Trove of Michigan folk music unearthed in archive

  • Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 12:01 a.m.
The Floriani family performs their folk music in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

DETROIT — Detroit is famous for its music, from Motown to Iggy Pop to Eminem. But a newly unearthed trove of recordings reveals Michigan was a fertile ground for folk music.

The music was played by immigrants who came in the early 20th century to work in the copper mines, logging camps and auto factories.

The Library of Congress is releasing a collection of music recorded by legendary folklorist Alan Lomax in 1938 when he visited the Upper Midwest.

The 900 tracks include acoustic blues and many logging, mining and sailing songs.

The release coincides with the 75th anniversary of Lomax’s trip. The music has never been publicly available before. In addition to a podcast and CD set, a traveling exhibit will include concerts.


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