Bess Lomax Hawes, 1921-2009

Ken Bloom
Ken Bloom
@ken-bloom
13 years ago
14 posts
I had the privilege of getting to know Bess and her son Nick at the Idyllwild Music Camp in California in the early 60's. I was brand new to to traditional music, having come froma Jazz and classicla background. She was a very wonderful and giving person. Her warmth is what really stands out in my mind, both in her performances and just talking with her. Seems like way too many of these pivotal figures have now left us. I would see Nick around LA more than Bess but it was a true gift to have known her.Ken Bloom http://www.boweddulcimer.com
razyn
@razyn
13 years ago
40 posts
Well, not so much a span of years, but a cast of characters -- and they got off the ground in the late 1930s. Almanac Singers (Bess was one), Weavers... Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, et al. A few influential regional festivals (such as White Top, and the one Jean Thomas traipsed around) were begun a little earlier than the public careers of these New Yorkish types -- but they didn't really cause any national movement, that I can see. Since actual folk music was alive and well in the 1930s, it didn't need to be revived; but The Folksong Revival was a national pop culture phenomenon -- and those take something like air time on the (radio) networks, coverage in the major print media, and all that.What did Allen Smith say ("Pre-Revival Dulcimers")?
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
13 years ago
2,018 posts
Thanks for this, Dick. Folks on the Ballad-L list have been saying over the past several months that 2009 was a particularly painful year in terms of losing many people who helped keep traditional folksong alive and well.Just curious- what span of years would you personally feel to be the "original folksong revival"?


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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
razyn
@razyn
13 years ago
40 posts
I was on the road around the end of November, and didn't catch up with the news very well when I got home. I had missed the fact that another former colleague, who was one of the last surviving members of the original "folksong revival" cast, had passed away. I've looked at several of her obituaries, on Mudcat, and I think this one from the Huffington Post is the most complete and sensitive: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/bess-lomax-hawes-1921-200_b_373423.html Almost all of my dealings with Bess had to do with NEA Folk Arts grants (applying for them, accounting for them, reviewing others' applications for them, etc.). But I knew her earlier, when she was still teaching at Cal State Northridge; and the last time I ran into her, we were in the produce section of a Safeway -- we lived in the same Arlington neighborhood after she retired. She was a fine person -- not as well known as her flamboyant brother Alan Lomax, but having many of the same gifts and credentials -- in conjunction with an open, pleasant personality.
updated by @razyn: 06/09/16 08:21:50PM