5-12-14, From Finland to Fulton to the Library of Congress: The Alan Lomax recordings of Gusti Simila
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Lecture by Hilary Virtanen

Thursday, May 15 7 p.m. at Finnish American Heritage Center

In the autumn of 1938, Fulton, (Keweenaw County), Michigan resident Gusti Simila performed a number of songs for Alan Lomax, who was collecting folksongs from across Michigan for preservation at the Archive of Folk Song in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Simila, an immigrant from Muhos, Finland, provided Lomax with an interesting selection of music, including a traditional lullaby from Finland, a song about working as a farm hand for a cruel family, and an interesting parody of the World War I era popular song, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” which described the true story of Finnish Americans in Corbin, Minnesota and their attempts to organize a consumer’s cooperative in the late 1910s. Join folklorist Hilary Virtanen, Assistant Professor of Finnish Studies at Finlandia University, as she discusses Simila’s songs, reuniting his descendants with the recordings, and learning about the his life through them.

This lecture is presented in celebration of the traveling exhibit, Michigan Folksong Legacy: Grand Discoveries from the Great Depression, which explores Lomax’s Michigan field recordings, and will be hosted on the campus of Finlandia University at the following sites:

Monday, May 12 - Friday, May 16: Finnish American Heritage Center Monday, May 19 - Monday, May 26: Sulo and Aileen Maki Library

These events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call (906) 487-7253.

These programs are made possible by support from Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; with additional support from the Michigan State University Museum and its Great Lakes Traditions Endowment; the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress; the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures at the University of Wisconsin; the Association for Cultural Equity; Finlandia University; and the Finlandia Foundation.