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The ballad of Alan and Auntie Beeb: Alan Lomax’s radio programmes for the BBC, 1943–1960

Autor: Andrew J. Bottomley
Revista: Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01439685.2015.1105513

The prominent US folk music field collector Alan Lomax (1915–2002) had a prolific but overlooked career in radio, including a close working relationship with the BBC during the 1940s and 1950s. Over the course of more than 100 episodes of radio programming, Lomax introduced the British listening public to American as well as English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other European folk music styles – popular music traditions associated primarily with the lower classes, and which had previously received little airplay on the BBC. This article argues that Lomax’s radio programmes were part of a concerted transnational cultural effort – both during the Second World War and into the post-war period – that sought to create a sense of shared culture between the US and the UK, with particular appeal for middle- and lower class audiences. Furthermore, this article suggests that Lomax’s radio productions had a lasting effect on British media and culture, influencing both the British folk music revival of the 1950s–1960s and the popular ‘radio ballad’ form.