Lomax’s Recordings Return to Haiti

by

This video is an except of a longer film showing Anna Lomax Wood returning in 2010 to one of the sites of Alan Lomax’s 1936-37 Haitian recordings, and playing the recordings for the villagers for the first time.

from http://thehaitibox.blogspot.com:

On December 21st, 1936, Alan Lomax sent a report to Herbert Putnam, the Librarian Of Congress, about his first impressions after arriving in Haiti.  This quote is published here…

“I have looked about enough to be sure this is the richest and most virgin field I have ever worked in. I hear fifteen or twenty different street cries from my hotel window each morning while I dress. The men sing satirical ballads as they load coffee on the docks. Among the upper-class families many of the old French ballads have been preserved. The meringue, the popular dance of polite society here, is quite unknown in America and has its roots in the intermingling of the Spanish and French folk-traditions.

The orchestras of the peasants play marches, bals, blues, meringues. Then mama and papa and kata tambours officiate at as many kinds of dances ⎯ the congo, the Vodou, and the mascaron. Then there seem to be innumerable cante-fables [oral tales punctuated by songs or rhymes performed by the audience]. Each of these categories comprise, so I am informed, literally hundreds of melodies ⎯ French, Spanish, African, mixtures of the three.

The radio and the sound movie and the phonograph record have made practically no cultural impression, so far as I can discover, except among the petit-bourgeois of the coastal cities. And American jazz is hardly known here except among the rich who have visited America. Composition, by which I mean folk composition, is still very active. So I think I can say that unless a piece of sky falls on my head, this trip will mean some beautiful records for the Library’s collection.”

10 CD box set of Alan Lomax’s 1936-37 Haitian recordings available here.

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 6.39.18 PM

images

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s