This accession documents the production of "The Mississippi: River of Song." This project combined a television series, radio series, and compact disc (CD) set. The project as a whole explores the richness and vitality of American music at the close of the twentieth century through live performances and intimate discussions with musicians along the course of the Mississippi River.
The 4-part television series aired on the Public Broadcasting Service beginning in January 1999. Episodes include "Americans Old and New," "Midwestern Crossroads," "Southern Fusion," and "Louisiana, Where Music is King." The series takes viewers on a musical journey from the headwaters in northern Minnesota to the river's mouth in the Gulf of Mexico, creating a portrait of the American musician along the way. All scenes were shot live on location and feature musicians that represent the regional culture.
The 7-part radio series aired on Public Radio International affiliates beginning in January 1999. The radio series is similar in content to the television series and is hosted by Ani DiFranco. Episodes include "Land of Lakes and Cultures;" "Midwestern Crossroads," "Sounds Around Saint Louis," "Memphis Rhythm and Delta Blues," "Rockin' Round the Water," "Musical Bayous and Traditional Melodies," and "The Beat of New Orleans."
The 2-CD set consists of 36 tracks of live recordings from 1995 through 1997 and is subtitled "A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi." The CDs feature contemporary musicians who have forged their styles out of the rich musical heritage found along the banks of the Mississippi River. The CDs were distributed through Smithsonian Folkways beginning in 1998.
Materials in this accession include original film negatives and audio and video originals, masters, safety copies, and transfers of performances, interviews, and scenery. Also included are interview transcripts, logs, databases, tape lists, and other documentation of the audiovisual elements. Some materials are in electronic format.