NEH grant award!

March 23rd, 2016

The Mills Music Library and the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures have received NEH funding of $230,000!

Thanks to this grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a unique collection of historic recordings from Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest will receive archival processing, digital reformatting and preservation.

Working with CSUMC and other grant partners, these audio fragments of Wisconsin’s musical heritage will be preserved and made accessible for listeners today and in the future. And there’s an amazing variety of music to hear!

Over 25 cultural traditions are captured on 78rpm discs, DATs, cassettes, and reels.  German and Native American, of course, but also including Swedish, Croatian, Finnish, Yiddish, Swiss and Belgian music, among others, and then the fascinating fusions as these groups interacted and influenced each other.

The recordings date from the 1900s to 1980s, and many are falling apart, or require playback equipment that’s practically obsolete. Audio preservation experts estimate a 15 – 20 year window, before it’s too late to reformat and preserve much of the audio heritage of the world.

Click on the titles to hear samples of the music to be preserved!

Otto and Iva Rindlisbacher perform Swamper’s revenge on the windfall, lumberjack song recorded 1941, Rice Lake, WI.

Tamburiča Quartet plays Marinar mars, Madison, WI, 1940.

Swedish vocal duet, Löftena de stä kvak, recorded in Grantsburg, WI, 1946.

Want more?

More audio: Wisconsin Folksong Collection, 1937-1946

More details:  press release.

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