On Sunday, the NYT ran a great piece on Alan Lomax, perhaps America’s most popularly known ethnomusicologist and collector of traditional music in the US. The article provides a brief overview of his life and contributions now that the Global Jukebox label will offer free online streaming of 17,000 tracks of his collection to commemorate his 97th birthday.
If you prefer to listen to music in your stereo, check out the CDs that PCPL has from his collection in our catalog. We also carry Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World, a great biography published in 2010 by John Szwed.
I will post on specific CD titles from Lomax in the future. Here I just want to mention that in their inception folklore, and afterwards ethnomusicology did not have an impulse to collect. Their main focus was to document traditional cultural expressions. Lomax had the vision not only to use recording technology to preserve (like his father before him) but to disseminate them, a move that would have tremendous influence in popular music.