The Berea Sound Archives collections document audio recordings of folk and music festivals directed at celebrating and preserving traditional vernacular American culture. They also promote newer tradition-based forms, such as Bluegrass, newgrass, and cont
In A History of Folk Music Festivals in the United States: Feasts of Musical Celebration, Ronald D. Cohen presents a comprehensive narration of folk music festivals in America, providing details on events both large and small from the 19th century to the present. Cohen discusses events like the Newport, Philadelphia, University of Chicago, and National Folk Festivals, describing and analyzing long-running as well as short-lived festivals throughout the country and covering a dizzying array of musical styles, including blues, Cajun, Irish, klezmer, women's, bluegrass, gospel, country, singer-songwriters, and world. Cohen draws on a wide range of primary and secondary sources to create a detailed description of these exciting "feasts of musical celebration," capturing the nature and variety of the festivals and fully expressing this vital part of the development of folk music. Studying these events brings a truly national perspective to our understanding of folk music and provides important insights into their social, cultural, musical, and even political contexts. This account of folk music festivals in America is vital to folklorists, ethnomusicologists, U.S. historians, and readers with an interest in folk music and its history.
This first ethnographic study of the American folk music revival that began in the late 1980s examines its people, economy, and politics. Covering the perspectives of fans, performers, marketers, and others, Thomas Gruning takes on some of the folk community's stickiest issues, many of which have roots extending to the previous folk heyday in the 1960s--and sometimes to even more distant eras. Today, such issues are most evident in the clash between the folk community's entrepreneurial, tech-savvy present and its idealized memory of origins in some rural, egalitarian, blue-collar past. Whose voice gets heard in the folk community has always raised fundamental questions about race, gender, sexuality, authenticity, and power relations, says Gruning. To assess folk's current state and the direction it may be heading, Gruning discusses the microcosm of folk music festivals, the rise of the singer/songwriter, the heightened visibility of gay and lesbian performers, the blurring distinction between folk and world music, the explosion of affordable, high-quality recording and reproduction technology, and more.Millennium Folkis a challenging new look at an understudied community, valuable for what it tells us about folk music, and for what folk in turn suggests about the wider culture's hopes and apprehensions in a globalized, consumerist world.
Introduction / Jo Lunsford Herron -- Mountain Dance & Folk Festival, a living tradition / Loyal Jones -- Ballads & storytelling / Betty Smith -- Dancing at the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival / Phil Jamison -- Shared traditions - a musician’s perspective / Roger Howell.
Based on extensive archival research and oral history, Michael Ann Williams's Staging Tradition traces the parallel careers of the creators of the Renfro Valley Barn Dance and the National Folk Festival. Through their devotion to staging of traditional culture, including folk, country, and bluegrass music, John Lair (1894-1985) and Sarah Gertrude Knott (1895-1984) became two of the mid_twentieth century's most notable producers. Lair and Knott's discovery of new developments in theater and entertainment during the 1920s led them to the producing careers that fed their own needs to be center stage. Inspired by programs such as WLS's Barn Dance and the success of early folk events, Lair began promoting Kentucky musicians and Knott staged her own radically inclusive festival, which included Native and African American traditions, and continues today as the National Folk Festival. Through extensive original research, Williams shows how Lair and Knott fed the public's fascination with the art of the common man," and were in turn buffeted by cultural forces that developed around and beyond them.
In May 1991 the Richard Reuss Memorial Folk Music Conference, the first of its kind, was held at Indiana University in Bloomington. For two days a stellar gathering of folk music performers, scholars, journalists, and activists discussed their memories of the folk music revival in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. These presentations, now substantially revised and published for the first time, give an exciting overview of the revival from a variety of important and stimulating perspectives. Various key performers and folklorists give personal accounts of the time, while Irwin Sibler (editor of Sing Out!) and Jon Pankake and Barry Hansen (editors of The Little Sandy Review) discuss the development and role of the leading folk music magazines. These essays retain the idiosyncrasies of the original presentations, while giving multiple insights and understandings of the folk music revival, a crucial cultural and musical moment in recent U.S. history, as well as racial, gender, and political differences within the revival, popular versus traditional folk music styles, and much more. Scholars and students of folk music and popular music of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as those interested in American popular culture in general, will benefit from these wide-ranging and stimulating essays. Cloth edition [0-8108-2955-X] previously published in 1995.
In 1932 Florence Reece, the wife of a Kentucky coal miner, wrote one of the classic topical songs preserved in the folk musical revival. The song, "Which Side Are You On?," contrasts the lot of the working class and the bosses, and asks the listener to choose. This politically charged song was performed again during the Civil Rights Movement, with its lyrics appropriate to the 1960s. It was recorded more recently by Billy Bragg. Indeed, the story of this song might serve as a microcosm of the entire history of the folk music revival. Dick Weissman, former member of the Journeymen and a musician still releasing CDs of his original compositions, brings his personal and professional involvement to this definitive history. Which Side Are You On? includes chapters and sections on the Lomaxes, Harry Smith, the little known Lawrence Gellert, Woody Guthrie, Josh White, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, groups such as the Weavers and the Kingston Trio, Dave Van Ronk, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Natalie Merchant, Ani Difranco, Bela Fleck, Nickel Creek, the Indigo Girls, and many others. Which Side Are You On? also explores the folk music business in depth: how it all works, where the power really lies, how the artists have been manipulated and often exploited, the dynamic between artist and audience. Though he writes as a historian, Weissman also has seen it all from the inside, and includes anecdotes that are both funny and poignant: My friend and guitarist-singer Artie Traum took care of one of two houses that Bob Dylan owned in Woodstock, some thirty five years ago. The house had thirty seven rooms! Artie was instructed not to give out Dylan's phone number to any caller. The first caller was Joan Baez, and Artie followed instructions, calling Dylan at the other house to relay the call. During Artie's house-sitting chores, I visited him. He took me on a brief tour of the house. In one room were sacks of mail. We randomly opened a half-dozen letters. The one that I remember was by a female fan in North Dakota. She had been to a Dylan concert and reminded him that they had met. There was something touching though pathetic about the letter.
For a brief period from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s, folk music captured a mass audience in the United States, as college students and others swarmed to concerts by the likes of Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. In this comprehensive study, Ronald D. Cohen reconstructs the history of this singular cultural moment, tracing its origins to the early decades of the twentieth century. Drawing on scores of interviews and numerous manuscript collections, as well as his own extensive files, Cohen shows how a broad range of traditions -- from hillbilly, gospel, blues, and sea shanties to cowboy, ethnic, and political protest music -- all contributed to the genre known as folk. He documents the crucial work of John Lomax and other collectors who, with the assistance of recording companies, preserved and distributed folk music in the 1920s. During the 1930s and 1940s, the emergence of left-wing politics and the rise of the commercial music marketplace helped to stimulate wider interest in folk music.,Stars emerged, such as Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, and Josh White. With the success of the Weavers and the Kingston Trio in the 1950s, the stage was set for the full-blown "folk revival" of the early 1960s. Centered in New York's Greenwich Village and sustained by a flourishing record industry, the revival spread to college campuses and communities across the country. It included a wide array of performers and a supporting cast of journalists, club owners, record company executives, political activists, managers, and organizers. By 1965 the boom had passed its peak, as rock and roll came to dominate the marketplace, but the folk revival left an enduringmusical legacy in American culture.
Intimate, anecdotal, and spell-binding,Singing Out offers a fascinating oral history of the North American folk music revivals and folk music. Culled from more than 150 interviews recorded from 1976 to 2006, this captivating story spans seven decades and cuts across a wide swath of generations and perspectives, shedding light on the musical, political, and social aspects of this movement. The narrators highlight many of the major folk revival figures, including Pete Seeger, Bernice Reagon, Phil Ochs, Mary Travers, Don McLean, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Ry Cooder, and Holly Near. Together they tell the stories of such musical groups as the Composers' Collective, the Almanac Singers, People's Songs, the Weavers, the New Lost City Ramblers, and the Freedom Singers. Folklorists, musicians, musicologists, writers, activists, and aficionados reveal not only what happened during the folk revivals, but what it meant to those personally and passionately involved. For everyone who ever picked up a guitar, fiddle, or banjo, this will be a book to give and cherish. Extensive notes, bibliography, and discography, plus a photo section.
Southern folklife is the heart of southern culture. Looking at traditional practices still carried on today as well as at aspects of folklife that are dynamic and emergent, contributors to this volume ofThe New Encyclopedia of Southern Cultureexamine a broad range of folk traditions. Moving beyond the traditional view of folklore that situates it in historical practice and narrowly defined genres, entries in this volume demonstrate how folklife remains a vital part of communities' self-definitions. Fifty thematic entries address subjects such as car culture, funerals, hip-hop, and powwows. In 56 topical entries, contributors focus on more specific elements of folklife, such as roadside memorials, collegiate stepping,quincea eracelebrations, New Orleans marching bands, and hunting dogs. Together, the entries demonstrate that southern folklife is dynamically alive and everywhere around us, giving meaning to the everyday unfolding of community life.