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Almeda Riddle and Alan Lomax

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world. He and his father John spent time in Arkansas collecting old stories and songs. Recently thousands of the songs and interviews Lomax recorded were made available for free online, many for the first time, including outtakes and false starts. It’s a real treasure-trove for folk music fans. Listen to a two-part interview and song session Lomaxrecorded with Arkansas’s own folk music treasure, Almeda Riddle, about the song, “Down in the Arkansas.”  Part One; Part Two  Discovered by a ballad collector in the 1950s, Almeda James Riddle of Greers Ferry (Cleburne County) became a prominent figure in America’s folk music revival. Her memory of ballads, hymns, and children’s songs was one of the largest single repertories documented by folksong scholars. After two decades of concerts and recordings, she received the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts for her contributions to the preservation of Ozark folksong traditions. [Photograph by Alan Lomax, courtesy of the Association of Cultural Equity.]