IODA, the global leader in digital distribution, marketing, and technology solutions for the independent music industry, and the Alan Lomax Archive announced a partnership to make thousands of traditional and vernacular music recordings available worldwide.
As part of a global grassroots campaign, Lomax and IODA will disseminate Lomax’s recordings digitally to an international network of retailers. The partnership comes on the heels of the recently released “Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World” — John Szwed’s comprehensive biography.
The recordings — many previously unreleased — are drawn from Lomax’s fieldwork from 1933 to 1991, during which time he sought out and recorded hundreds of hours of music from a huge diversity of cultures. They will be released on the Archive’s new label, Global Jukebox.
“No one has come close to Alan Lomax in illuminating the intersecting musical roots of an extraordinary range of cultures, including our own,” commented Nat Hentoff, renowned American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic.
“Without Lomax it’s possible that there would have been no blues explosion, no R&B movement, no Beatles and no Stones and no Velvet Underground,” said Brian Eno, English musician, composer, producer, singer and visual artist, best known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music.
America’s Legendary Folklorist
Alan Lomax (1915-2002) is considered America’s foremost folklorist. He dedicated his life’s work to the documentation of music and cultural traditions across the world and is perhaps best known for making the debut recordings of American legends like Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, and Woody Guthrie on behalf of the Library of Congress. But his independent explorations into the world’s traditional music took him beyond his outstanding recordings in the American South to song hunting throughout the British Isles, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Romania, the Caribbean, and the former Soviet Union, and won him a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy Foundation.
“It still remains for us to learn how we can put our magnificent mass communications technology at the service of each and every branch of the human family.” – Alan Lomax
A Global, Grassroots Campaign
Collaborations with folklore institutions like the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and Spain’s Muséu del Pueblu d’Asturies, indie record labels Mississippi Records and Dust-to-Digital, among others, and university presses including those of the University of Nebraska and the University of Wisconsin will enable the Archive to make its more than 17,000 recordings available to diverse audiences worldwide. Through IODA’s international distribution network, Global Jukebox releases will be available at hundreds of digital retailers including iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, MOG and Rdio, and through mobile providers such as AT&T, Nokia, T-Mobile, Sprint, Telefonica and Verizon.
Among the most highly anticipated, never-released recordings are:
* The Newport Folk Festival Preview Concert at New York City’s Central Park was held at the height of the Civil Rights era, in the summer of 1965. Alan Lomax produced and MC’d the concert. The concert featured seminal figures of the Folk Revival era including Reverend Gary Davis, Ed Young, Bessie Jones, Mable Hillery, and the Georgia Sea Island Singers.
* Alan Lomax in Morocco, 1967. Lomax recorded the traditional music of both urban and rural Morocco, setting up his tape machine in the historic metropolises of Fes and Marrakech as well as in remote rural villages in the Atlas Mountains.
* Irish folksongs sung by famed Irish playwright Brendan Behan for Lomax in London in 1951.
“By enabling digital access to these recordings by the cultures and people whose legacies they represent, we expect this global collaboration to promote greater understanding of the diversity of the world’s music,” commented Erik Gilbert, VP of Client Strategy at IODA. “Our enthusiasm for this project is aligned with the enormous potential we believe it has to make a significant cultural contribution to the world’s music library.”