Joshua Clegg Caffery
Franklin, La. native Joshua Clegg Caffery is a writer and musician. He is a founding member of The Red Stick Ramblers and longtime member of the Louisiana French band Feufollet. Caffery was nominated for a Grammy in 2009 for his work on the Feufollet album En Couleurs. He resides in Breaux Bridge, La.
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Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings
Alan Lomax's prolific 64-year career as a folklorist and musicologist began with a trip during the height of the Great Depression across the South and into the heart of Louisiana's Cajun country. In 1934, his father John, then curator of the Library of Congress's Archive of American Folk Song, took 18-year-old Alan and a 300 pound aluminum disk recorder into the rice fields of Jennings, along the waterways of New Iberia and behind the gates of Angola State Penitentiary to collect vestiges of African-American and Acadian musical tradition. These recordings now serve as the foundational document of indigenous Louisiana music.
Although widely recognized by scholars as a key artifact in the understanding of American vernacular music, most of the recordings by John and Alan Lomax during their expedition throughout the central-southern fringe of Louisiana were never transcribed or translated, much less studied in depth. This volume presents, for the first time, a comprehensive examination of the 1934 corpus and unveils a multifaceted story of traditional song in one of the country's most culturally dynamic regions.
Through his textual and comparative study of the songs contained in the Lomax collection, Joshua Clegg Caffery provides a musical history of Louisiana that extends beyond Cajun music and zydeco to the rural blues, Irish and English folk songs, play-party songs, slave spirituals and traditional French folk songs that thrived at the time of these recordings.
Intimate in its presentation of Louisiana folk life and broad in its historical scope, Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana honors the legacy of John and Alan Lomax by retrieving these musical relics from obscurity and ensuring their understanding and appreciation for generations to come.
• Complete transcriptions of the 1934 Lomax Field Recordings in southwestern Louisiana
• Side-by-side translations from French to English
• Photographs from the 1934 field trip and biographical details about the performers
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