We are writing today to ask that you help us keep the faith with the music we have loved the most and for the longest here in New England. Folk music is comfort music; it is a set of loving grandparents who welcome us at the doorstep and can still get up and cut a rug when the fiddles sing and the banjos ring. Yet at the same time, it is music that tells the truth about our imperfect world that gives us hope that things can change for the better–because they have, before– and calls us to action to pick up the strongest of the old dreams and carry them on. The only reason we have this music and these traditions is that previous generations saved them for us as a living legacy. Now, it is our turn to see to it that this inheritance is passed along into the future.
Folk New England collects traditional music and protects it for posterity. We are a growing library of song and a safe collective musical attic. We have collected hundreds of tapes from coffeehouse performances and house parties, songs and photographs from folk festivals, dances, and concerts, posters, rare vinyl records, and treasured spoken remembrances in print, audio tape, and videos. Technology has granted us potent new tools in preservation, but time is of the essence as much of this material is subject to the vagaries of events, the deterioration of tape and paper, and the loss of memory as the most senior of our fellow-travelers age and begin to pass on.
If we could preserve all these artifacts and share them with you simply by pressing “save” and “send,” we would do so in a heartbeat. But it takes an investment in care, professional archiving, and the building of an electronic data vault to protect and then pass along the hours of brittle tapes, rare records, photographs, and first hand memories of the music that are the foundation of our regional culture. For a minuscule fraction of what is spent in New England each month on shoot-’em-up videos, we can fill a community cyber-trunk with hundreds of years’ worth of sea shanties, blues, lullabies, folk hymns, ballads, reels, chants, and songs and secure them in forms that will endure for generations–and that you can have access to.
If you love all good folk songs, if, in your time, you have delighted in the magic of the music, and if, like us, you think that folk music is among the very best of the legacies we can leave our children and grandchildren in a confusing and an often uncaring world then we hope that you will consider a generous membership contribution to Folk New England today, and join with us in carrying these traditions on into the future.
Thank you for your consideration and best wishes from all of us for a bountiful holiday season.
Founder, Folk New England
16 Griswold St
Cambridge, MA 02138