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ACE and New Partnerships
 Director's News #3

The Association for Cultural Equity is forging new partnerships with cultural organizations and institutions in the USA and around the world. While new theater works and digitally sampled recordings are reintroducing the Lomax “legacy” to general audiences, the Alan Lomax collections continue to inspire public curiosity and scholarly interest. As such, Lomax field recordings, artifacts, documents, and images are further advancing new research and scholarship and, with material in the archives at the American Folklife Center (Library of Congress) yet to be discovered and in need of  preservation, new thinking about folklore, ethnomusicology, anthropology and the hard sciences is always emerging to offer greater knowledge and appreciation of cultural diversity and its complex intersections. For example, while working to further enhance the Global Jukebox and its usability, content and functionality, we are also developing special projects and programs with partners that further fulfill our mission to “reconnect people and communities with their creative heritage.” Our goal is simply to share and make accessible more and more of the Lomax collections--a goal that we cannot achieve without your support. So we ask for you, please be generous and donate to ACE today!

At ACE, research, study, and cultural equity are not just catchy terms; they represent our commitment to education, accessibility, and the idea that all people and cultures have voices and knowledge from which we all can learn.

Here’s some latest news about recent ACE initiatives, special projects and activities:

During the 2018/19 Carnegie Hall season, ACE will be participating with the Migration Festival, a special series focusing on the movements of three ethnic groups and their music traditions in the United States of America: Scots-Irish migration; Russian and Easter European Jewish migration; and the African American migration known as The Great Migration. Working with the Weil Music Institute, the the Global Jukebox will be a centerpiece with which we will collaboratively develop educational and cultural programs.

ACE recently agreed to partner with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation to develop a series of teaching lesson plans drawn from the Alan Lomax film collection. The lessons will be shared through each organization’s website and education workshops. The series will include Work Songs in Mississippi; Delta Blues; Appalachian Bluegrass, Ballad Singing, and Mining Songs; Jazz Funerals, Brass Bands, and Hot Jazz in New Orleans; Religious Music in the South Carolina Sea Islands; Sacred Harp Singing in Georgia; and, Louisiana Cajun Culture.

Little Steven Van Zandt and ACE promises to be an unbeatable combination!

ACE in Italy

ACE President Anna Lomax Wood, along with a delegation of staffers, recently traveled to Rome, Italy to present the keynote at the April 2018 meeting of the International Council for Traditional Music- Italy Committee.

ACE’s Kiki Smith-Archiapatti, Odysseus and Kat Chairetakis presented around the theme “The Cultural and Political Heritage of Alan Lomax, the Association for Cultural Equity and our Connection to Italy and Italians in the States” over the two-day conference in Rome and Anagni.

In addition, an exciting new proposal for establishing a new Alan Lomax Research Center/Centro Estudi di Alan Lomax in Rome was introduced, a promising development for further collaboration and repatriation of the Italian Collections. Discussions with ethnomusicologists Giorgio Adamo (Universita di Roma, “Tor Vergata”) and Sergio Bonanzinga (Universita degli Studi di Palermo) are underway. Special thanks to all our Italian colleagues, including Mauro Balma, Serena Facci, and Giuseppina Colicci, for helping us to maintain our Italian connection.

(L. to R.) Kiki Smith-Archiapatti, Anna Lomax Wood, Francesco Giannattasio (Universita di Roma, “La Sapienza”), Jorge Arevalo Mateus

Locorotondo, Italy, Repatriation

Anna Lomax Wood traveled to Locorotondo, a small town in the region of Puglia, for a Lomax exhibition and repatriation event.

Here’s a report from ACE friend Massimiliano Morabito, musician and ethnomusicologist of Locorotondo, who also gathered all the information about the protagonists of the recording and photo sessions, and organized the photo exhibit and repatriation event:

Alan Lomax and Diego Carpitella arrive in Locorotondo, Puglia on August 18, 1954. The mayor accompanies them to the neighborhood of San Marco where there are many singers. Throughout the day the two researchers work in this and several nearby neighborhoods using a Magnecord Pt6.  They record 16 songs divided into 18 tracks on tapes labeled T370, T 371, and T 372. These include lullabies, songs of agricultural labor, devotional/processional songs, back and forth joking songs, quadrilles, and a kind of fast tarantella called a pizziche pizziche (bite bite), based on an old belief that when you have been bitten by a tarantula, you must dance until you rid yourself of the venom.  

Listen to T370R04.mp3 Tomma tommë. This is a work song illustrating the succession of tasks during the reaping. According to G. Rohlfs, the term tomma tomme derives from “tomolo”, a unit of measurement of the land surface in use in southern Italy until just recently. Then listen to T372R02.mp3; this song is sung during the harvesting of tobacco, olives, and grapes.

 On April 28, 2018, in the Parish Hall of the neighborhood where Lomax and Carpitella had recorded, there was an exhibit of the Lomax’s Locorotondo photos. The previous Sunday, the parish priest announced the event at mass. “Do not go to Mass next Sunday,” he said. “Go to this. It is very important. Culture is spiritual food.” The hall was packed to overflowing, with four hundred local attendees.
Photo by Michele Giacovelli
Alan Lomax’s family were present and, for once, opening speeches were brief. The exhibit was transformed into a repository of individual and collective memory. Members of the community who had been involved remembered and shared those moments, reconstructing and renewing that part of their past in an exchange of stories, songs, and dances with the young people. It was an evening of strong emotions in which the songs recorded in ’54 were heard and sung again.    
ACE in Brooklyn

Always striving to maintain connection with local folk music, folklore, and performance, ACE research staffers Kathleen Rivera and Violet Baron presented an introduction to the Global Jukebox at the 10th Brooklyn Folk Festival. An audience of folk music and dance practitioners and aficionados were treated to an in-depth look at the inner workings of the Global Jukebox.

ACE in Mississippi
As we prepare for the  Fifth International Blues Conference, with our partner the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, we are also starting to plan for a related repatriation event during the Bentonia Blues Festival.

New ACE Podcast

ACE curator Nathan Salsburg’s Been All Around the World podcast has been very well received, with already more than 2,000 downloads. We invite you to explore, subscribe, and share all the episodes, including Wave the Ocean, Wave the Sea (#3) and Let Us Not Praise Famous Men (#4).

Finally, on a personal note, I am happy to report that I have been invited to sit on the New York State Historical Records Advisory Board, where I will represent ACE, conferring with archivists and colleagues, and consulting on several state programs and initiatives. I will also serve as a NYSA grants panelist.

Photo by Clare Flemming, NYSA.

It is my intention to advocate for cultural equity and increased preservation and access for all historical collections across the state, and the world, as we do with ACE.

Thank you again for your donation to ACE!    

Jorge Arevalo Mateus
Executive Director
Alan Lomax Archive
Association for Cultural Equity
 at Hunter College
Copyright © 2018 Association for Cultural Equity, All rights reserved.

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