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Alan Lomax and the Soundscapes of the Upper Midwest
75th anniversary of the Library of Congress Folk-Song Expedition to Michigan
In 1938 the Library of Congress dispatched the pioneering folklorist and song collector Alan Lomax to complete a folklife survey of the Great Lakes region. He set off in a 1935 Plymouth sedan, toting a Presto instantaneous disc recorder and a moving image camera. He returned almost three months later, having driven thousands of miles on barely paved roads, with a cache of 250 discs and 8 reels of film. These materials documented the incredible range of ethnic diversity and occupational folklife in Michigan.
This podcast series marks the 75th anniversary of Alan Lomax's historic documentation of music and folklore in Michigan-- and its lasting impact on our lives today. If you want to learn more about this remarkable trip, as well as public programming and performances, a traveling exhibition, and the dissemination of recordings to their home communities, go to the American Folklife Center website at www.loc.gov/folklife/lomax/. Look for the e-book, “Michigan-I-O,” published by Dust to Digital Records in association with the Library of Congress, available through the iBookstore beginning November 1st, 2013.
Alan Lomax's vast documentary collection including the materials from the 1938 expedition to Michigan is housed at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. The Center thanks its project collaborators, which include the Michigan Council for the Humanities, the Michigan State University Museum, the Great Lakes Traditions Endowment, the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Culture at the University of Wisconsin, the Association for Cultural Equity, and the Finlandia Foundation.
Title: I went to Marquette: The Bellaires of Baraga
Description: French-American singing in Baraga, Michigan.
Date: February 14, 2014
Running Time: 4:58 minutes
Title: Across the Straits of Mackinac
Description: Popular music in a Polish-American community, Posen, Michigan.
Date: February 7, 2014
Running Time: 4:58 minutes
Title: Lost on Lake Michigan
Description: Irish-American song composition on Beaver Island, Michigan.
Date: November 15, 2013
Running Time: 5:39 minutes
Title: The Beaver Island Boys
Description: Beaver Island, Michigan, fiddling and bawdy songs.
Date: November 1, 2013
Running Time: 6:25 minutes
Description: Songs of the Great Lakes sailors performed in Traverse City, MI.
Date: October 21, 2013
Running Time: 5:36 minutes
Title: Songs and Tales of the Michigan Lumberjacks
Description: Lumbermen and Shantymen from northern Michigan perform their repertoires.
Date: October 15, 2013
Running Time: 6:10 minutes
Title: In the Shadow of the Chrysler Plant
Description: Serbian-Americans perform traditional music in modern Detroit, 1938.
Date: October 7, 2013
Running Time: 6:15 minutes
Title: Mrs. Maté of Delray
Description: A Hungarian-American singer performs "The Fisherboy's Sweetheart" in Delray, a Detroit neighborhood.
Date: September 30, 2013
Running Time: 5:30 minutes