Through blog posts, podcasts and videos presentations of public programs and concerts, you can learn more about the American Folklife Center's collections directly from folklorists, specialists, and performers.
Folklife Today is a blog for people interested in folklore, folklife, and oral history. The blog features brief articles on folklife topics, highlighting the unparalleled collections of the Library of Congress, especially the American Folklife Center and the Veterans History Project.
The highlighted blog posts below focus on the topic of “Hispanic Americans, Latinxs, and Latin America.”
Discover the treasures of the Library through its experts and special guests. Find full podcast series produced by the American Folklife Center by following the links below.
The selected podcasts below focus on the topic of Latinx and Latin American culture and traditions in the American Folklife Center collections.
Since its inception in 1976, the American Folklife Center has routinely hosted public programs at the Library of Congress in the form of concerts, lectures, panels, and symposia. From 2006 on, most of these public programs have been video recorded and made available online.
There are a number of playlists available on the YouTube page that gather videos from certain seasons of our Homegrown Concert series External or pull together various lectures as a sampler External of the types of topics covered. You can also simply search "folklife" on the YouTube page External to pull up hundreds of videos.
It is also possible to view entire series of American Folklife Center videos on the Library's website. Those links are provided below. Many (if not all) of the same videos can be found on the Library's YouTube channel.
A concert by Las Tesoros de San Antonio, a group of elder women performers who teamed up to preserve Mexican and bicultural musical expressions through their singing and storytelling. Through the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Janet "Perla Tapatia" Cortez, Beatriz "La Paloma del Norte" Llamas, Blanquita "Blanca Rosa" Rodriguez, and Rita "La Calandria" Vidaurri teamed up as the group Las Tesoros in the 2000s. Although Janet Cortez and Rita Vidaurri passed away in recent years, Llamas and Rodriguez continue to perform and maintain the legacy of the group. All four women grew up in the West Side of San Antonio, Texas and each singer, with her personal style and grace, forms part of this unique ensemble that represents the important sound of the Mexico/Texas border. They are inspired by and connected to many other important Tejana singers, including the great Lydia Mendoza (1982 NEA National Heritage Fellow) and the internationally renowned Eva Garza. (Event date: SSeptember 18, 2019)
The NEA National Heritage Fellowships is a lifetime achievement award and honor meant to "recognize the recipients' artistic excellence and support their continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage" (National Endowment for the Arts website).
Norma Cantú, professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio, presented this talk as part of the Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series sponsored by the American Folklife Center. The Quinceañera, the traditional coming-of-age celebration for Latinas, is an an elegant party on the girl's 15th birthday, highlighting God, family, friends, music, food and dance. Many questions emerge as one looks at this fascinating and complex rite of passage: what are its essential elements? What are its origins in indigenous Mexican tradition and in European tradition? What are the components that define it as a coming of age ritual? How does the performance of the feminine play out in the celebration? How do "border theory" and "mestizaje theory" apply to this particular event? In answering these and the more critical question--why would a family spend thousands of dollars to celebrate a birthday?--we can gain insight into the cultural practices of Latino communities. (Event date: November 08, 2006)