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Percy Grainger's Collection of Ethnographic Wax Cylinders 0 R. Rini Larson By Steve Roud —  "The British Library is pleased to make available online around 350 English folk songs recorded by composer Percy Grainger in different regions of England between 1906 and 1909. Thanks to the generous support of the National Folk Music Fund, these sound recordings have been catalogued and indexed by librarian, researcher and folklorist Steve Roud, author of Folk Song in England (Faber & Faber, 2017). Roud has also married them up with Grainger's transcriptions of the songs, where these exist, on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website, thanks to their digitisation of the Percy Grainger Manuscript Collection. Links have also been included on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website to corresponding sound recordings featured on Sounds. Listeners are thus able to hear the songs whilst following Grainger’s unique transcriptions of recordings by singers such as Joseph Taylor, Joseph Leaning, George Gouldthorpe, Charles Rosher, William Fishlock, Tom Roberts, Dean Robinson, and many more. All recordings have been catalogued to include Roud numbers (this number refers to songs listed in the online databases Folk Song Index and Broadside Index), Grainger’s Melody numbers, and the numerical references to the discs and wax cylinders these sound recordings existed on previously. ..." To continue reading, visit the full guest post on the British Library's Sound and Vision Blog. To play the Grainger recordings online, visit: Roud, Steve. "Percy Grainger's Collection of Ethnographic Wax Cylinders." British Library Sound and Vision Blog (February 20, 2018). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
About That Song You’ve Heard, Kumbaya 0 R. Rini Larson By John Eligon —  "We chant it with locked arms and closed eyes, at campfires, in protest lines and from the pews at church, but the truth is, many of us have no clue what the lyrics mean or exactly where they come from. Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya. Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya. Thanks to research and lobbying by residents of a coastal community descended from slaves, the origins and meaning of 'Kumbaya' have been recognized in Congress, raising hopes that a fading culture might get a boost. The song may be sung more often than usual this month, especially in the part of Georgia where its soulful lyrics are said to have originated almost a century ago. Speaking on the House floor two months back, Representative Buddy Carter of Georgia recognized the Gullah Geechee, whose ancestors were brought to America’s southeastern coast from West Africa, as the probable creators of the famous folk song. ..." To continue reading—and to see AFS member Stephen Winick's research profiled—visit the full article on the New York Times website.  Eligon, John. "About That Song You’ve Heard, Kumbaya." The New York Times (February 9, 2018). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Making Sense of the Paranormal 0 R. Rini Larson By Diane Peters —  "Blinking orange lights cut across the night sky over Shag Harbour on October 4, 1967. Witnesses in the small Nova Scotia fishing village then saw what seemed to be an object crashing into the water. Fishermen and, later, authorities went out into the Atlantic to seek survivors. They saw some yellow foam bubbling on the water’s surface but no wreckage. Newspapers reported on this strange sighting, the government investigated, and soon enough the incident was nearly forgotten. Then, around the time of the new millennium, a few books and documentaries started to come out about “Canada’s Roswell” (a reference to an incident in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 that conspiracy theorists believed was a UFO cover-up). Now, the legacy fuels a mini-economy: the town has the Shag Harbour Incident Interpretive Centre and holds an annual festival that draws UFO enthusiasts to revisit the strange story, and to talk of aliens and government complicity. ..." To continue reading, visit the full article on the University Affairs website. Peters, Diane. "Making Sense of the Paranormal." University Affairs (February 7, 2018). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Monday, February 12, 2018
Songs Across Cultures 0 R. Rini Larson By Alissa Jordan —  "Do songs share certain forms across the world? If you hear a song sung in an unfamiliar language, in a rhythm you’ve never heard before, can you still understand what it means? In a just-published cross-cultural study of song carried out by the Natural History of Song Project, Samuel Mehr, Manvir Singh, and colleagues (2018) found that people across sixty countries were able to reliably infer whether songs were used for dancing, for soothing babies, or for healing the ill after listening to only 14-second sound bytes. One especially intriguing finding is that participants are able to recognize specific song forms even when they lack social or cultural familiarity with the song form altogether—such as listeners from Western industrial countries who still accurately and reliably determined that certain song fragments were intended for healing (rather than for soothing babies, facilitating dance, mourning the dead, expressing love, or “telling a story”). ..." To continue reading, visit the full article on the Human Relations Area Files website. Jordan, Alissa. "Songs Across Culture." Human Relations Area Files (January 27, 2018). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Monday, February 12, 2018
Thinking Like a Folklorist: Not All or Nothing, but Something 0 R. Rini Larson By Maribel Alvarez —  “How do we know what we know? To make sense of the world, folklorists use methods borrowed in equal measures from the humanities and social sciences. Sometimes our work feels more interpretative than scientific. But this distinction can be misleading. Whether we’re listening for the ‘truth’ in a family anecdote, a rumor, or a song, or conducting a systematic study through observation, pattern-finding, and formal interviews, we folklorists try to interpret human behavior to gain understanding, respect, and collaboration. The calling card of a folklorist’s trade is the ethnographic interview (from Greek, ‘ethno’ for people and ‘grapho’ to report or document). Ethnography is the effort to learn about people by learning from people. …” To continue reading, visit the full article on the Southwest Folklife Alliance website. Alvarez, Maribel. "Thinking Like a Folklorist: Not All or Nothing, but Something." Southwest Folklife Alliance. <>
by R. Rini Larson
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Art of the March—Boston Women's March Poster Archive 0 R. Rini Larson "Art of the March is an online archive and interactive presentation of protest signs and posters collected in the aftermath of the historic Boston Women’s March on January 21, 2017. This website contains digital images of over 6000 signs placed by protesters on the iron fence of the Boston Commons old Central Burying Grounds and along its perimeter as the march ended. A trio of college professors asked city parks workers, who were prepared to clean the site and trash them, for permission to collect them and volunteers from the public joined in gathering them from the site and loading them into a rented van. This collection provides a snapshot nearly complete sample of the signs brought to the protest in their full range of issues, emotions and visual expressions. The signs are handmade and unique, but at the same time connected through a rich web of cultural references, themes, memes, and visual styles. As the most extensive collection of contemporary protest signs representing a single event of this scale, it is a valuable reference resource for scholars, activists and people interested in social movements, civic media and vernacular design. ..." To continue reading or to explore the archive, visit  
by R. Rini Larson
Friday, January 26, 2018
Mapping Our Memories: A Digitized Archive of Place and Loss in Sonoma Co. 0 R. Rini Larson By Nichole Procopenko —  "I woke up the morning of October 9, 2017, and lazily checked my phone. It was clear that something was wrong. Text messages and Facebook posts all pointed to one word: fire. Taking no notice of the time difference, I frantically called my family and tried to piece together what was happening. There was a fire. A big one. It was still burning. Everyone was scared, preparing to evacuate if they hadn’t already. I grew up in the small city of Santa Rosa, California. I attended the same high school as my parents, and most members of my very large family still live there. It is the city where I was born, where my dad built houses, where I buried my mother, and the place that I still call home. In an instant, my home was destroyed in the most destructive wildfire in California history. Over 5,200 structures burned and 22 people dead. Overnight. In a matter of hours. ..." To continue reading, visit the full piece from Folklife, a digital magazine of music, food, craft, and culture, published by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Procopenko, Nichole. "Mapping Our Memories: A Digitized Archive of Place and Loss in Sonoma County, California," Folklife, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (January 18, 2018). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Monday, January 22, 2018
Recently Launched: "New Books In Folklore" Podcast! 0 R. Rini Larson New Books in Folklore is a recently-launched podcast that showcases publications in or relevant to folklorists and the field of folklore studies.  Co-hosted by Rachel Hopkin (radio producer, folklorist, and PhD Candidate at the Ohio State University) and Dr. Timothy Thurston (Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds in the UK), New Books in Folklore is part of the New Books Network, “a consortium of podcasts dedicated to raising the level of public discourse by introducing serious authors to a wide public”. Each episode of New Books in Folklore presents an extended author interview about a recent publication. So far, the following authors and titles have been featured: Ian Brodie - A Vulgar Art: A New Approach to Stand-Up Comedy Luisa Del Giudice (ed.) - On Second Thought: Learned Women Reflect on Profession, Community, and Purpose David Hopkin - Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France Gretchen Dykstra - Pinery Boys: Songs and Songcatching in the Lumberjack Era (co-authored with Franz Rickaby and James P. Leary) Ray Cashman - Packy Jim: Folklore and Worldview on the Irish Border Planned future episodes include Dorothy Noyes talking about Humble Theory, Claire Schmidt on If You Don't Laugh You'll Cry: The Occupational Humor of White Wisconsin Prison Workers, James P. Leary on Folksongs of Another America: Field Recordings from the Upper Midwest, 1937–1946, Marsha MacDowell on Quilts and Health, and Huib Schippers on Sustainable Futures For Music Cultures. For more information, please contact Rachel and Tim at and Subscribe to New Books in Folklore on iTunes.
by R. Rini Larson
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Themes of Resistance Reflected in 2017’s Hottest Internet Trends 0 R. Rini Larson From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Utah State University —  "Folklore throughout history is ordinary folks’ reaction to the big themes of their time. And, in a year when climate change and sexual harassment dominate Twitter and national headlines, it’s fitting those hot topics are the 2017 Digital Trends of the Year. The Twitter hashtag #MeToo and the phenomenon of fake government social media accounts like @AltUSNatParkService top the survey hosted annually by Utah State University’s Digital Folklore Project. The topics may be a bit more subdued than the 2016 winner, 'creepy clowns,' Jeannie Thomas, who co-directs the DFP with Lynne McNeill, assistant professor of English. 'Folklore is all about everyday culture, and dynamic variation is one of its hallmarks,' said Thomas, who also serves as head of the Department of English. The internet, Thomas added, is today’s setting for folklore that was once shared over back fences. In fact, she said, the internet 'functions like a "digital campfire" that draws people together to share their stories and lore.' ...” To continue reading, visit the full article here. "Themes of Resistance Reflected in 2017’s Hottest Internet Trends like #MeToo." College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Utah State University (December 14, 2017). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Friday, January 12, 2018
Cultural Competence—The Right Tool for Dealing with Diversity 0 R. Rini Larson By Margaret J. King —  "Training in Cultural Competence is replacing Diversity Training at many American companies, and it’s long overdue. Diversity Training has been around for over two decades now, which gave researchers at Harvard ample data to conduct a meaningful in-depth study of their effectiveness.  An article on the findings of that report in the Harvard Business Review, titled Why Diversity Programs Fail, concluded that Diversity Training not only shows dismal results, but also makes conditions inside the company worse. For full details, the article is available on the internet (HBR, August 2016). ..." To continue reading, visit the full piece on Margaret King's blog Cultural Intelligence.  King, Margaret J. "Cultural Competence—The Right Tool for Dealing with Diversity." Cultural Intelligence (August 21, 2017). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Thursday, December 14, 2017
E-Comics Based on Narrative Folklore of Bhil Tribe in Madhya Pradesh, India 0 R. Rini Larson Vinayak Sakalley, an English Literature Scholar from Indore, India, has written and published a series of English-language e-comics based on Indian folk stories, with the purpose of promoting awareness of these valuable narrative traditions within the field of English Literature. Sakalley’s e-comics are based on narratives collected from the Bhil tribe in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. To experience Sakalley's newest E-Comic, titled “Hasiya Tribal Warrior,” visit:
by R. Rini Larson
Monday, December 4, 2017
Puerto Rican Musical Family Helps Neighbors Where Fed. Aid Lags After Maria 0 R. Rini Larson By Rick Jervis —  "VILLA PALMERAS, San Juan, Puerto Rico — The drums at the Centro Cultural de Bomba y Plena in this neighborhood have always sounded: For births, birthdays, block parties — even at funerals. But the traditional barril de bomba drums — first used by enslaved Africans on the island four centuries ago and kept alive by the center — have been eerily quiet since Sept. 20 when Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico and ravaged this neighborhood. ..." To continue reading, visit the full article on the USA Today website. Jervis, Rick. "Puerto Rican Musical Family Helps Neighbors Where Federal Aid Lags After Maria." USA Today (11/8/2017). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Monday, December 4, 2017
American Folklorists Give Talks in India 0 R. Rini Larson Martha Norkunas and Emily Socolov presented talks at the Winter School of Oral History at the Srishti School of Art Design and Technology in Bangalore, India in November, 2017. Organized by Dr. Indira Chowdhury, director of the Centre for Public History at Srishti, the theme of the 2017 Winter School was, "The Inner Life of Interviews: Oral History and Inter-Subjectivity." The Centre for Public History is a dynamic environment for the study of oral and public history in Bangalore. Norkunas and Socolov were part of a group of scholars and documentary filmmakers from Italy, the United States and India to speak to Portuguese and Indian graduate students about oral narrative. Other scholars included Alessandro Portelli, Nina Sabnani, Shabman Virmani, and Deepa Dhanraj.
by R. Rini Larson
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Gordon McCann, the Ozarks’ Premiere History Preservationist 0 R. Rini Larson By Kaitlyn McConnell —  "When Gordon McCann first toted a tape recorder to Ozarks music parties, he wasn’t trying to preserve history (or attempting to sell recordings, as at least one old-timer suspected of the citified outsider). Instead, he simply wanted to record the songs so he could practice them on his guitar at home. “They thought it was odd — ‘Why would you want to record stuff?’” recalls McCann of attitudes years ago. “Back then, recording was looked upon as kind of an odd thing. Kind of like how I look at a computer now.” Over time, McCann became a friend and fixture at parties throughout the rural Ozarks. And while the aspiring musician’s primary goal was met — he indeed taught himself to play the old tunes — he also did something else. ..." To continue reading, visit: McConnell, Kaitlyn. "Gordon McCann, the Ozarks’ Premiere History Preservationist." Ozarks Alive! (November 17, 2017). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
American Routes Features 2017 NEA Heritage Fellows 0 R. Rini Larson By Nick Spitzer (Tulane University, host and executive produce of American Routes) —  For this Thanksgiving weekend special, we serve up a heaping course of sonic delights and give thanks to the artists and artisans keeping American roots cultures alive. Every year since 1982 the National Endowment for the Arts has presented Heritage fellowships—America’s highest honor in “folk & traditional arts.” We hear music from past award recipients including swamp boogie chanteuse Carol Fran and bluegrass crooner Del McCoury. And we go live to the 2017 NEA Heritage concert for songs and stories from Puerto Rican percussionist Modesto Cepeda, Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Cyril Pahinui, conjunto accordionist Eva Ybarra, Appalachian buckdancer Thomas Maupin, Danish accordionist Dwight Lamb, Piedmont blues harp player Phil Wiggins, folk music teacher Ella Jenkins, Alaskan weaver Anna Brown Ehlers and Armenian metalworker Norik Astvatsaturov. To listen to this special episode of American Routes, visit: Happy Thanksgiving!
by R. Rini Larson
Monday, November 27, 2017
Follow-Up for the "Arts and Activism" Panel at 2017 AFS Annual Meeting 0 R. Rini Larson The "Arts and Activism: Lessons from the Black Lives Matter Movement of Minneapolis" Panel at the 2017 AFS Annual Meeting, sponsored by the Cultural Diversity Committee and chaired by Anika Wilson (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), spotlighted the ways that Twin City activists and community organizers draw on the power of traditional folk art forms such as storytelling, street theatre, graffiti arts, poetry and folk song to mobilize for change, engage oppressed groups, speak out against oppression and fight for justice in and across communities. Activist/Artists Sha Cage (Minnesota Spoken Word Association) and Jayanthi Kyle (singer/songwriter, Twin Cities) were featured on the panel and are involved in numerous Twin City artist initiatives. To further follow or support their work, visit their recently launched patron page:
by R. Rini Larson
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Where the Small-Town American Dream Lives On 0 R. Rini Larson By Larissa MacFarquhar —  "Orange City, the county seat of Sioux County, Iowa, is a square mile and a half of town, more or less, population six thousand, surrounded by fields in every direction. Sioux County is in the northwest corner of the state, and Orange City is isolated from the world outside—an hour over slow roads to the interstate, more than two hours to the airport in Omaha, nearly four to Des Moines. Hawarden, another town, twenty miles away, is on the Big Sioux River, and was founded as a stop on the Northwestern Railroad in the eighteen-seventies; it had a constant stream of strangers coming through, with hotels to service them and drinking and gambling going on. But Orange City never had a river or a railroad, or, until recently, even a four-lane highway, and so its pure, hermetic culture has been preserved. ..." To continue reading, visit the full article on The New Yorker's website.  MacFarquhar Larissa. "Where the Small-Town American Dream Lives On." The New Yorker (11/13/17). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Friday, November 10, 2017
Advice for Graduate Students 0 R. Rini Larson By Matthew Pratt Guterl —  "These gems aren’t mine, really. Facebook friends and colleagues have helped me to write this list. But I did rank the first ten. Top ten 1. Remember: there are no non-professional interactions. 2. Fundamentals matter. Practice your talks until they flow. Do some editorial work. Volunteer. Wear clean clothes. Update your software. Eat. Sleep. Take showers. Laugh. Love. Don’t obsess over the university – explore your city or town. Make friends everywhere. Eat cupcakes. 3. Figure out what you stand for politically. Be prepared to speak up. 4. Value loyalty over cool or influence. Make friends with people who care about your ideas and your well-being. Bleed for your friends and allies. ..." To continue reading, visit the full blog post on Matthew Pratt Guterl's Wordpress site. Guterl, Matthew Pratt. "General Advice: Advice for Graduate Students." MPG (September 20, 2016). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Six Myths About Choosing a College Major 0 R. Rini Larson By Jeffrey J. Selingo —  "Many colleges ask you to choose a major as early as your senior year of high school, on your admissions application. Yet there’s a good chance you’ll change your mind. The Education Department says that about 30 percent of students switch majors at least once. Students get plenty of advice about picking a major. It turns out, though, that most of it is from family and friends, according to a September Gallup survey. Only 11 percent had sought guidance from a high school counselor, and 28 percent from a college adviser. And most didn’t think that the advice was especially helpful. Maybe it’s because much of the conventional thinking about majors is wrong. ..." To continue reading, visit the full article on the New York Times website. Selingo, Jeffrey J. "Six Myths About Choosing a College Major." The New York Times (November 3, 2017). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Monday, November 6, 2017
IU Folklorists' Podcast Explores Stories of Ghosts, Goblins, Goosebumps 0 R. Rini Larson Two Indiana University graduate students in Folklore, Jesse Fivecoate and Eleanor Hasken, were interviewed by The Herald-Times about their Encounters Podcast. Their podcast explores experiences people have with supernatural entities and paranormal phenomena. You can find the podcast on their website: By Kurt Christian —    "On Halloween, when some say the veil between our world and the next is at its thinnest, even the most rational person may delight in tales of ghosts and goblins. Though some use the holiday as a foray into the supernatural, hosts of the podcast “Encounters” live every day in both realms.   Ellie Hasken and Jesse Fivecoate are co-hosts of a paranormal podcast called “Encounters.” After nine months and 27 episodes, the duo reach more than 500 listeners every day, retelling otherworldly narratives and analyzing the unknown. As folklorists, Hasken and Fivecoate aren’t focused on the veracity of the story of an Appalachian witch or Ouija board demon.   They seek instead a story’s value in society. “We’re not here to judge whether or not something happened,” Hasken said. ..."   Read the full story on the Herald-Times website, which does require a subscription.   Christian, Kurt. "IU Folklorists' Podcast Explores Stories of Ghosts, Goblins, Goosebumps." Herald-Times Online (October 30, 2017). <>
by R. Rini Larson
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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