Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hip-Hop Globe-trot

Rap is a distinctly American music. It incubated and developed among the African-American and Afro-Carribbean youth of New York City in the 1970s. Rap quickly spread to urban centers all over the United States blossoming into a rich variety of regional styles and scenes. It has also moved from an underground urban setting to having a strong influence on mainstream youth culture. Rap and hip hop have helped to create distinctive styles of fashion, gesture, art and video-making.

It's not surprising that such an appealing culture would have have adherents outside of the United States. The following video presents rappers from 30 countries.

While each of these rappers have absorbed aspects of rap's roots they all find ways to use this form to express their own personal and national identity.

World rap is subject that is just beginning to receive book length treatment.

Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA is a collection of essays that look at the scenes in a number of countries. This book includes articles in the Islamic world, among ethnic minorities the Basque and the Maori, and in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, and Korea.

The Africanist Aesthetic In Global Hip-hop by Halifu Osumare is an analysis of rap in a number of countries. While not an easy read it looks at the social, political and aesthetic manifestions of rap and hip-hop in many settings.

Like Global Noise, Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-hop Culture in the Francophone World is a collection of essays by many authors. This book looks at rap in France, Quebec and Gabon.

Hip-hop Japan: Rap and The Paths of Cultural Globalization by Ian Condry while focussing on one country looks at the subject from a number of angles. Condry examines the historical influence of Black culture in Japan, rap fans and their consumer culture, the Japanese language as a medium for rap, women rappers, and the economics of rap in Japan.

For those who can read other languages the library also owns Hip hop italiano: suoni, parole e scenari del posse power by Pierfrancesco Pacoda about the Italian scene and Can pi de rao she da ji hua - 參劈的饒舌大計劃 (translates as: Tri Poets’ Rapping Big Project) by the TriPoets, group of Taiwanese rappers.

For those wanting to explore this subject more deeply the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World has four volumes by region that frequently index the term "rap." The Music Index, an annual print index of current articles about music includes references to current articles about rap and hip hop. They are found under the subject heading Popular Music Styles and are divided geographically.

For recordings in the San Francisco Public Library's collections follow these subject links:

Rap (Music) - China - Hong Kong
Rap (Music) - Cuba
Rap (Music) - Great Britain
Rap (Music) - Israel
Rap (Music) - Jamaica
Rap (Music) - Latin America
Rap (Music) - Mexico
Rap (Music) - Puerto Rico
Rap (Music) - Russia - Federation
Rap (Music) - Vietnam

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Folk Song Index

Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide To The Florence E. Brunnings Collection, volume 252 of the Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, is an indispensable reference resource. This work is actually Florence E. Brunnings' personal index to her personal collection of recordings, books, songbooks and magazines. She wrote in the introduction to her book:
In 1969 I became angry at not being able to find a particular song quickly enough in one of my many songbooks to follow the tune on the radio. So I decided to take a few weeks of spare time and make an index of all the songs in all my books in my books and on my records. The project soon became an obsession and eleven years later I had collected 49,300 cards, one for every song and every variant of a song in the 1,115 books and journals and the 695 records in my collection.
While this index cannot claim to be complete, and may not even be entirely representative, as it reflects a tendency towards Anglo-American folk music, it provides access to many songbooks in our collection or helps us track down songs in collections owned by other libraries. Of particular importance is its cross-indexing of multiple song titles and title variants. Very frequently the greatest challenge in tracking down a folksong is learning its correct title.

The index opens with a numerical listing of the indexed books and journals, a bibliography of these works, a numerical list of recordings and index of performers on these recordings.

The late Mrs. Brunnings came to this task as an enthusiast. While employed at a bank she became active as an amateur folk musician in the Boston area, and was even a library volunteer. According to her obituary in the Quincy Patriot Ledger, "She taught herself to play guitar, autoharp, recorder and the spoons. She even took requests for songs while playing the spoons in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston." Her Folk Song Index is truly a labor of love.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities

Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities is an exhibit at the San Francisco Musuem of Modern Art from May 30 through September 7, 2009.

This traveling exhibition, organized by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, is the first to compare the works of two major twentieth century artists: Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and Ansel Adams (1902-1984). At a time when the art world was dominated by men, O’Keeffe revolutionized the role of women artists with her lyrical, abstract paintings of desert mountains, flowers, plants and bones. Ansel Adams, a photographer and conservationist, helped legitimize photography as an art form with his haunting landscapes of the American West. They met for the first time in 1929 at a gathering of artists and writers in the Taos home of a mutual friend.

Despite the differences in their personalities, age and working methods, O’Keeffe and Adams developed a lifelong friendship through their mutual love of the natural world. The exhibition brings together approximately 100 works from both artists which reveal and contrast the similarities and differences of their views of the environment.

San Francisco Public Library has recently acquired the catalog that accompanies this SFMOMA exhibition for its reference collection. Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities (New York: Little, Brown, and Co., 2008) has superb reproductions of paintings and photographs, as well as insightful essays on both artists. The book is located in the Art and Music Department of the Main Library and may be used inside the library.

In addition to this book, the library also owns a variety of titles on both artists that may be checked out.

Books on Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams, An Autobiography with Mary Street Alinder. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1985).

Ansel Adams: Letters and Images, 1916-1984, edited by Mary Street Alinder. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1988).

Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs by Ansel Adams. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1983).

Our National Parks by Ansel Adams. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1992).

The Portfolios of Ansel Adams edited by Tim Hill. (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1977).

This Is The American Earth by Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall. (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1960).

Yosemite And The Range of Light by Ansel Adams. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979).

Books on Georgia O’Keeffe

The Art & Life of Georgia O’Keeffe
by Jan Garden Castro. (New York: Crown, 1995).

Georgia O’Keeffe. (New York: Penguin Books, 1987).

Georgia O’Keeffe by Lisa Mintz Messinger. (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001).

Georgia O’Keeffe: An Eternal Spirit by Susan Wright. (New York: New Line Books, 2006).

Georgia O’Keeffe and the Calla Lily in American Art, 1860-1940 by Barbara Buhler Lynes. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).

Georgia O’Keeffe, Art and Letters by Jack Cowart and Juan Hamilton. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1987).

Georgia O’Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction
by Richard D. Marshall. (Italy: Skira, 2007).