Articles on Folk music

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Through his music, Lead Belly rejected the stereotype that country music was the domain of white artists, while blues music was reserved for blacks. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Lead Belly’s music defied racial categorization

Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection depicts the fully-formed artist – a blues musician, yes, but also a performer of string-band, country and pop songs.
The real value of Lomax’s work is only now becoming clear. Wikimedia Commons

Sounding the Global Jukebox: we owe Alan Lomax a debt of thanks

If Alan Lomax were still alive, he would turn 100 Saturday. His name might not be as familiar as some other giants of folk music in the 20th century (such as Pete Seeger). But if you listen to folk or…
Remarkably, Rodriguez has not released any new material since his first two albums in the early 70s. Wikimedia Commons

Rodriguez in Australia: peaking at the ripe old age of 72

Searching for Sugar Man (2012) brought worldwide attention to the music of Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez. The academy award-winning documentary focused on the efforts of South African fans…
Does Psy represent the future of music? AAP/ Yonhap News Agency

The Brisbane Declaration: a blueprint for the musical world

Earlier this year the number of views of South Korean mega-star Psy’s Gangnam Style YouTube video exceeded two billion. That’s more than a quarter of the people on the planet who have watched the video…
Yearning for the past. Beamish, The Living Museum of the North Photo: Tate Photography

The Tate taps into nostalgia, but don’t forget the future of folk

Folk is fashionable. Its latest manifestation at Tate Britain is only the most recent of stirrings – it been on the up for a number of years. Perhaps most obviously is the resurgence of folk music, which…
US folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, who died this week in New York. Skip Bolen/EPA

Pete Seeger: a life of song, and the power of ‘we’

We Shall Overcome became the theme song of the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. It is most identified with Pete Seeger, the great American musician who died January 27. Yet as Arlo Guthrie…

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