Lomax’ Global Jukebox

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by Larry Richter, from http://www.nytimes.com

The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause. Long before the Internet existed, he envisioned a “global jukebox” to disseminate and analyze the material he had gathered during decades of fieldwork.

A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads.

Read entire article here.

Announcement from www.culturalequity.org:

INTRODUCING GLOBAL JUKEBOX, AN INDEPENDENT MUSIC LABEL FROM THE ALAN LOMAX ARCHIVE

Thousands of hours of international field recordings housed in the Alan Lomax Archive will now reach audiences through Global Jukebox, the Archive’s first independent music imprint. Global Jukebox will produce LPs, CDs and digital albums in partnership with other folkloric institutions, record labels, university presses, along with the global reach of the digital distributor IODA. These releases will engage and inspire audiences around the world with the ever-vital work that Alan Lomax documented, and help fulfill Lomax’s mission of “cultural equity,” the right of every culture to express and develop its distinctive heritage of songs, dances and stories.

Global Jukebox’s first releases commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lomax’s “Southern Journey” in the American South, the first stereo field recordings made of traditional music. The inaugural releases are: “Wave the Ocean, Wave the Sea”; “Worried Now, Won’t Be Worried Long”; “I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore”; “I’ll Be So Glad When the Sun Goes Down”; and “I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die.” Compiled and annotated by Nathan Salsburg, the albums draw on new transfers of the original tapes, and include considerable previously unreleased material and extensive booklets of photos and notes.

Forthcoming releases include: Lomax’s debut recordings of bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell; a companion album to the new John Szwed biography Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World; a hardback book and two-CD set dedicated to Lomax’s trip through Asturias, Spain – “the land at the end of everything”; and the launch of a series of artist-curated compilations, for which guest musicians “Play the Global Jukebox,” including an exclusive recording of their own.

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