When 21-year-old Alan Lomax dragged 155 pounds of luggage and recording equipment into the heat and humanity of Port-au-Prince's dockside, he entered a crucible. In the Christmas season of 1936, Haiti was re-forging a national identity after a 15-year U.S. occupation. The island nation was discovering the roots of its rural culture in Africa, struggling to reconcile the class and race issues arising from a mixed French, Spanish and African heritage, and the cosmopolitan urban culture and folk traditions of the rural poor. Lomax, too, was coming of age in his first solo venture in ethnography, while wrestling with emotional uncertainty, romantic longing, technical challenges, sickness, and financial woes. On November 17, Harte Recordings will release Alan Lomax in Haiti, a 10-CD audio and video box set that reveals for the first time the musical and cultural fruits of that national and personal struggle.
The Green Family Foundation (GFF) and Fastforward have launched a new website, This is Haiti, to document their work in Haiti over the past year. Music and film from Alan Lomax's field trip to Haiti have been used in their outreach to communities throughout the country.
The album Musical Selections from Alan Lomax in Haiti is being sold through Amazon.com for $4 with 100% of the proceeds going to The Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti, Doctors Without Borders, and Partners in Health.
Gage Averill, president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, gives us a first-hand account of a recent trip to earthquake-torn Haiti, and an update on the Haiti repatriation project.
ACE's Haiti Repatriation and Cultural Preservation Project was selected as an outstanding project of the Clinton Global Initiative in Haiti, sponsored by the Green Family Foundation, a humanitarian agency based in Miami and operating in Haiti, and a partner of the CGI.
We've created special Teaching Resources based on Alan Lomax's journeys of discovery in Haiti. These classroom materials, with audio samples, can be found here.