It seems to me that we are only beginning to harness the true power of the internet, that being the ability to make massive volumes of content easily available to one and all. A new Folk Music related resources has recently come online and I’d like to highlight that as well as a couple of other projects that may be of interest.
The English Folk Dance and Song Society was founded in 1932 when two already extant organizations merged to form arguably the most import organization in the world dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting English Folk traditions. Their Vaughn-Williams Library, located at their headquarters, Cecil Sharp House in London, houses the collections of many of the most important folklorists in history. While in the past you had to travel to the UK to take advantage this incredible resource, now they are undertaking the daunting task of making all of this material available to everyone via the web. Called The Full English, it currently contains the manuscripts of people like Sharp, Vaughn-Williams, Lucy Broadwood, Percy Granger, and many others. While currently limited to manuscripts only, the project, still in it’s infancy, is expected to include audio and perhaps video. You can visit it at http://www.efdss.org/efdss-the-full-english
On the side of the Atlantic, Alan Lomax was one of the most important field collectors of the previous century. Before his death in 2002 he had the insight to create an organization that would make his massive archive available to the public. Though it is still expanding, the Association for Cultural Equity Archive features sound, photos, video, interviews and even the radio programs that Lomax did while living in the UK during the early days of the folk revival there. Visit it at http://www.culturalequity.org/ but I warn you that it is so vast that you can spend hours there.
Over the past few years, I have spent many happy hours exploring the Virtual Gramophone presented by The Library and Archives of Canada. It presents commercial Canadian recordings from the early part of the 20th century. These are not organized by genera but are listed alphabetically by artist name. While daunting, the Traditional Music fan can still sift through and find classic recordings, especially from Quebecois artists but also from Cape Breton fiddlers, Newfound Accordion players, and the like. You can crank up the Virtual Gramophone at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/gramophone/index-e.html
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