Hello fellow history buffs; usually I talk about places in this blog, but today, I'd like to talk about sounds and technology of the past. I've often mentioned events where such well-known musical groups as the Piney Hollow Drifters can be heard playing interesting music from the past, and also Albert Hall, one of my favorite places to hear music from the recent past (old rock and roll) as well as the distant past, as in the band that plays Civil War music, but in this blog, I'd want to talk about a project my daughter, Lavinia Jones Wright, has been working on for over a year with a friend and film-maker Alex Steyermark.
I'm a believer that sometimes old technology makes more sense and offers more freedom than newer replacement technology. I have an ipod that I never fill with new music because I can't remember how it works and there are too many steps. That wasn't the case with cassette players - easy to figure out and easy to use, lots of people made a swapped mix tapes, but so many old tehcnologies now defunct due to not being able to get new supplies.
The Presto, is an example of an old technology providing an immediate product from an immediate experience. Lavinia and Alex record directly from a performance onto an acetate record - no over-dubs or extraneous manipulation, just pure simple live music to record.
The Presto is an 80 year old device that was used by famous music collector and tireless saviour of our musical cultural history, Alan Lomax. He could go straight into the fields, the chapels, the halls and record direct from the event to the acetate record back in the 1930's.
Today, Lavinia and Alex use the Presto to record contemporary musicians with deep roots in our musical past and while they record, (lavinia takes care of the Presto) they film (Alex does the camera work).
Next they will take their footage and turn it into a documentary film.
To read more about this project check out this link to a column at the Village Voice
And if you want to help them make the movie, go to their home page.
They are using a grass-roots fund raising process called 'kickstarter' rather than relying on big money backers. so go to the kickstarter link on the right hand side of their home-page and you can help make this movie. I did it a few days ago and it is simple, especially if you have an Amazon account. Thanks! Jo Ann