To Hear Your Banjo Play
Directed by Willard Van Dyke, script by Alan Lomax. A production of the Office of War Information, 1945. (30 minutes)

Oss! Oss! Wee Oss! – May Day In Padstow
May Day festivities in Cornwall’s ctoastal village of Padstow are dedicated to the “Old ‘Oss” and his attendants in a remarkable community ritual with roots dating to pre-Christian times. Directed and scripted by Alan Lomax, produced by Peter Kennedy, cinematography by George Pickow, and sound by Jean Ritchie. Shot on Kodacolor film in 1951 with the support of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. (60 minutes)

Ballads, Blues, and Bluegrass
An intimate song swap filmed in Lomax’s apartment, spontaneously arranged after a 1961 Clarence Ashley concert at Carnegie Hall, produced by the Friends of Old-Time Music. Crowding into Lomax’s West 3rd Street walk-up were Ashley, Roscoe Holcomb, Doc Watson, Jean Ritchie, Jack Elliott, Peter LaFarge, the New Lost City Ramblers, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon. Directed by Alan Lomax, filmed by George Pickow, sound by Jean Ritchie. (60 minutes)

Performances from the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, including Skip James, Howlin' Wolf, Son House, Rev. Pearly Brown, Bukka White, Ed & Lonnie Young, Clark Kessinger, Jimmy Driftwood, Kilby Snow, the Coon Creek Girls, Canray Fontenot, Bois Sec Ardoin, Almon and Virginia Manes, Tex Logan, Grant Rogers, and others. (All are 60 minutes)

Devil Got My Woman

Delta Blues / Cajun Two Step

Billy In the Lowgrounds: Old-Time Music from Newport


These four films illustrate the pioneering work of Alan Lomax and Forrestine Paulay in Choreometrics, a comparative method of studying the relationship of dance style to human geography. The films employ ethnographic footage filmed in many parts of the world to show how aspects of movement vary with aspects of social structure. Written, directed, and produced by Alan Lomax and Forrestine Paulay. CINE Golden Eagle Awards, Dance Film Festival Awards, Margaret Mead Film Festival honorees. The series was published by the UC Berkeley Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning.

Dance and Human History, 1976
This introduction to Choreometrics illustrates important scales by which dance can be measured, then utilizes the scales to classify dance into ethnographic regions. Also analyzes the influence of economic productivity and the division of labor between the sexes on dance. (60 minutes)

Step Style, 1980
Focuses on leg and foot movements in dance and their relation to cultural patterns, work movements, and sports. (30 minutes)

Palm Play, 1980
People in some parts of the world dance with their palms completely covered or turned in while others openly present their palms to their partners. This film offers a novel explanation of the symbolism and cultural determinants of the universal dance element of palm gestures. (30 minutes)

The Longest Trail, 1986
This exploration of the dance traditions of the American Indian shows more than 50 Native American dances and recounts one of the great human adventures: the settlement of the New World by peoples coming across the Bering Strait land bridge thousands of years ago. (30 minutes)


The Song Hunter
Written and hosted by Alan Lomax, directed by David Attenborough. (BBC Television, 1953-1954)

Dirty Old Town
Script and direction by Alan Lomax. (Granada Television, 1956)

The Golden Isles - Cradle of American Song
Alan Lomax and Accent series host John Ciardi visit the Georgia Sea Island Singers, hear their singing, watch their dancing, and interview Bessie Jones. (Accent, CBS TV, 1962)

Cajun Country


Cajun Country

From 1978 to 1985 Alan Lomax traveled the American South and Southwest with a television crew to document regional folklore with deep historical roots. From the resulting 400 hours of footage came the five-program series American Patchwork, which aired on PBS in 1991. (All are 60 minutes)

The Land Where the Blues Began, 1979
Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long explored the enduring African-American performance traditions of the Mississippi Delta. Featuring bluesmen R. L. Burnside and Jack Owens; tall-tale tellers; fife and drum bands; diddley-bow players; and former prisoners, railroad workers, and roustabouts singing field hollers, work chants, and levee camp songs. Winner of the Blue Ribbon in the American Film Festival, 1985. Produced with the support of Mississippi Educational Television, the film was later edited for the American Patchwork series broadcast version for PBS.

“The Land Where The Blues Began,” by John Bishop. Filmmakers Monthly, XIII(9), July 1980.

Jazz Parades
A celebration of New Orleans’ musical culture — from its piano bars and barrelhouses to brass bands and street parades, with their colorful, riotous, and symbolic second lines, in which the community plays an essential part in the performance. Archival film footage, photographs, interviews with and performances by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Mardi Gras Indians, and Danny Barker tell the story of the New Orleans tradition.

Cajun Country
The bayous of Louisiana have combined French, German, West Indian, native American and hillbilly ingredients into a unique cultural gumbo. Cajun Country investigates the Cajuns’ roots in Western France, visits their cattle drives, horse races, and fais do-dos in rural Louisiana, and listens to the salty tales and raunchy songs of its black, white, and Indian music-makers.

Appalachian Journey
Alan Lomax travels through the hills and hollers of the Southern Appalachians investigating the songs, dances, and religious rituals of the descendents of the Scotch-Irish frontiers-people who have made the mountains their home for centuries. Preachers, fiddlers, moonshiners, cloggers and square dancers recount the good times and the hard times of mountain life. Performances by Tommy Jarrell; Janette Carter; Ray and Stanley Hicks; Frank Proffitt, Jr.; Sheila Kay Adams; and Ray Fairchild, the man reputed to be the fastest banjo-picker in the world.

Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old
An examination of the talents and wisdom of elderly musicians, singers, and story-tellers, who perform not for fame or fortune but to preserve and share their culture. Stories told by Janie Hunter (80 years old) of Johns Island, S.C.; ballads sung by ex-coal miner and union organizer Nimrod Workman (91), of Chatteroy, W.V.; fiddle tunes and tales of moonshining and feuds from Tommy Jarrell (83) of Toast, N.C.; and footage from the Alabama Sacred Harp Convention in Fyffe, Alabama, in which people of all ages gather to sing old-time shape-note hymnody.

Order the Patchwork films on DVD through Media Generation.



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