NATURAL RHYTHM is a multimedia music recording project which emulates folklorist Alan Lomax’s field recordings for the Library of Congress, creating an updated public archive of contemporary folk music for the first time since 1968.
For six weeks from May to June, the NATURAL RHYTHM team will travel up the Mississippi following the path of the Great Migration, starting in New Orleans and finding closure in Chicago.
In each stop in large cities and rural towns, we will connect with the local communities to document performances and interviews along our route; recording in non-traditional yet sonically rich venues such as nursing homes, river banks, schools, churches, summer camps, and cul-de-sacs to investigate the role that non-commercial music serves in the daily workings of a community.
The research, recordings, and photographs we collect along the journey will bridge the gap between the 1968 archives and now, to embrace a complete catalog of our musical heritage.
Following in the Footsteps of Alan Lomax
Alan Lomax is the folklorist and archivist who brought the sounds of Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Lead Belly, and other integral artists to the mainstream. In 1937 and 1959, Alan Lomax traveled through the United States recording over 10,000 songs and interviews. He discovered icons of American music and shared them with the world.
NATURAL RHYTHM aims to honor and elaborate on Lomax's legacy of capturing the sounds of our times.
We have a core team of two making the journey:
Abigail Nover, Creator & Research Lead
Tegan Ritz McDuffie, Photographer & Recording Assistant
And a pre-travel manager preparing our goals for actualization:
Ariel Beach-Westmorland, Project Manager
In addition to this team, we will be interviewing and recording many valuable voices along the journey. They will all be a part of the team who will bring this project to life and provide the essential material for an updated archive of folk music in the United States.
The Impact and Product
The research we conduct for NATURAL RHYTHM will be free to the public through an online archive which will include:
- Music Recordings
- Video Footage
Your contribution will support presenting the work through:
- Multimedia art exhibits in Pittsburgh and New York City
- Presentations at universities and schools
- CD & DVD set of music & interviews
- Booklet of lyrics, writings and photographs
By sharing these materials with the public, educational institutions, and music archives, we’ll be achieving the project’s goals:
- Ensure the legacy of traditional American music
- Create a comprehensive record in an easily accessible form for the public
- Jump-start dialogue about what is considered folk music and how it has evolved
- Analyze how our national music traditions are changing
- Inspire artists and communities throughout the United States
- Celebrate musical traditions passed down through generations
- Promote individuals that bring their own voice to tradition
"There was never any money in it for Alan. He did it out of the passion he had for it, and found ways to fund projects that were closest to his heart." Don Fleming
Closest to the heart of a project about community is the community itself. We’re asking you to contribute towards our budget, which breaks down as follows:
- $10,000 - Travel & Housing
- $5,000 - Equipment
- $5,000 - Marketing & Distribution
- $3,000 - Promotional Events
- $3,000 - Stipends
TOTAL BUDGET: $26,000
If we surpass our goal, we will be able to explore the full potential of the archival print versions of the distributed materials and the galleries openings. It is our priority to present the public with beautiful and professional documentation of the people and communities we encounter on the journey.
Other Ways You Can Help
Finding the Voices of Contemporary Folk Music
In addition to contributing financially, please reach out to us if you know anyone living along the path we have outlined who you believe would be a valuable voice to include in our interviews or recordings. We’d love your input and perspective.
Throughout the trip we’ll be communicating through various social media platforms to share our journey. Follow our accounts to stay informed and receive exciting updates.
- Our website for blog entries detailing our hunt for the contemporary roots of folk. Facebook: Natural Rhythm
- Instagram: naturalrhythm14
- Twitter: naturalrhythm14
Empower Authenticity, Celebrate Innovators & Invest in Our Community’s Music Heritage
Thank You for Supporting
Contact Us: naturalrhythmproject.com | firstname.lastname@example.org