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James B. Wright Collection of Southwestern Native American and Hispanic Music, Interviews and Literary Programs

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-829-BC

Scope and Content

Corrales Musical, 1893 (Box 3, Folder 1)

James B. Wright collected a variety of sound recordings reflecting the vocal and instrumental music, literature, folklore and culture of New Mexico and the Southwest in the 1970s and 1980s. He recorded events in Albuquerque, Corrales, Mescalero, Truth or Consequences, La Joya, Tortugas and Tsaile. He captured Native American pow wow drummers and dancers, Native poets, singers, Indian activists and elders who were interviewed during these times. The collection contains discussions of Native American local history, customs, prayers and creation beliefs. The recordings also document views of Native Americans about Christianity, child raising, culture and language preservation, the Custer battle, Wounded Knee, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Navajo Long Walk, the Hopi Navajo Land Dispute, conditions for Native Americans in Gallup, the importance of the Navajo Community College and the Institute of American Indian Art (Santa Fe), the student movement, Native views of the 1976 Bicentennial, the Vietnam War, the U.S. military, tips on surviving in the White world and other issues affecting them. Performers gave their rendition of popular music of the time and writers discussed Southwestern literary pieces, the poet’s place in the region and nation, and problems of writing and publishing. Navajo Indians as well as the Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, the Pueblos Indians, and Zuni Pueblo in particular, the Hopi and the Kiowa of Oklahoma are represented in the collection. Performers include Harold Littlebird, Leonard Bird, Philip Casadore, Joy Harjo, Milford Nahohai, Carol Merril, Simon J. Oritz, Floyd Westerman and Carl Gorman.

The collection also contains recordings of work by Southwest Hispanic, Mexican American and Chicano singers, poets, and writers, in Spanish and English, from the Sol y Sangre series held at the University of New Mexico and at the Los Griegos Community Center. Views and comments by professors and students pertain to the meaning of being Hispano, Chicano, and New Mexican, on Aztlán, women writers, life in the barrio, La Llorona, political poetry, the Chicano Movement, LULAC, the Vietnam War, the Bicentennial, the United Farm Workers Union and the influence of American society on Hispanic and Chicano culture, life and literature. Literary figures include José Armas, Angela de Hoyos, Naphtali de Leon, Francisco A. Lomeli, Jose Montoya, Orlando Romero, Leroy Quintana, E. A. Mares, Sergio Elizondo and Jaime Chavez. Some of the Native Americans also performed at the Sol y Sangre events.

The collection also includes a demonstration on singing and playing Southwest folk music; recordings of traditional Spanish folk songs; interviews with New Mexico Hispanic women about their lives in the early half of the 20th century and at the San Felipe de Neri Church parish; the Christmas plays of Las Posadas and Los Pastores, and Matachines dances and music from the Hispanic Tortuga Indians of southern New Mexico. There is also a performance by the UNM Early Music Ensemble of Medieval Spanish music from the 1300s – 1600s and songs from the various regions of Spain; a Catholic Church Spanish mass and fiesta music from La Joya, New Mexico, and songs from the San Ignacio Fiesta in Albuquerque. Other highlights are a recorded lecture by John Donald Robb explaining how he used his collection of New Mexico folk music in his own compositions; a musical drama about the history of Corrales, New Mexico; old time country fiddle, cowboy and ragtime songs and background stories by Steve Cormier; and Southeast Asian music from Laos performed by members of the Laotian community of Albuquerque.

Programs, flyers and notes from a few of these performances are in Box 3.

Dates

  • 1973-1986

Language of Materials

English Spanish Navajo Laotian

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Copyrights held by the performers, interviewees, poets and composers. Duplication of recordings permitted only with written permission from artist, performer, interviewer and interviewee, tribal authority, or current holder of intellectual property rights. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws.

Biography / History

James B. Wright, May 5, 2004

In the 1970s and 1980s James Wright was an influential figure in the continuation and organization of the Archive of Southwestern Music in the Fine Arts Library at UNM. The beginning and core of the Archive were the folk music recordings, compositions and papers that John Donald Robb had donated to the UNM Fine Arts Library upon his retirement in 1957. The Archive of Southwestern Music, by name, was actually established in 1964 by Donald L. Roberts to preserve Robb’s collection, gather additional material and thereby preserve the musical heritage of New Mexico and the Southwest. Roberts was the Head of the Fine Arts Library and the Southwest Archive’s first part - time unfunded director. In September 1971 James Wright joined UNM as the Assistant Fine Arts Librarian. Wright received his Bachelors of Music Education and Masters of Library Science from the University of Oregon. He had been a public school music teacher in Oregon.

Once at UNM, Wright recognized the importance of the Archive of Southwestern Music. He and another music librarian, Charlemaud Curtis, began collecting more field recordings in the early 1970s, using a Nagra recorder and later a R-DAT device as the technology advanced. Wright saw the need for a full time archivist for the UNM Archive of Southwestern Music and for funds to cover traveling, recording and processing. In 1981, at a ceremony held in Keller Hall, UNM celebrated the renaming of the Archive of Southwestern Music in honor of John Donald Robb. Wright was given the title of Director of the Robb Archive of Southwestern Music and Charlemaud Curtis became the Associate Director of the Robb Archive, but no funding was included. Wright and Curtis continued to make recordings. They were the last to do field work for the Archive. Wright taped the rich variety of local Southwestern cultural events portrayed in this collection. (See also Charlemaud Curtis Collection) Additionally, during his time at UNM, Wright taught courses on the Music of the Southwest.

The John Donald Robb Musical Trust was established in 1989 to disseminate Robb's own body of music. The Robb Archive collections were transferred from the Fine Arts Library to the Center for Southwest Research in the early 1990s.

Extent

3 boxes (.66 cu. ft)

Abstract

This broad collection contains traditional Southwestern Native American and Hispanic folk music, and popular music, dances, poetry readings and interviews collected in the 1970s and 1980s. Also included are Spanish medieval music, a Belen Los Pastores presentation, Matachines music from Tortugas, a Corrales history pageant, Anglo American country western songs and fiddle tunes, Laotian songs from Albuquerque, and a lecture by John Donald Robb.

Related Material

Alan Paine Radebaugh Collection of Country Western Music and Interviews Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico John Donald Robb Field Recordings Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Enrique Lamadrid Collection of Folk Songs, Oral Histories and Photographic Projects Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Jenny Wells Vincent Recordings Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico James S. Griffith New Mexican Popular Music Collection Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Frank V. Mares and Bruna Valencia Mares "No Hay Cosa Como La Madre" recording and associated material Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico S. Lucero and Lora L. Chavez Collection of New Mexico Hispanic Religious and Traditional Songs Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Roberto Martinez Collection of New Mexican and Mexican Music Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Tim Greer Collection of Hispanic Catholic Church Music of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Consuelo Luz Entriega Collection Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Richard B. Stark Collection of New Mexico Religious Songs Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Florence Hawley Ellis and Donovan Senter Collection of Hispanic, Isleta, and Laguna Songs Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Indian Music of the Southwest and Mexico Collection Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Association Sound Recordings of the 44th Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Mary Louise Perrine Recordings of Navajo Chants, Songs and Prayers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Antonio Garcia Collection of Native American Music of New Mexico and Mexico Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Donald L. Roberts Collection of Music of the Southwest and Mexico Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Odd S. Halseth Collection of Native American Social Songs and Interviews Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Manuel Archuleta collection of Pueblo Indian, Navajo and Hopi music Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Peter White Collection of New Mexico Fiddle Music Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie Collection of Northern New Mexico Hispanic Music, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Charlemaud Curtis Collection of Southwestern Music, Interviews and Programs Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Original reels and master CDs housed in B3.

Processing Information

There is no CD 3.
Title
Finding Aid of the James B. Wright Collection of Southwestern Native American and Hispanic Music, Interviews and Literary Programs, 1973-1986
Status
Edited Full Draft
Author
Nancy Brown-Martinez and Andrew Saletta
Date
© 2010
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Sponsor
Funding provided by: John Donald Robb Musical Trust

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
505-277-6451