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Musician and ethnomusicologist Stephen Wade first listened to the Library of Congress Field Recordings — gathered by John and Alan Lomax, starting in the 1930s — at the urging of an instructor who was teaching him to play the five-string banjo. Curious about the songs on the recordings and how they were originally played, Wade started hunting down some of those musicians (or their survivors). His forays resulted in the book The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, a twenty-year project that left him sharing both lifelong friendships with his subjects and a series of their untold stories with the public. The engaging Wade will per-form and talk about the book tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Imig Music Building on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus.

“What really makes his book a masterpiece is that it explores the stories of the people from whom the songs were collected and their fame and fate,” says Thomas Riis of CU’s American Music Research Center. “The music of Mozart is great even if you don’t know a thing about his life, but it is much more engaging when we get the biography.”

In Denver, audiences can also catch Wade at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12, at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Both events are free; visit colorado.edu/music or portfolio.du.edu/lamontworldmusic for details.
Mon., Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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