Alan Lomax is not a household name but scholars and musicians of many stripes know and revere his brilliant body of work. At the American Folklife Center in the LIbrary of Congress no one has had a greater impact, both for his innovative ideas and the quality and quantity of his rare recordings. Alan’s influence on American thought and culture is profound and should not be underestimated. Just ask Bob Dylan:
“Alan was one of those who unlocked the secrets of this music. So if we’ve got anybody to thank, it’s Alan.”
Alan was a musicologist, writer and producer who spent his life researching and promoting unrecorded and unrecognized music, dance and oral traditions. He was the preeminent folklorist of his time. In the early 1930s, Alan, along with his father, John Avery Lomax, began to record work songs, blues, ballads, plantation tales and narratives from all over the American south starting with the state prison farms in Mississippi. This began a life long misssion to document not only America’s cultural roots, but the world’s as well. More than a century after his birth, folklorist Alan Lomax is well remembered for the great gift of preserving cultural heritage.
The driving force of Alan’s career was his belief in what he called “Cultural Equity” - the idea that music, dance and folklore of all traditions have equal value. Alan wanted to animate this concept by making these cultural treasures accessible to everyone. His answer was the Global Jukebox.