Fans of American folk are advised to get clicking in the direction of the fabulous ”Folk Music in America” collection, a series of 15 LP records published by the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978.
Released to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolution, the collection boasts 252 songs (12 hours of music) and was compiled by librarian/collector Richard K. Spottswood.
Funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts, the music mainly comes from the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song (now Archive of Folk Culture), and covers the period from 1890-1976).
Included in this fascinating selection are native American songs and instrumental music, blues, jazz and country music and songs brought into the States by immigrants from all over the world.
“Folk Music in America” is a series of 15 LP records published by the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978 to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolution. It was curated by librarian/collector-cum-discographer Richard K. Spottswood, and funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The music, pulled primarily from the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song (now Archive of Folk Culture), spans nearly a century (1890-1976) and virtually every form that can be considered American music. This includes native American songs and instrumental music, music of immigrant cultures from all over the world, and uniquely American forms like blues, jazz and country.
At 15 LP records (252 songs, 12 hours), the series stretches what can be considered a single publication, but represents a somewhat comprehensive survey of American folk music of the 20th century. The booklets (included here in PDF form) transcribe lyrics, share images and tell short stories about sources and symbols helpful in understanding the material. Each disc is organized along a theme, which follow. Click the links below to download the “discs” individually, or the image above to download the whole anthology. If you absolutely have to choose, I’m partial to volumes 1, 6 and 14.
All tracks are in “mono”. Some of the tracks were recorded in stereo, but for the sake of keeping a sane workflow, minimizing hosting and serving cost, and cleaning up after well-used records, I decided to sum them all to mono.
Some tracks skip or have otherwise unavoidable blemishes, it’s just part of transferring old records. Try to enjoy it despite these. If you catch something particularly grievous, email me and I’ll try to make it better. Alternately, if you’re an engineer and would like to try your hand at a better production, email me and I can send you the Audacity project files.
All tracks are listed under the genre of “folk” in the ID3. This can obviously be broken down more meaningfully, but I don’t want to confuse anyone’s libraries or misidentify.
Finally, many of the foreign language recordings include diacritics that I couldn’t be bothered to include in the titles, but they’re correct in the booklets. It was a big project, ok?! I hope you enjoy the recordings despite some of these imperfections.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’ll probably be posting selections from Folk Music in America for the next few weeks. I want to make sure this gets the exposure it deserves, so thanks for your patience.
Throwing Snow is a UK based producer writing everything from dubstep to folk music. Obsessive about pretty much everything from network theory, furturism, and ancient history to 70’s Nikes, skateboarding, cooking and fly fishing. To make ends meet he is Head of Digital for the Lightsong Music Group and runs the record label A Future Without, on top of doing bespoke music for Film and Advertising and acting as a creative music consultant. His genuine real name is Ross Tones (and no one ever believes that he hasn’t changed it by deed poll!)
‘Try to learn something about everything and everything about something’ – T.H.Huxley
‘For me, music and life are all about style’ – Miles Davis
I’ve been in touch with these guys for at least 3 years since I first heard their unique brand of Elektro Balkan music that they were doing back then. I’ve tried on countless times to get something rolled out about them on this blog but man they’ve been busy and weren’t sure about the whole blog and free download culture.
Finally, they’re here, better late than never!
Milan from the band sent me the new album “SPEAKING BALKANIAN” and man it’s a beauty, def one of the best balkan fusion albums you’ll ever hear.
One of the standout tracks for me is one called “SARMAGEDDON” which is like a Balkan “KILL BILL!”
They call the music on their new album FOLKSTEP!
What is FOLKSTEP?
Our Folkstep is fully computerised music, with the prevailing electronic rhythm and bass line patterns. This basic rhythm structure is overlaid with either folk samples or folklore-inspired themes played using MIDI controllers and/or vinyl scratching. These rhythms, harmonies and melodies are a unique blend. Their origins lie in various Slavic, Gypsy, Vlach, Greek, Romanian and Albanian streaks, or in cultures having substantial influence in the region – Persian, in the Arab world, Turkophone and Francophone worlds, German and Italian-speaking cultures, and finally in Anglo-American global culture which, among other things, brings echoes of cultures distant to the Balkans.
The intention of the Folkstep is simple: it is not meant to be art; it is simple entertainment like the music of its countless predecessors – an important pastime, faithfully accompanying the inhabitants of the Balkan peninsula throughout its turbulent history, in good or bad times alike. This music only kept changing its outer shell, embracing the ongoing evolution of popular instruments, harmonic and rhythmical influences of any current era. Its essence, however, remained the same: less talking, more dancing, and tomorrow is a new day. Some other influence, some other form to embrace. So let’s dance!
I would love to hear a collaboration between these guys and SCHLACHTHOFBRONX, I think there could be a unique and awesome meeting of minds and genres between these two bands…who knows it might just happen…watch this space….
Here’s some more offiicial info about the band and then you can download something below:
Making electronic music since 1998; performing it live since 2000.
The richness and diversity of cultural heritage in the Balkans are indisputable. The peninsula has been crisscrossed with ancient and modern trade and military routes, allowing for the possibility of cultural exchange between East and West, North and South alike. The region is teeming with influences of various origin intertwined with strong autochthonous traditions going back to immemorial time.
The music of the Balkans is eclectic. Ancient and distinctive melodies were originally played with native instruments, such as primitive woodwinds, reed and clay instruments or percussion. In early medieval times, string instruments, such as lutes and stringed gusle came from Persia through Arab, Turkic and Byzantine worlds. Old musical scales remained almost intact, only the sound altered. With industrial age in the nineteenth century, European instruments – fiddle, clarinet and accordion – came to the Balkans from the northwest. The twentieth century continued this innovative trend with saxophone, which was followed by synthesizers and various kinds of electronic instruments in its second half. Finally, we have computer-programmed folk music, which often uses the very same ancient melodic scales once played in the murky depths of history.
Shazalakazoo tracks were released at various compilations: Watcha Clan – Diaspora Remixed (Piranha Records, Germany), [dunkelbunt] – Kebab Connection (CKP Records, Germany), Belgrade Coffeeshop (B92, Serbia), Mute Magazine (Fallout Records, UK), Bombardiranje New Yorka (Listen Loudest Records, Croatia) and Media Mediterranea (Metamedia, Croatia).