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New folklore Campaign launches today!

Calling all music fans!

We've got something new we think you're going to love! Today we're launching a new By the People campaign "The man who recorded the world: On the road with Alan Lomax". The work of folklorist Alan Lomax and his many collaborators forms the bedrock of our understanding of twentieth-century folk music. Discover rich folk traditions by transcribing his field notebooks and correspondence with family, fellow musicians, colleagues, and collaborators. 

The Lomax campaign includes notes on performances and interviews with artists like blues guitarist Robert Johnson, folk singer Woody Guthrie, country musician Burl Ives, and blues singers Lead Belly and Muddy Waters. Lomax is credited with bringing all of these artists to popular public attention. The collection also documents Lomax’s extensive travels, including his time as a Library of Congress employee, and the toll his years of fieldwork took on his personal life.

According to Bob Dylan, “Alan was one of those who unlocked the secrets of this kind of music. So if we've got anybody to thank, it's Alan”. Now, we need your help to unlock these documents and make them available to musicians, music lovers, and researchers all over the world. Ride along in the back seat of Lomax's sedan on the way to interview Robert Johnson’s mother, or browse through Muddy Waters’ record collection to see what inspired the iconic bluesman.

More to come, and more languages to transcribe

We're starting off with materials from across America and the Caribbean, and will later release materials from Lomax's fieldwork in the British Isles, Spain, and the Soviet Union. Many of the documents in the American, Caribbean, and European collections contain materials written in languages other than English, including French Creole, German, Finnish, Spanish, and Swedish.

Find out how to transcribe these languages by reading our new post on History Hub. And remember, you can access our detailed help center at any time for more information on how to transcribe and review. 

Click here for more information.