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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Folk Music Archives?
A: Folk Music Archives is recording and interviewing folk music artists in an effort to document their life's work.

Is this a commercial or non-profit project?
A: Folk Music Archives is not a commercial project. It's single goal is to record, document and preserve the historical importance of all folk artists by providing a platform to tell their stories.

Does Folk Music Archives do other projects?
A: No. Folk Music Archives only purpose is to interview and record in collaboration with the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. All recording are made part of the permanent collection of the Center.

Why are the interviews recorded by Folk Music Archives different than commercial interviews or other programs aired on radio or television?
A: Since the interviews are recorded for archival preservation, there is no limitation to interview length or constraint of broadcast deadlines. There is also no limitation as to subject content, therefore the folk artist or group can speak candidly about the entire embodiment of their life's work. Interviews do not have to be "packaged" or shortened as is done for commercial and public broadcast media. 

How is Folk Music Archives funded?
A: At the present time it is self-funded. This has not limited the recording of folk artists to date , but self-funding cannot sustain the  long range goals and objectives of Folk Music Archives. Funding is an immediate priority.

Can funding support be earmarked to a specific need?
A. Yes. The "Funding" page lists those areas where funding is needed.

How can I inquire about funding a project or notify Folk Music Archives about a funding source?
A.  There is a FORM on the funding page.

How did Folk Music Archives begin?
Frank Shane has known and performed with folk musicians since the early 60's in Greenwich Village - his group played at The Bitter End and other Village coffee houses. In 1999 a public radio station asked him to interview Pete Seeger and The Kingston Trio. With a career in radio broadcasting and a love for folk music and the folk tradition, he agreed. As Shane put it: "Pete was gracious to invite me to his cabin for a three hour interview - - The Kingston Trio did interviews in San Antonio, Texas, and John Stewart flew to New York City. from his home in California."  According to Shane, "I couldn't compromise the historical importance of the interviews for the sake of allowing them to be chopped into "sound bytes" all packed  into 57-minutes, including, news, weather, commercials, promo's, station I.D.'s, songs, music intro's and credits." The solution: Folk Music Archives.

Do the folk artists structure or edit the interview?
A: This has never become an issue.  Each interview is unique and there is no pre-set "formula." The structure is determined by the amount of archival research and the need to get an in depth and meaningful interview which is historically correct. The artist understands that the interview is being done for historical archive and not for promotion or commercial gain.  

Why do artists agree to be interviewed in such a candid way?
There is no hidden agenda or concealed motive. For many artists this is the first time they have been given the opportunity to be interviewed solely for the importance of their artistic work. Also, many are at a point in their life and careers where they realize that this is the opportunity to be interviewed in a non-commercial and non-promotional way. 

Is there a time limit for each interview?
A: No. Each interview is different. Each must be complete and historically accurate.  Interviews are scheduled to meet that objective. Groups are interviewed as a "group" and then member individually. For example, Peter Yarrow, Noel "Paul" Stookey and Mary Travers were interviewed together in New York City. Individual interviews were recorded in their homes: Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York City.  

Does Folk Music Archives just interview folk artists?
A: No. Folk Music Archives has interviewed C.F. Martin Guitar, venues, authors, biographers, archivists, museum directors, record companies, producers, managers, comedians . . .   

What is the partnership between Folk Music Archives and the Library of Congress American Folklife Center?
A: The recorded interviews become part of the permanent collection of the American Folklife Center. The Center as a repository makes it possible for the public to obtain the interviews, transcripts or digital computer voice database of each artist or group. The partnership agreement protects from copyright infringement and ensures that the material is used appropriately.

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