One of the most famous field-recorder and folklorist is without a doubt Alan Lomax. Born in Texas in 1915 and son of the pionneer american folklorist John Lomax, he devoted his life to record traditionnal music “in the field”. First with his father and after on his own, he documented extensively music of the American South, working for the Library of Congress of Washington. His work on african-american musical traditions is well known for example. In the Fifties, during the “Red Scare”, he preferred to leave the U.S to live in Europe and made field-trips to Spain and Italy. It was during this period that he had the idea for a serie of lp records that would document the world’s musical traditions. He proposed the idea to Goddard Lieberson, president of Columbia Records, that agreed to issue what he collected. During the fifties he contacted many folklorists around the world, asking them to collaborate to the serie. In fact, apart from the British Isles, Spain and Italy volumes, his work was just as editor of the whole serie. Columbia records issued 18 volumes between 1955 and 1964 (more than 40 volumes were planned in the beginning) under the title “World Library of Folk and primitive Music”. Apart from the pioneering work of Moses Ash with Folkways records, this was the first time that “World music” was presented on long-playing records with documented notes and pictures and many other collections would follow in the same vein afterward. Rounder Records have re-issued in the last years some volumes on cd, along with many other important Lomax recordings but even on cd, some volumes seems to be out-of-print.
-In the next few months, i would like to present this important collection and give you the opportunity to hear most of the recordings issued as “The World Library of Folk and Primitive Music”. I don’t have all the 18 volumes, but for now i have 11 volumes on lp and 3 on cd. I will present briefly each volume i have, digitalize the ones i have on vinyl, and give some pictures of the records along with the liner notes. I hope it will be a fascinating and enjoyable trip for all of us….