950s-60s folk music ranges from English folksongs in Iowa to Delta country blues

During a recent trip to the University of Iowa at the invitation of the Digital Studio for Public Arts and Humanities, I took the opportunity to show off some of our recently digitized recordings made by folklorist Harry Oster (1923-2001), who was on the English faculty at Iowa for 30 years. The American Folklife Center […]