Mudcat Café message #2775820 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #125356   Message #2775820
Posted By: Stringsinger
28-Nov-09 - 07:15 PM
Thread Name: Obit: Bess Lomax Hawes 1921-2009)
Subject: RE: Obit: Bess Lomax Hawes (Nov. 28, 2009)
Bess Hawes did more for the preservation and enhancement of folk music than many people realize. She didn't get all the credit she was due. She may have been the first person to do group classes in folk music in the country with guitars, banjos, autoharps, fiddles etc. If it wasn't for her inspiration, there would not be the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago today. She was remarkable in her duties as the head of the Folklore Division of the NEA.

She has written some important books on folk music. "Step It Down" with Bessie Jones and the singing of the Georgia Sea Islands is one of them. It's too bad people didn't get
to know this lady. She was smart, well-educated, compassionate and deeply involved with folk music and the singers and players. If it weren't for the Lomaxes there would have never been a folk revival in the US. She had a broad background in music and brought to her career a breadth of sophistication that enabled her to determine the value of indigenous music and culture. She was a key element in the revival and preservation of American folk music. I wish more people could have known about what she did.

I was fortunate to sit at her feet observing her folk music group classes and watching an unusual and unique teaching approach to music unfold. When I left for Chicago, I brought what Bess had taught with me. It was the foundation of what the Old Town School of Folk Music is today. Her legacy lives on through many people who were privileged to know and appreciate her good work.

Frank Hamilton