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The Lomax Legacy:
Folklore in a Globalizing Century

A Symposium Presented by The American Folklife Center
and The Association for Cultural Equity, New York

January 18-20, 2006
Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Just Added
Concert/Lecture: "Mister Jelly Roll, Mister Lomax and the Invention of Jazz"

Join a celebration of the life and music of Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton and the release of the comprehensive CD box set, Jelly Roll Morton - The Complete Library of Congress Recordings, recorded by Alan Lomax (Rounder Records, 2005). The set chonicles a milestone recording session at the Library of Congress which both captured the repertoire of a pioneer jazz musician and constituted the first oral history of jazz. Writer and jazz scholar John Szwed and pianist Dave Burrell explore this unique legacy right where it was created - on the stage of the Coolidge Auditorium. The box set has been nominated for two Grammy Awards for 2005--one of them for Szwed's liner notes. Visit our concert page for more information:

About the Symposium

The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress will host a symposium, The Lomax Legacy: Folklore In A Globalizing Century, from January 18-20, 2006. A diverse group of scholars, cultural workers, and media producers will gather to reflect on the life work of preeminent song collector, musical anthropologist, and cultural activist, Alan Lomax (1915-2002). The symposium will consist of two days of panel presentations, film screenings, an afternoon concert/lecture, and an evening concert. Participants will discuss their own research, publications, productions, and advocacy work in light of Lomax's pioneering initiatives in these same areas.

The gathering highlights the AFC's 2004 acquisition of the Alan Lomax Collection, his legacy of recordings, research, and writing - a multimedia archive of musical performances from around the world. Sometimes referred to as "The Father of the American Folksong Revival," Lomax's career began at the Library's Archive of American Folk Song (the American Folklife Center's precursor) in 1933. Visit for additional details on the collection.

The preliminary program is also available for review here: Lomax Symposium Program. The symposium is an initiative of the American Folklife Center and the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), New York. ACE was founded by Alan Lomax and is currently directed by his daughter, Anna Lomax Wood.

About Alan Lomax

Alan Lomax recording in La Plaine, Dominica, July 26, 1962. Photo courtesy of Association for Cultural Equity.
Alan Lomax recording in La Plaine, Dominica, July 26, 1962
Photo courtesy of ACE.

Between 1933 and 1942, Alan Lomax and his father, the folklorist John A. Lomax, developed the Library of Congress' Archive of American Folksong into a major repository of traditional music. Many of the early recordings in the Center are the products of their celebrated field trips to document folk music and oral history across much of the United States and the Caribbean. Legendary performers such as Lead Belly, Aunt Molly Jackson, Muddy Waters, and Woody Guthrie made their first recordings with Lomax.

Over the course of the next six decades, Alan Lomax expanded the scope of his work to include ethnomusicological and anthropological research and teaching, book publishing for scholarly and popular audiences, and commercial record, radio and film production. Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Burl Ives, and Pete Seeger were first heard by national audiences on Lomax's radio programs in the '30s and '40s. His classic "singing" biography of New Orleans jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton, recorded in 1938 at the Library of Congress, formed the basis for his book Mister Jelly Roll (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1949). American Patchwork, his prize-winning five-hour television series on American regional cultures, aired on PBS in 1990. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, he began work on a multimedia, interactive database called "The Global Jukebox," which surveys the relationship between dance, song, and human history. Alan Lomax was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1986, a Library of Congress Living Legend award in 2000, an honorary doctorate of philosophy from Tulane in 2001, and a Grammy in 2002 for his life-long contributions to music.

To the end of his life, Alan Lomax continued to advocate and practice the principle of "cultural equity," in order to make a place in the media and in schools for the expressive arts and aesthetic values of local cultures worldwide. To learn how ACE, the Alan Lomax Database and the Alan Lomax Archive carry on his work today visit

Attending the symposium

Admission to the symposium and related events is free, but seating is limited. Reservations for attendance will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit: two seats per person.

Registration for the panel discussions is now closed.

Our guests may find the following link to information about accommodations, area restaurants, and other amenities helpful in planning their visit to the Library:

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   June 23, 2011
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