2013 Public Humanities Award
all who joined us and supported this eventhonoring Lisa Lee, Director of the School of
Art and Art History at the University.
Folksongs of Illinois is a series of three CDs that document the rich and varied history of folk and popular music in Illinois.
The CDs feature songs from a broad range of talented Illinois musicians and include recordings taken from archival, 78 rpm, LP, and contemporary CD recordings, as well as new studio recordings. The music includes traditional folk ballads, polkas, early country tunes, corridos, gospel hymns, labor anthems, Irish reels, and tamburitza kolos. Listeners can hear the legendary violinist Johnny Frigo, polka king Little Wally, "alt country" favorites Jon Langford, Kelly Hogan, and Janet Bean, and All-Ireland Champion fiddler Liz Carroll, as well as Grammy winner Alison Krauss, gospel great Mahalia Jackson, and early country stars The Girls of the Golden West.
Illinois has a long and rich musical past that seldom receives the public audience and scholarly attention that it deserves. Many people are familiar with Chicago's blues and jazz history. However, a wide variety of musical styles enjoyed a long tradition in the state, including folk ballads, fiddle tunes, gospel songs, early country music, bluegrass, and the musical traditions of a multitude of ethnic communities in the state. Irish, German, Polish, Finnish, Mexican, French, Swedish, Serbian, and Czech musicians made important contributions to the state's musical heritage.
The Illinois Humanities Council released Folksongs of Illinois Volumes 1, 2, and 3 in 2007 as part of a three-CD series that will highlight the state's vibrant musical past. Each CD utilizes older home and field recordings, early commercial releases from 78s and LPs, and new studio recordings of contemporary artists, including performers from many ethnic communities. Each also includes an introductory essay and extensive liner notes written by a scholar. As a public service, the IHC worked with the Illinois State Library to distribute these CDs free of charge to the state's 3,000 school libraries.
Volume 1 offers a selection of Illinois' best folk music and musicians with songs from Carl Sandburg, the Staples Singers, Jon Langford, Art Thieme, the Girls of the Golden West, the Polish Mountaineers, Special Consensus, Bucky Halker, Janet Bean, Tamburitza Orchestra Javor, and Silvano Ramos and Daniel Ramirez.
Volume 2 offers a rich variety of fiddle music with songs from Alison Krauss, Liz Carroll, the Polish Highlanders, Nordic Cowboys, Johnny Frigo, Sar Planina, and Chirps Smith, among others.
Volume 3 features Burl Ives (with Pete Seeger), the Bray Brothers, Win Stracke, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Jenkins, Big Bill Broonzy, the Kapugi Brothers, Sons of the Never Wrong, and many more Illinois artists.
Now Available: Volume 4 (released in 2011)
*Album cover illustrations by Heather McAdams; graphic design by Tom Greensfelder and Evan Sult.
Praise for Folksongs of Illinois: