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The collections held by the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress comprise cultural documentation of folk and traditional culture from six continents, every U.S. state and territory, and the District of Columbia. Additionally, AFC staff maintain reference resources that provide descriptive access to our collections; create digital publications such as blogs or podcasts that offer interpretation and context for our collections; and produce public programming that augments collection materials.
These geographic guides offer entry points into the above resources, and draw on the collective knowledge and expertise of the AFC staff.
American Folklife Center collections from India document the diversity of its expressive culture in India and the United States. Among its unique collections are the John W. Moyer collection documenting music and dance in Dharmasala, Assam and various other locations in India; the "All India" radio transcription discs of folksongs from Tiruchchirāppalli, Tamil Nadu, made in 1956; ethnographic documentation by folklorist Frank J. Korom made in Uttar Prades and West Bengal; and documentation of epics, songs, riddles, and proberbs in Tamil Nadu by Brenda Beck.
Public programs at the Library of Congress sponsored by the American Folklife Center related to India and Indian Americans have included concerts and lectures highlighting music, dance, arts, and culture.
The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.
Concert of Baul music native to the the Indian state of Bengal. Bauls are known for devotional songs that honor the divine within. There are about 2.500 Bauls in Bengal. Their philosophy rejects divisions of caste, creed and religion, and believes in self-searching. Their sung poetry has inspired everyone from Rabindranath Tagore to Bob Dylan and, in 2008, was inscribed in UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This performance features Girish Khyapa, Rabi Das Baul, Arpan Thakur Chakraborty and Manas Acharya, all of whom sing and play traditional strings and drums. It also features Mamoni Chitrakar, who performs "pater gaan," traditional songs sung while unfurling colorful paintings that depict the stories narrated in the songs. (Event date: June 29, 2018)