Sing It Pretty: A Memoir

Overview

A leader in the development of state and federal programs supporting traditional arts and folk cultures, Bess Lomax Hawes grew up with her father John Lomax and brother Alan in the first family of American folk music. Her compelling account of the folk music boom of the mid-twentieth century and the development of "public-sector" folklore includes family friends Ruth Crawford Seeger and Carl Sandburg, fellow Almanac Singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and other musicians and artists. Her own creative endeavors...

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Overview

A leader in the development of state and federal programs supporting traditional arts and folk cultures, Bess Lomax Hawes grew up with her father John Lomax and brother Alan in the first family of American folk music. Her compelling account of the folk music boom of the mid-twentieth century and the development of "public-sector" folklore includes family friends Ruth Crawford Seeger and Carl Sandburg, fellow Almanac Singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and other musicians and artists. Her own creative endeavors as producer of American folk culture films, author of academic papers and books, and coauthor of the Kingston Trio's hit "MTA Song" (adapted from a local political campaign jingle) unfold alongside her legacy of teaching guitar and American folk music to thousands of adults in Los Angeles. Whether teaching anthropology to college students, learning singing games from the Georgia Sea Island Singers, or directing the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, Hawes remains dedicated to preserving and appreciating the traditional cultures of America.

About the Author:
Bess Lomax Hawes is a renowned folklorist, teacher, and musicologist. Awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1993

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Born in East Texas to famed folk song collector John Lomax, Hawes spent her childhood traveling with her father and her brother, Alan Lomax, to help preserve the folk music culture of rural America. As a child, Hawes took to heart her mother's advice-"by doing, you learn to do"-and has applied it to all areas of her life. She learned the tools of folklore fieldwork by transcribing the songs of rural musicians and taught herself how to play these songs, eventually joining the Almanac Singers, which included Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, as part of a growing folk movement. When she married Butch Hawes and moved to California, she began teaching guitar and college-level folklore studies. Eventually, she was named director of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1993, Bill Clinton recognized her work by awarding her the National Medal of Arts. Although Hawes recounts her life dispassionately and in a rather pedantic manner, her accomplishments and her significant contributions to American music mark her place in music history. Libraries with comprehensive folk music collections will want to own her memoir.
—Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252075094
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 4/2/2008
  • Series: Music in American Life Series
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,146,804
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bess Lomax Hawes is a renowned folklorist, teacher, and musicologist. Awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Hawes was the first director of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Getting Started     1
Growing Up     11
Our Singing Country     20
Europe and Bryn Mawr     29
The Almanacs and the War     39
Boston, Babies, and Beginning to Teach     51
California and More Teaching     61
College Teaching     74
Off-Campus Excursions     87
The Smithsonian Festivals     103
Moving to the National Endowment for the Arts     118
Creating the Folk Arts Program     129
Guidelines, Panels, and Policies     140
Working with States and Artists     150
The National Heritage Fellowships     161
Memories     169
Chronology of the Life of Bess Lomax Hawes     175
Index     177

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