October 9, 2015

Listen to Our Story: Alan Lomax, Folk Producer/Folk Promoter

Alan Lomax in 1982
Nathan Salsburg of the Association for Cultural Equity explores two key undertakings from this aspect of Lomax's career, his 1959 "Southern Journey" field-recording trip and its later ancillary, the American Patchwork video recording project (1978-1985). He argues that Lomax's technological, curatorial and promotional savvy were fundamental to the success of his mission. He also discusses the outlets that ACE has pursued, since Lomax's retirement in 1998, to further publish and promote his work and that mission, from CDs to LPs to YouTube to site-specific repatriation initiatives. Alan Lomax is known primarily as a folklorist and a documentarian, terms that suggest that his work was largely in service of the archival preservation of traditional and vernacular culture. But Lomax, from the tender age of 17, saw a more activist mission for himself: giving a "voice to the voiceless" by laboring to carve out space in the communication system for "all the submerged cultures" and their specific expressive traditions. Speaker Biography: Nathan Salsburg is curator of the Alan Lomax Archive at the Association for Cultural Equity.

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