Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sounds of the New Deal: The Federal Music Project in the West

Peter Gough is an assistant professor of history at California State University, Sacramento and author of Sounds of the New Deal: the federal music project in the westPlease join us for an author talk, Q&A, and book sales* and signing on Sunday, March 20th at 1pm.

—all people—
triumphed and reshaped America

At its peak, the Federal Music Project (FMP) employed nearly 16,000 people who reached millions of Americans through performances, composing, teaching, and folksong collection and transcription. In Sounds of the New Deal, Peter Gough explores how the FMP’s activities in the West shaped a new national appreciation for the diversity of American musical expression. From the onset, administrators and artists debated whether to represent highbrow, popular, or folk music in FMP activities. Though the administration privileged using “good” music to educate the public, in the West local preferences regularly trumped national priorities and allowed diverse vernacular musics to be heard. African American and Hispanic music found unprecedented popularity while the cultural mosaic illuminated by American folksong exemplified the spirit of the Popular Front movement. These new musical expressions combined the radical sensibilities of an invigorated Left with nationalistic impulses. At the same time, they blended traditional patriotic themes with an awareness of the country’s varied ethnic musical heritage and vast—but endangered—store of grassroots music.

Presentation will be held in the Latino/Hispanic Community Room, Lower Level of the Main San Francisco Public Library.

* book sales provided by Friends of the Library

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