Mittwoch, 16. März 2011

Black History #2: Field Recordings

Field recording is not just the term for an artistry practice of musicians inspired by musique concrete like the spanish experimentalist Francisco Lopez or the founding member of Cabaret Voltaire and Hafler Trio Chris Watson.

I just came across the famous, grammy awarded person of Alan Lomax (1915 - 2002) a musicologist and political activist who from as early as 1933 conducted field recordings first in the American South and later all over the world. His recordings comprise an immense number of early African American work songs, gospels and blues songs. Thanks to the technical development of portable recording devices he was able to record this music in its "authentic" environment.

Due to the fact that I'm still stunned by the immensity of his recordings I just chose a video from the Youtube Channel of the Alan Lomax Archive. It's a audiovisual recording of a holler / work song. Hollers were work songs sung by the slaves and after the abolition in 1865 by free land workers on the farms and fields of the American South alone or collectively, they are considered to be precursors of blues songs. The clip was recorded in 1978 on an Farm in Canton, Mississippi and perfomed by an otherwise unknown musican named Clyde Maxwell.

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