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Alan Lomax


Association for Cultural Equity
The website for the Alan Lomax Collection continues promoting Lomax's work and carries on his cultural preservation work. Read an extensive bio of Alan Lomax and learn about recordings in the Lomax Collection.

The Alan Lomax Database
Audio recordings, videos and photographs taken by Alan Lomax are available through this multimedia archive. The Collections Guide section of the website offers an amazing look at the breadth of Lomax's collection. Note that only samples of audio recordings are available, and that users need to register for a free account to access the archival materials.

Library of Congress: The American Folklife Center: Alan Lomax
Samples of Alan Lomax's manuscripts, field notes, and other ethnographic documentation can be found at the American Folklife Center's site for Lomax.

Rounder Records: Alan Lomax Collection
Alan Lomax's field recordings have been brought together and released on a series of CDs from Rounder Records. Browse track listings and listen to samples of songs on Rounder's website for the collection.

Folkstreams: The Land Where the Blues Began
This website provides streams of documentary films about American folk music for free. The Land Where the Blues Began, a 1974 film by Alan Lomax, filmmaker John W. Work III and black folklorist Worth Long, showcases performances by numerous folk musicians in the Mississippi Delta. The entire film can be viewed here.


Field Recording


Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
The non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institute has released remarkable collections of folk music from around the world. Browse through the recordings and listen to audio samples (only available on select recordings).

The American Folklife Center
The website for this Library of Congress research center offers access to Online Collections of folk culture, including various folk music collections. Other Folklife Center projects include Save Our Sounds: America's Recorded Sound Heritage Project.

The Library of Congress: American Memory
This project is a digital record of American history, experience and memories. Browse through the vast collection by place, time period or topic. The Performing Arts, Music section is comprised of 31 collections, including African American Music from Southern U.S. 1938-1943 and Folk Music from the Dust Bowl, both of which include MP3s of songs.

Tinfoil — Early Recorded Sounds and Wax Cylinders
This hobbyist website on early methods of recording sound provides details and photographs of wax cylinders, which recorded sound as early as 1877.


Also on PBS & NPR


PBS.org Websites

American Root Music
The website for the four-part PBS series exploring the roots of American music in the 20th century includes interviews with musicians, background on instruments and innovations and brief biographies of more than 100 roots music artists.

American Masters: Muddy Waters
Explore blues musician Muddy Waters' life and career on the website of the long-running PBS series American Masters.

American Masters — Woody Guthrie
Watch a preview of the episode and peruse an interactive timeline of Woody Guthrie's life on this website.

Frontline World: Belize — The Exile's Song
Over the course of 400 years, the Garifuna people of Central America's Caribbean coast have evolved a musical tradition that blends the African rhythms of their ancestors with indigenous instrumentation. Frontline/World goes to Belize, where Garifuna music is being kept alive by a new generation. (January 2004)

NPR Stories

All Things Considered: Alan Lomax
Alan Lomax, a folklorist and author whose collection of the songs of the American South inspired many folk musicians, has died. It was the work of Alan Lomax — along with his father John — that provided the basis for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress. Lynn Neary talks with folk singer Pete Seeger about Lomax and his legacy. (July 19, 2002)

Talk of the Nation: Alan Lomax Remembered
Neal Conan and guests remembers the folklorist who traveled the country recording traditional music and inspired artists like Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. (July 24, 2002)

All Things Considered: Memories of Alan Lomax
Folklorist Alan Lomax traveled the world, tape machine in hand, documenting everyday activities of ordinary people. Now, following his death, many are remembering their own lives through the recordings that Lomax made. Lomax's tapes take Mary Latucca back to a Scottish schoolyard in 1951. She tells Robert Siegel about it. (August 1, 2002)

Morning Edition: America's Folk Music Anthology: 50 Years Later, Harry Smith's Music Collection Still Rings True
Fifty years ago, Folkways Records released a six-album set of recordings that had a profound influence on the folk music revival just beginning in America. The Anthology of American Folk Music was drawn from the collection of Harry Smith, a 29-year-old music lover, poet and filmmaker living in New York City. Bob Edwards reports. (July 17, 2002)

All Things Considered: O Brother
Alan Lomax, who passed away on July 19, made a recording in 1952 of prisoners singing as they labored in the fields or on the railroad. Patty Butler Spiers spoke to one of the singers, James Carter, about the tune, "Po' Lazarus," which was included on the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou? (July 18, 2002)





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Lomax is my hero, a Robin Hood-like figure who stood up for the music of poor people and passed it on to the world through radio programs and LPs.”

— Rogier Kappers, Filmmaker