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Filmography - Popular Music: Folk/Traditional

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of March 2011

Popular Music Filmography - Folk/Traditional

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of March 2011. 

Some streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library – including the Music Library located in the Katzen Center. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings please refer to Library Search.




The Ballad of Frankie Silver: Reflections on a murder ; Epilogue, the making of a ballad singer. 1996. 1 streaming video file (47 min). Examines a famous murder and execution in American history, through stories, songs and interviews. The epilogue at the end of the video tells why McMillon and his singing partner, Marina Trivette, developed a love for Appalachian ballads and tales as children. Streamnig video.,96

The Bobs sing and other love songs. 2001. 1 videodisc (57 min.). Features the popular American singing group, The Bobs. Their unique style combines four professionally trained voices and a wacky sense of humor, with the result being a wild mix of a cappella/ comedy/ musical theatre. Celebrating The Bobs 20th anniversary, this tribute to "love" features 11 popular songs. Includes behind the scenes featurette. MUSIC LIBRARY DVD 100

Les blues de Balfa. 1994. 1 streaming video file (1983, 27 min.). Dewey Balfa, last surviving member of the musical group the Balfa Brothers, traces the development of his musical family and its contribution to Cajun music. Streaming video.,152

Born for hard luck Peg Leg Sam Jackson. American traditional culture series. 2005. 1 streaming video file (29 min). A biographical study of Arthur Jackson, known as Peg Leg Sam, a Black street corner musician, telling of his days as a hobo and performer with patent medicine shows in the South. Streaming video.,1

Bound for glory. 2000. 1 videodisc (146 min.). Feature film. In 1936 Woody Guthrie leaves Texas and heads to California looking for work. He meets hobos, migrant workers and people down on their luck, and begins his career as a folk singer. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 519

Cajun visits. 1983. 1 streaming video file (28 min). This film presents six masters of traditional Cajun music: Dennis McGee, Wallace "Cheese" Read, Canray Fontenot, Leopold Franðcois, Robert Jardell, and Dewey Balfa as they talk about their lives, their work, and their music. Includes performances of nine songs on fiddle, Acadian accordion, and guitar. Streaming video,154

Catching the music. 1987. 1 streaming video file (54 min). Presents a tribute to old-time music and to the people who play it. Shows excerpts from Banjo dancing, the longest running show in the history of Washington D.C. theater. Streaming video.,135

Dreadful memories: The life of Sarah Ogan Gunning, 1910-1983. 1988? 1 streaming video file (39 min). A biography Sarah Ogan Gunning, an a cappella folk singer who is best known for her protest songs lamenting corporate mistreatment of Appalachian miners. Streaming video.,164

Dreams and songs of the noble old. American patchwork. 1990. 1 streaming video file (60 min.). Meet the oldsters who are responsible for the preservation of various forms of American music. They range from Nimrod Workman, who loves medieval ballads, to the Sacred Harp singers, who keep alive polyphonic singing that dates back to the time of the American Revolution. VHS 1405 and streaming video.,127

From shore to shore: Irish traditional music in New York City. 1993. Streaming video (57 min.). Examines both the continuity and the changes that have affected Irish traditional music since the turn of the century.  Using New York City as the focus, this documentary mixes historic photographs and film footage with contemporary interviews and performances. Streaming video.,191

Gravel Springs fife & drum. 1971. 1 streaming video file (10 min). A documentary on black folklore. Uses the words and music of Othar Turner, a farmer-musician from Gravel Springs, Miss., to focus on the way of life of the townspeople, and to compare their fife and drum music to that traditionally played in west Africa. Streaming video.,59

Homemade American music. 1980. 1 streaming video file (40 min). Describes traditional American music and its origins and shows how it is being taught and learned today. Features artists such as Alice Gerrard, Mike Seeger, Elizabeth Cotten, Lily May Ledford, Tommy Jarrell, and Roscoe Holcomb. Streaming video.,153

Mouth music. 1981. 1 streaming video file (25 min). Takes us on a tour of some of the most interesting and colorful performers in grassroots America. Jimmy Riddle plays his throat, teeth, eephs, hambones and does animal imitations. It is an entertaining montage of different people and music from across the South and offers a testimony to the richness of American folk culture. Filmed on location in the rural South, this program pays tribute to the most basic of all instruments, the human voice. Streaming video.,173

New England fiddles. 1983. 1 streaming video file (28 min). Presents seven traditional fiddlers as they play and discuss their music. Followed by an appendix of 11 additional fiddle tunes played by some of the same fiddlers. Streaming video.,93

The Popovich Brothers of South Chicago. 1978. 1 streaming video (59 min). Presents a musical portrait of the South Chicago's Serbian-American community, as reflected by the Popovich Brothers who have been its constant source of traditional Serbian music for the past 50 years. Streaming video.,40

Texas style. 1986. Streaming video (28 min). Filmed at the Homecoming, Rodeo, and Fiddling Contest, centers on three generations of champion fiddlers from the Westmoreland family, who trace the evolution of folk music in Texas from its traditional Appalachian roots to its contemporary foot-stomping Texas style. Streaming video.,163

That high lonesome sound. 2002. 1 videodisc (ca. 70 min.). Shot in the 1960s, the three films released on this video capture the vanishing landscape of traditional music in America and the source of its power. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 532

Tough, pretty, or smart: A portrait of the Patoka Valley Boys. 1981. 1 streaming video file (29 min). Looks at the Patoka Valley Boys, an old-time, string band in rural Indiana. Shows scenes of their personal lives and their coal mining jobs as each member comments on why he performs the old-fashioned tunes for guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and harmonica. Includes a pastiche of the group's music for which it has won championships in Kentucky and Tennessee. Streaming video.,129