Library of Congress: Spending a Lot of Time at Home? Take the Archive Challenge!

Library of Congress: Spending a Lot of Time at Home? Take the Archive Challenge!. “At the American Folklife Center, we know it’s been hard for those of you who are cooped up at home in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Most of the staff live in areas under stay-at-home orders, and have been working from home for weeks. And although some cities and states are starting to open up a little, we have a feeling it will be a while before we’re going out to concerts, theaters, jams, or open mics to perform or enjoy live music and performing arts. But guess what? At the Library of Congress, we have an amazing online archive of folk music and folklife which you can explore right from home, and we’d like to offer a suggestion: why not learn a song, tune, poem, or story from the archive, make a recording or video of yourself performing it, and post it online? Or make a work of art based on one of our photos, or write a story or poem based on our materials. We’d love to see what you come up with! Folks from all genres and creators of all art forms are invited to interpret a field recording, video, photo, or manuscript from the AFC Archive. You don’t need to be a professional in order to participate!”

Library of Congress: No Depression Features Zora Neale Hurston

Library of Congress: No Depression Features Zora Neale Hurston. “We’re happy to announce a new venture in getting our stories out there! We’re working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation. They’ll be publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the American Folklife Center and Folklife Today, over at their website.”

The Telegram (SaltWire): St. John’s web developer and musician creates online database for traditional Newfoundland music

The Telegram (SaltWire): St. John’s web developer and musician creates online database for traditional Newfoundland music. “[Allan] Farrell, who works as a web developer, can also be found most Sundays at a session of like-minded individuals plucking, strumming, bowing, beating, blowing or — as the accordion is his preferred instrument — squeezing the tunes of old Newfoundland and Ireland back to life. But carrying around all those sheets of paper was a nuisance, so he decided to make a publicly available, online database of traditional music he could access from anywhere on his phone.”

A Portrait of Baul: Keeping ancient traditions alive (Geographical)

Geographical: A Portrait of Baul: Keeping ancient traditions alive. “The Bauls of Bengal are an order of wandering folk singers that have kept their philosophies alive for centuries. But modern demands threaten to overtake their simple, itinerant lifestyles. Now, an audio-visual record is being taken to keep their vocal traditions alive for generations yet to come”

HoustonPress: Tracking Folk Punk’s New Wave With Its Archivist

HoustonPress: Tracking Folk Punk’s New Wave With Its Archivist. “The folk punk genre has its share of skeptics. Type the words into your Google search engine and plenty of derisive tropes and snarky memes will populate. But, maybe now more than ever, you’ll also find a broad and acclaimed array of music from diverse artists whose blend of folk music’s activism and punk’s urgency is just right for the times.”

Middlebury College: Students Examine Folk Music History Through a Digital Lens

Middlebury College: Students Examine Folk Music History Through a Digital Lens. “Focusing on the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, the class investigated how digital methodologies can be used to enhance historical inquiry. Key questions, said Michael J. Kramer, Digital Liberal Arts acting director and assistant professor of the practice, included ‘What does it mean to be American? What is authenticity? What is democracy? What are politics and power and identity?'” The article includes roundups of projects done by four students. A good read.

Internet Archive: After 50 Years, Riley Shepard’s “Encyclopedia of Folk Music” is Finally Available

Internet Archive: After 50 Years, Riley Shepard’s “Encyclopedia of Folk Music” is Finally Available. “On my 54th birthday, 10 years after my father’s death, I took my copy of The Encyclopedia to Internet Archives and gave it to Jeff and Brewster. It’s hard to put into words the closure this gave me, knowing that at least after all the twists, turns and broken promises, Dad’s early copy will be online for people to use at no cost. I was told by Jeff Kaplan that he’d already found an obscure song in The Encyclopedia and performed it with his duo. I wish I could have been there to hear it!”

The Guardian: Can folk music save the honeybee?

The Guardian: Can folk music save the honeybee?. “Folk music has long gone hand in hand with political protest. From Pete Seeger’s 1959 rendition of the African American gospel We Shall Overcome, which became an anthem for the civil rights movement, to Dick Gaughan’s Ballad of ‘84, a clarion call for the Scottish miners’ strike, the combination of one singer and their guitar has had a potent effect on galvanising activists. Now, folk is turning its attention to the bees.”

Wall Street Journal: Institute Gives Yiddish Songs a Fresh Star Turn

Wall Street Journal, and for me it was paywalled: Institute Gives Yiddish Songs a Fresh Star Turn. “Ruth Rubin devoted most of her life to preserving a Jewish folk song tradition that seemed destined to die. Now, a New York-based organization is making sure it survives permanently by creating a publicly available digital archive.”

HV1: Preserving the Catskill folk songs of Grant Rogers

HV1: Preserving the Catskill folk songs of Grant Rogers. “Walton native Grant Rogers (1907-1979) didn’t consider himself a folksinger; in 1965 he told Folk-Legacy song collector Sandy Paton that folksingers were ‘fellers like Burl Ives or Pete Seeger,’ and that he was merely ‘a stonecutter that makes up songs.’ Ironic, considering that Rogers was exactly the sort of person whom Seeger would have honored with that description. He was a self-taught guitarist, fiddler, square dance caller, amateur historian and songwriter who made up tall tales about the Catskills and set them to music – among them ‘The Legend of Slide Mountain,’ which attributes the naming of that summit to an ornery, much-married homesteader who chased off her husbands with a shotgun whenever she tired of them, leading eventually to a human landslide when a sheriff’s posse abandoned an ill-considered effort to apprehend her.”

Survival of a folk revival: Digitizing a vast music archive (Northwestern University)

Northwestern University: Survival of a folk revival: Digitizing a vast music archive. “The festival ran from 1957 to 1970 in Berkeley, California, an epicenter of the mid-20th century’s folk music revival. The archive comprises more than 70,000 items, including photographs, posters, recordings, and copious business records centered on a festival that hosted more than 200 folk musicians, including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Howlin’ Wolf. (Those business records provide a thorough look at the operations of a major festival, down to a receipt for three doughnuts. Total: 50 cents.)”

American Folklife Center: AFC’s James Madison Carpenter Collection Is Online

American Folklife Center: AFC’s James Madison Carpenter Collection Is Online. “The collection itself was the work of James Madison Carpenter, a Harvard-trained scholar who gathered more than 3,000 traditional songs and 300 folk plays, as well as fiddle tunes, folk customs, children’s games, and traditional tales. He collected most of them in Britain between 1928 and 1935, with a smaller number coming from the USA, between 1927 and 1943…. He spent time in local communities recording traditional ballads, ‘bothy songs,’ seasonal carols, sea shanties, and more. Unlike earlier collectors, he made sound recordings of some of his contributors on wax cylinders, including some performers whose songs and tunes had previously been notated only by hand.”

British Library: Percy Grainger’s collection of ethnographic wax cylinders

This is from February but I missed it. From the British Library: Percy Grainger’s collection of ethnographic wax cylinders. “The British Library is pleased to make available online around 350 English folk songs recorded by composer Percy Grainger in different regions of England between 1906 and 1909. Thanks to the generous support of the National Folk Music Fund, these sound recordings have been catalogued and indexed by librarian, researcher and folklorist Steve Roud, author of Folk Song in England (Faber & Faber, 2017). Roud has also married them up with Grainger’s transcriptions of the songs, where these exist, on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website, thanks to their digitisation of the Percy Grainger Manuscript Collection.”