Remembering Rosenbaum Folk Figure Art
An influential figure in the preservation of American folk and traditional music, artist, musician and scholar Art Rosenbaum died earlier this month (September 4) at the age of 83.
For over 50 years, Rosenbaum has traveled the United States recording blues music, fiddle tunes, and a wide range of other traditional music. His recordings have been published in The Art of Field Recording: 50 Years of Traditional American Music. Celebrated alongside the legendary work of folk figures such as Alan Lomax and Pete Seeger, the recordings unveiled hitherto untouched and under-examined realms of Americana, from lounge tunes and church hymns to songs of chained gangs and folk ballads.
The first volume in the collection won Rosenbaum a Grammy Award in 2008 for Best Historical Album. Watch a brief preview of the images below.
Rosenbaum’s work intimately captured the American folk landscape as he routinely recorded the singing traditions of migrant workers, music in religious practices, as well as the tune of passing folk and blues troubadours. He was among the few people to ever record the music of famed Chicago blues picker Scrapper Blackwell.
“My interest has always been in the older layers of lore, and not just because they’re interesting ties to the past,” Rosenbaum said. Georgia Music in a 2006 interview. “Whenever performed by the voices and hands of talented singers and musicians, they are not just artifacts of the past – they are a living, continuing art form… and very powerful.”