Alan Lomax: Recorder of the World, Creator of Pandora?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To many people, Alan Lomax is simply the man who introduced the world to Woody Guthrie (and legendary folk songs like “This Land is Your Land”). But for Alan Lomax, Guthrie was just one of thousands of musical discoveries made over the course of more than half a century. Lomax, who served as Assistant Folk Song Archivist for the Library of Congress in the 1930s, recorded music from some of the most remote corners and people on earth — including Caribbean field workers, pygmies and black American prisoners. But how much do we know about the respected oral historian, producer, and interviewer? 

John Szwed is the author of a new biography centering on the world’s most famous ethnomusicologist called “Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World.” He joins us in studio.


John Szwed

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [1] from BOONTON, NJ

We today have YOU TUBE to record for posterity all manner of performance, but were it not for Alan Lomax we would not have the music of now no longer existing peoples and cultures. The folk music and melodic treasures by unknown composers have provided ingredients for major compositions by major composers. ALL major composers have something special to communicate in either epic or soulful or emotionally charged fashion that inspires and uplifts. TEN COMPOSERS is too, too few a number to recognize all the extraordinary music. ALL music formats deserve exploration, especially if they are contemporary. As my acting teacher Lee Strasberg put it, "to maximize your potential you must 'stretch,' going beyond the comfortable norm of your previous ventures." As a composer, I cherish the creations of hundreds of composers who have have created their own pathways, their own individualistic styles, that give pleasure, REAL PLEASURE, DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHERS. On Saturday March 19th, I will perform a three hour solo concert, "Love as expressed in all the vocal music formats" at the New Life Expo at the New Yorker Hotel at 34th Street and 8th Avenue, from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Wall Street venue. Formats included in the concert are opera, operetta, Broadway musicals, "pop," folk and western songs, jazz, Tin Pan Alley, sacred literature, blues, and lieder.

Jan. 30 2011 02:20 AM

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