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Celebrating Alan Lomax's 100th Birthday

The Association for Cultural Equity and its Alan Lomax Archive are excited to announce that January 31, 2015, will mark Alan Lomax's centennial. Born in Austin, Texas, in 1915, Lomax would become the foremost folklorist of the 20th century, documenting, preserving, and promoting traditional music around the world over the course of seven decades.

Many publications, events, and initiatives are underway or forthcoming in 2015 to mark the Centennial and more are being planned. The following are scheduled for Alan's birthday itself.

Upcoming Events

Lomax Centennial events at Seedtime On the Cumberland

Over the course of fifty years, from 1933 to 1983, Alan Lomax collected some 60 hours of recordings in or relating to the Commonwealth of Kentucky—ballads, lyrics, banjo breakdowns, fiddle tunes, religious material, children’s games, topical songs, and oral history. In 2015, Lomax’s centennial year, the Alan Lomax Archive of the Association for Cultural Equity and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress are collaborating with a variety of Kentucky institutions to return the Lomax collections to the people of the Commonwealth.

The Appalshop of Whitesburg, Kentucky, is a core partner in this repatriation initiative and is excited to host the Lomax material in its Archive, where it will be contextualized in an extensive multimedia collection documenting a variety of Appalachian artists and tradition bearers. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Appalshop, in collaboration with ACE and the American Folklife Center, will also be conducting a series of public programming and activities across the region that celebrate both the material that Alan Lomax collected and the communities and traditions he documented. These events will include performances of Lomax material by contemporary artists, collecting of stories from descendants and neighbors of people Lomax recorded, and public forums with noted scholars and folklorists.

That collaboration kicks off on June 5th and 6th with Appalshop’s 29th Annual Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival, which will feature a round-robin performance by young Kentucky musicians interpreting songs from across the five decades of Lomax’s Kentucky recordings, as well as archival media screenings from the Alan Lomax Collection at the American Folklife Center and the Appalshop Archive. The round-robin will feature Sam Gleaves, Kevin Howard, Karly Dawn Milner, Brett Ratliff, Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham), and ACE curator Nathan Salsburg, who will also serve as MC.

A tour of programming will continue across Appalachia, as ACE and Appalshop will be partnering with a number of regional institutions including Mars Hill University and Ferrum College to feature performances, screenings, contemporary collecting and educational outreach within the communities where Lomax made his recordings. Stay tuned to appalshop.org and culturalequity.org in the coming months for more details about those events.

Alan Lomax in Italy, 1954-1955

Botkin Lecture presented by Goffredo Plastino, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK.

May 5, 2015, 12:00 -1:00 pm
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, Whittall Pavilion
Washington, DC
For more information, go here.

Lomax Centennial celebration in Rouen, France

Ten days of concerts, talks, and presentations organized by Le 106 in Rouen, Normandy, in honor of the Lomax Centennial. Among the events are a talk by folklorist, professor, cultural activist, and ACE board member Bill Ferris; a screening of Rogier Kappers “Lomax the Songhunter” (2001); and a photo exhibition by journalist Arnaud Contreras of current music-making in the Western Sahara.

SXSW Panel – Alan Lomax at 100: A Centennial Retrospective

ACE’s Don Fleming and Nathan Salsburg will appear on a panel at the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX.  This panel will survey his work documenting, preserving, and promoting traditional music and culture from 1933 to 1991, both in America and around the world; explore the technological, media, cultural, and social influences of that work; and discuss contemporary – and future – outlets and applications, and the ongoing importance, of Alan Lomax’s collections.

March 21, 2015, 12:30-1:30 pm
SXSW Festival. Room 15, Austin Convention Center
More information here.

“Listen to Our Story”: Alan Lomax, Folk Producer / Folk Promoter

Botkin Lecture presented by Nathan Salsburg, Association for Cultural Equity

Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, Whittall Pavilion
Washington, DC
June 10, 2015, 12:00 -1:00 pm
More information here.


Inspired by the field work of Lomax, David Marker, a young field recorder, Italian American and NYU student, has made a significant effort to document what remains of this music today. In comparing the recordings of Lomax to contemporary recordings, a picture of changing cultural identity and values becomes apparent. This presentation will showcase a handful of select recordings from Lomax’s 1954 trip as well as a number of recordings from Marker’s contemporary work. Additionally, Marker and another Italian American musician, Dominic Porco, will perform live music rarely heard in the US. Alan Lomax’s daughter, Anna Lomax Wood, director of the Association for Cultural Equity, and who was in Italy in 1954 with her father, will be part of the discussion.

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, NYU, New York, NY
February 11, 2015, 6 pm
More information

Omaggio ad Alan Lomax (Homage to Alan Lomax)

A centennial celebration consisting of a photo exhibit, dinner, and performances by the Civita Folk Orchestra, Mimì Sterrantino e gli Accusati, and M. Cuzzocrea & F. Barbanera at La Lomax, the club in Catania named for Alan.

Saturday, January 31.
La Lomax, Piazza Pietro Lupo, Catania, Italy.
More information here.

Alan Lomax Centennial Celebration: KBOO radio special

13 hours of special programming to ring in Lomax’s centennial, selected and broadcast/webcast by Portland, Oregon’s KBOO.
From Friday 1/30 at 8pm (Pacific) to Saturday 1/31 at 9am.
More information here.

Alan Lomax: Folklorist Filmmaker

A six-hour marathon of Alan Lomax’s films and raw footage, from his earliest Library of Congress trips to Haiti, Kentucky, and Michigan to his last moving image collection, shot on the Grenadan island of Carriacou, in 1991.

Saturday, January 31, 2015
Dreamland, Louisville, Kentucky
More information here.

Am I Born to Die?

An afternoon of folk and experimental music, film, and spoken word to mark the centenary of the birth of Alan Lomax.

Saturday, January 31, 2015
Caroline Gardens Chapel, London Asylum, London, England
More information here.

Image Gallery

Coming soon
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