In 1899, a fundraising program for Berea College featured a group of students from the mountains of eastern Kentucky singing traditional songs from their homes. The audience was entranced. That small en-counter at the end of the last century lies near the beginning of an unparalleled national—and international—fascination with the indigenous music of a single state.
Kentucky has long figured prominently in our national sense of traditional music. Over the years, a diverse group of people—reformers, enthusiasts, the musically literate and the musically illiterate, radicals, liberals, a British gentleman and his woman companion, amateurs, local residents, and academics—have been sufficiently captivated by that music to have devoted considerable energy to harvesting it from its fertile ground, studying its various manifestations, and considering its many performers.
Kentucky Folkmusic: An Annotated Bibliography is a guide to the literature of this remarkable music. More than seven hundred entries, each with an evaluative annotation, comprise the largest bibliographic resource for the folkmusic of any state or region in North America. Divided into eight sections, the bibliography covers collections and anthologies; fieldworkers and scholars; singers, musicians, and other performers; text-centered studies; studies of history, context, and style; festivals; dance; and discographies, check-lists, and other reference tools. A subject index, an author index, and an index of periodicals provide access to the materials. From early hymnals and songsters to Kentucky performers of traditional music, the bibliography is a comprehensive guide to music which has for many years been one of the major emblems of American traditional music.