At noon on Wednesday, May 18, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch
series, Harry Bolick will discuss his new book Mississippi Fiddle Tunes and Songs from the 1930s.
While in the Mississippi state archives tracking down photographic portraits of musicians from 1939, Bolick discovered a treasure trove of earlier fiddle tunes in manuscript form. Since then he has worked to understand how this collection came to exist and be set aside. With Stephen T. Austin, Bolick has transcribed the subsequent 1939 audio recordings. Mississippi Fiddle Tunes and Songs from the 1930s
e history of the collecting work, with more than three hundred of the tunes and songs and a selection of period photographs.
In the summer of 1936, more than a hundred fiddle tunes and thousands of songs were collected and notated throughout a large part of Mississippi. Roughly 130 novice field workers captured beautiful tunes and tantalizing fragments. As a body of work, it is an important and fascinating sna
pshot of vernacular music as heard in Mississippi in the early part of the recorded era. However, this music was unpublished and forgotten.
In 1939, building on the contacts made three years earlier, Herbert Halpert led one of the last and best executed of the WPA folklore projects which recorded audio performances in Mississippi. Some, but not all, of those distinctive fiddle tune recordings have been published.
Born in Mississippi, Harry Bolick has focused on, performed, recorded, and taught the classic fiddle tunes from the state. Mississippi Fiddle Tunes and Songs from the 1930's
is his first book. Bolick has eight recordings to his credit and performs in the Wahoo String Band, as well as leading duos and bands under his own name. He teaches fiddle and mandolin weekly in Garrison, NY, and teaches workshops on Mississippi fiddle tunes around the United States.
The program will take place in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building, 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201. Sales and signing to follow. There is no charge to attend. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All programs in the History Is Lunch s
eries are held noon Wednesdays in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (WFW) or Old Capitol Museum (OCM).
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