Title: "From Lead Belly to Computerized Analysis of Folk Song": Lomax lecture on his life's work given at the Celeste Bartos Auditorium in New York City (part 1)
Date recorded: 1979
Date recorded: 1979
Subject(s): Cantometrics; Folklore; Ethnomusicology; The American School of the Air (radio show); Folk Songs of North America (book); Jackson, Aunt Molly; Morton, Ferdinand (Jelly Roll); Ledbetter, Huddie (Lead Belly); McColl, Ewan
Setting: Celeste Bartos Auditorium, New York City
Physical form: Cassette Tape
Tape number: T4100
Track Number: 1
Archive ID: T4100a
Belongs to: Lomax, 1979
Note: Recording quality of this lecture is very good. Audience greets the title with titters but then applauds at Alan's opening: "I'm an old New Dealer." Reminiscences of Franklin Roosevelt's love of old-time banjo and fiddling during visits to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Roosevelt's favorite political song: "I'm a good old rebel and I do not give a damn" and his skill at enlisting southern politicians to support his programs. Alan Lomax recounts how recording tenant farmers and their appeals to the president ("Work all week and don't make enough / It's hard on we poor farmers.") made him realize that his job in life was to give people avenues of expression. Cultural networks are easy to set up: corporations like Sony could change the world's culture, now under threat. Humans are all specialists in communication. Expressive art (including the oral arts) always grows in small places. Pygmy hocketing and counterpoint compared to Georgian and Genoan polyphony - 1,500 kinds of music, do we want to give all that all up? How Cajun music was preserved, beginning with appearances at Newport Folk Festival. Efforts of Ralph Rinzler. Louisiana legislature passed laws to preserve teaching of French language. Cajun people no longer embarrassed by their heritage. Story of Alan's radio program, The American School of the Air, broadcast in schools and its lasting influence. Aunt Molly Jackson explained how the song, "Old Man Come a Courting One Day," used to be sung as a kind of protest song when parents tried to marry off a daughter to man she didn't like. Jelly Roll Morton. Reads from Jelly Roll Library of Congress interview about the "mosey walk" and the importance of customized shoes in "sporting" culture. Heels might be removed, electric lights added. Alan links this to African dance style and its emphasis on being close to the earth. The shuffling stance permitted movement of the dancer's trunk (held stiff in European dance). Organizational basis of jazz. Black funerary groups only formal groups permitted. Later prostitutes acted as patrons of individual musicians. Antiphonal conversation is basis of black musical style.
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About the session: "From Lead Belly to Computerized Analysis of Folk Song": Lomax lecture on his life's work given at the Celeste Bartos Auditorium in New York City
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