Folklife Today tells stories about the cultural traditions and folklore of diverse communities, combining brand-new interviews and narration with songs, stories, music, and oral history from the collections of the Library of Congress's American Folklife Center.
Caught My Eye, Caught My Ear, Staff Edition, Including Tributes to Tony Barrand and Mick Moloney
In this episode, hosts John Fenn and Stephen Winick talk with Jennifer Cutting about items that caught their eyes and ears. Cutting discusses commercial recordings of tunes collected by Cecil Sharp, and Winick tells stories of the recording sessions, which Sharp personally supervised and described in his diaries. Cutting discusses her friend, the late Tony Barrand, an important collector of morris dances. John Fenn discusses the Nagra IV portable tape deck, and Winick discusses a picture of the late Mick Moloney using the Nagra in 1977. Winick discusses Moloney, and they play music recorded by Moloney on the Nagra, including jigs played on fiddle and accordion by Liz Carroll and Tommy Maguire, and reels played on the flute by Michael Flatley. More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.
Caught My Eye: Intern Edition!
In this episode, hosts John Fenn and Stephen Winick interview American Folklife Center interns Bryan Jenkins and Elisa Alfonso. Jenkins discusses AFC’s Web Cultures Web Archive, and interviews AFC reference librarian Allina Migoni about it. Alfonso discusses several versions of the Latin American children’s song “Señora Santana,” and speaks of its association with the 1960s Cuban children’s exodus that later became known as Operación Pedro Pan. The episode presents several versions of the song from Cuban, Mexican, and Spanish Americans in Florida, Texas, and California. More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.
Ukrainian Traditions at the American Folklife Center
In this episode, hosts John Fenn and Michelle Stefano, with guest Thea Austen, explore Ukrainian materials in the American Folklife Center Archive. Interview segments include a discussion of Ukrainian embroidery and dance, between Geraldine Johnson and Taissa Decyk; and a discussion of a Ukrainian family bandura band who immigrated to the United States as refugees in the late 1940s, between Stephen Winick and Julian Kytasty. Musical selections include a song with bandura accompaniment by Kytasty and a set of instrumental tunes by Gerdan ensemble. More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.
A Tribute to Irish American Women
In this episode, hosts Stephen Winick and John Fenn, with guests Betsy Peterson, Jennifer Cutting, and Melanie Zeck, explore songs and music from Irish American women in the American Folklife Center archive. Performances include Maggie Hammons Parker singing “Ireland’s Green Shore,” Hattie Scott Gould playing “The Irish Washerwoman” on the fiddle, May Mulcahy playing “Nori from Gibberland” and “Put Your Little Foot Right There” on the concertina, Carrie Grover singing “Arthur McBride,” Eileen Gannon playing “O’Carolan’s Receipt” and “Niall Gannon’s Favorite” on the Celtic harp, and Liz Carroll and Tommy Maguire playing a set of reels on the fiddle and the accordion. More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.
Songs of Spring
In this episode, hosts Stephen Winick and John Fenn, with guest Theadocia Austen, talk about songs of springtime, from agricultural and pastoral songs about farms and flowers to love ballads…and one dance tune. They also play the songs, including Pearl Nye’s version of “Early in the Spring,” the Copper Family’s rendition of “When Spring Comes On,” Baptiste Pierre’s version of the Haitian song “Fleurs, Certaines Jolies Fleurs” Rubén Cobos’s version of the alabanza hymn “El Alba,” Warde Ford’s version of “Nightingales of Spring,” and the Chicago Zither Club’s “Spring Polka.” More information on the songs can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.
La Llorona: Looking at a Ghost Story for Día de Muertos and Halloween
This episode examines the story of La Llorona, the Weeping Woman of Mexican and Latin American ghostlore. Hosts Stephen Winick and John Fenn discuss Winick’s research into the legend for the Folklife Today blog, and interview three guests. Camille Acosta, who wrote a thesis about the Llorona legend, talks about her research and the meanings the story has for kids and adults. Allina Migoni, the Latinx subject specialist for the American Folklife Center, talks about the importance of the La Llorona story for Mexican and Mexican American identity, as well as the connections between La Llorona and La Malinche, the enslaved Indigenous woman whose work as a translator helped Hernán Cortés conquer Mexico. Juan Dies speaks about La Llorona songs, as well as the figure of La Llorona in Mexican pop culture. More information on the songs as well as photos of some the singers and links to all the archival sources, can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.