“America Changed Through Music”
Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music

Starting life as a one day conference at the University of East Anglia's London campus (information below), “America Changed Through Music”: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music is now going to be the first book devoted to this vital moment in American cultural history. We're currently looking for contributors. Find out more here.

UEA London, Saturday 15th September 2012

2012 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Harry Smith’s landmark Anthology of American Folk Music. A collection of folk recordings originally issued between 1927 and 1932, the Anthology had a profound and immediate effect on American musical culture upon its release in 1952, helping to inspire the folk revival and everything else that spiralled out of it. Over the six decades of its existence, it has continued to exert considerable influence on generations of musicians, artists, and writers. In his speech at the Grammy Awards in 1991, when he received a Chairman's Merit Award for his contributions to American folk music, Smith claimed: “I’m glad to say that my dreams came true. I saw America changed through music.” This one day interdisciplinary conference, hosted by University of East Anglia's School of American Studies at UEA London and organised by Ross Hair and Thomas Ruys Smith, will celebrate the Anthology and consider Smith’s claim: to what extent has America “changed through music”, specifically the music brought together on the Anthology of American Folk Music? More generally, discussions and performances on the day will examine the wider legacy of the Anthology of American Folk Music on twentieth-century music, art, and literature.

  • You can view a provisional programme here.
  • Booking information available here.
  • Press releases and press coverage perusable here.

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