March 14, 2011

Two local artists are launching a new music collection project in Manitoba this month, called Manitoba Folkways. 

If that name evokes some memories of American folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax and the influential record label, it’s entirely on purpose. With a nod to both, project organizers Jen Delos Reyes and Kerri-Lynn Reeves will be heading to four locations in Manitoba to do field recordings of the music of the people. 

“I was interested in Alan Lomax’s approach and vision,” explains Delos Reyes of the project’s inspiration. “He elevated vernacular music to a place of reverence and made people’s music (not just the music of trained musicians) of significant cultural value. I also am motivated by the idea of how music forms identity and community. In regards to what Lomax did for American folk music, and American identity, I wondered what it would have been like had Lomax recorded in Canada and how that might of changed our sense of identity in this country.” 

They’re actively seeking people who write music about their lives and about Manitoba. But don’t let the name fool you; they’re not just looking for folkies. They’re hoping that people from all genres, from hip-hop to punk, get involved. 

The goal behind Manitoba Folkways is to create an audio portrait of Manitoba by meeting and recording the music that is being made across province today. The project is intended to be a document of peoples music and no professional music background is required to participate. This audio collection will be compiled into an album and be presented in an exhibition, sponsored by Video Pool and theManitoba Arts Council, this summer in Winnipeg. 

“I hope that people who encounter this project feel a sense of place that comes from the music created by the people who live in this province,” continues Delos Reyes. “I also hope that the idea that people’s music should be a more central part of our lives and experience of place. With such a recent emphasis on the local, I think now more than ever this quote from Lomax holds relevance, ‘Ask around home, do a little detective work, and then go out looking for songs. There’s music in your own back yard.'” 

Recording locations and dates
– B&D Music, Morden — Friday, March 18
– Golden Prairie Arts Centre, Carman — Saturday, March 19
– The Lo Pub, Winnipeg — Sunday, March 20
– Lady of the Lake, Brandon — Monday, March 21 

How to get involved
If you are interested in being recorded as part of this project please with the following information:
– full contact information (phone & email)
– musician / band name (if applicable)
– contact name
– brief description of your music (max. 75 words)