FREE EVENT – TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2017 at Noon (Whittall Pavilion)
“Sidney Robertson Cowell and the WPA California Folk Music Project, 1938-40”
Cathy Kerst, American Folklife Center
As a young woman of 35, Sidney Robertson proposed, organized, and directed a California Work Projects Administration project designed to survey musical traditions from a wide range of English-speaking and immigrant communities in Northern California. The result of her efforts generated a remarkable multi-format ethnographic field collection (with recordings, photographs, sketches and drawings of the musical instruments, and field notes)—the WPA California Folk Music Project (1938-1940)–that captured a unique cross-section of the music that people of many backgrounds were performing at the time.