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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 documenting Norwegian expressive culture in Norway and the United States represent the diversity of Norwegian culture. These include sound recordings, photographs, and other documentation of music, songs, humor, celebrations, traditional arts and crafts. Examples include Norwegian music recorded in Wisconsin by Robert F. Draves and Helene Stratman-Thomas in 1941; six Norwegian songs sung by Alf Nilsson, recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell in California in 1939 (in California Gold: WPA California Folk Music from the Thirties); and recordings of Jørgen Hyland playing the hardanger fiddle and talking about his life experiences in the American Folklife Center's Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection. This collection also includes examples of Norwegian needlework, wood carving, and rosemaling (decorative painting).
The Chicago Ethnic Arts Project survey was conducted in 1977 by the American Folklife Center at the request of the Illinois Arts Council to assess and document the status of ethnic art traditions in more than twenty ethnic communities in Chicago, and was jointly sponsored by both organizations. The collection includes documentation of Norwegian music, textile arts, woodcarving and other arts together with interviews with the artists.
The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.
A tour of Norwegian and Swedish fiddle styles with Andrea Hoag (violin) and Loretta Kelley (violin & Hardingfele/Hardanger fiddle). Andrea Hoag and Loretta Kelley are among the United States' foremost performers of Scandinavian traditional music. Each of them has spent years studying with tradition-bearers in Scandinavia, and honing their own techniques at home. (Event Date: February 18, 2015)