Discussions, Interviews & Lectures Detail
:: Description :: Alan Lomax Interviewed in New York by a reporter from RAI (Italian Radio) about the history and distinctive characteristics of American folk song
:: Project :: Concert of and RAI radio interview on American folk song
:: Date Range :: 01-01-1969 to 12-31-1969
:: Particpants ::
Lomax, Alan
Unidentified Italian reporter
:: Subjects ::
"Shenandoah" (song)
Sioux Indians "Out On the Plain" (song)
"Rye Whiskey" (song)
"I'm A Rambler, I'm A Gambler" (song)
"Ain't No More Cane on This Brazos" (song)
Bull-whacker's song -"To Me Rall, To Me Rall, To Me Rideeo"
"I Looked Out Over That Whole Corral And I Couldn't Find a Mule With His Shoulder Well" (mule-driving song)
"One Dime Was All That I Had" (song)
Blues and ragtime in American folk tradition
"Chisholm Trail" (song)
American folk songs - narrative ballads in
American folk songs - the frontier spirit in
American individualism
:: Cultures ::
African American
US Cowboy
US Lumberjack
US Narrative Ballads
French Canadian
:: Holdings ::
Media not yet available
:: Notes :: On the first part of this tape Alan Lomax sings representative American songs (mostly Southern and Western) with brief spoken explanations that constitute a short history of the peopling of the West by the pioneers, their relations with indigenous peoples, and the contribution of African Americans to American music in the form of ragtime, cowboy songs, blues and hollers. The second part is an interview with a correspondent from Italian radio, who asks if the settlers kept their own ethnic traditions and if there is such a thing as a distinctively American spirit; and, if so, is it optimistic or pessimistic? Alan Lomax replies that from Edinburgh to San Francisco, the narrative ballad is the dominant folk song form in the English speaking world. The several streams of immigration (northern and southern) met in the Ozarks, where in Sedalia, Missouri, ragtime was born. As to whether the American spirit is optimistic or pessimistic, on the contrary, the characteristic spirit of America is one of loneliness and displacement, with the motif, "I have no mother, I have no father, I'm far from home," cropping up again and again. Pretended nonchalance is a typical response to this feeling of displacement, illustrated by the joking around "like boys in the bunkhouse" of the (predominantly Texan-born) astronauts on the moon at the very time this interview was being recorded. Italian reporter: Is the frontier dead? Are the cities a psychological frontier? Lomax: Maybe. But there is still a lot of open country here in America, with small frontiers in the last pockets of America. TV news people never go out there, but more people should do so. It's still unknown country.



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