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Amanda Ekery

“I saw the job of a folklorist was to make a bridge between people who had no voice and the big world of communication.” – Alan Lomax 

Hannah Grantham and Amanda Ekery created the Lomax Folk Project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Lomax in 2017 and celebrate American Folk Music with audiences. The Lomax Folk Project explores the vast repertoire recorded by the Lomaxes for the American Archive of Folk Music, located at the Library of Congress.

Long Grant Project:

John and Alan Lomax were a father-son team of folklorists who recorded music for the Archive of American Folk Music housed in the Library of Congress. Together they pioneered recording folklore by traveling across the United States recording destitute artists and imprisoned African Americans that had no access to an audience. By recording their music, the Lomaxes helped preserve American Folklore that has influenced artists, such as Johnny Cash and Ed Sheeran, for the past century and half; in fact, 2017 is the 150th Anniversary of John Lomax, which is the perfect time for audiences to learn about the music and history in their own backyard.

Hannah Grantham and Amanda Ekery created the Lomax Folk Project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Lomax in 2017 and celebrate American Folk Music with audiences. The Lomax Folk Project explores the vast repertoire recorded by the Lomaxes for the American Archive of Folk Music, located at the Library of Congress.


Outcome:

The Lomax Folk Project is now a five-piece educational ensemble that pairs original arrangements and historical stories about songs in the Lomax Collection. The Lomax Project's mission is to inform audiences of the vibrant music history in their own backyards. The program invites audiences to engage with the musicians through sing-alongs, rhythmic clapping and Q&A discussions after the performances with Ekery and Grantham. The project mission is to bring diverse audiences together by sharing music of their home. Audiences come to feel a sense of pride about where they live and better understand what their home has inspired. Another important feature of the Lomax Folk Project is that it will be free to audiences. This allows for a spirit of community, equality and accessibility that Ekery and Grantham want to promote.

So far, performance locations have included the Denton Downtown Square, the residence of the Lomax Family home, and the Denton Public Library. Ekery and Grantham are intending to bring the project to seven states in the U.S. and perform at historical societies, art museums and libraries.

Ekery and Grantham expect to present the Lomax Folk Project at New England Conservatory in June of 2017.