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Geoffrey Clarfield

Geoffrey Clarfield is a musician, ethnomusicologist, and anthropologist, and a Toronto-based, freelance writer and long term Consultant for the Alan Lomax Archive at the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE) in Manhattan.

Big Drum Lives In Brooklyn!

John Szwed, author of the recent biography of the late Alan Lomax, subtitled his book “The Man Who Recorded the World.” During his lifetime, Alan recorded thousands of hours of traditional music in the American South, the Caribbean, and Europe, while at the same time copying, archiving, publishing, and presenting on vinyl, radio, and paper collections of folk music from around the world.

In Exile on Main Street

In August 2005 the worst hurricane to hit the United States in a hundred years devastated the city of New Orleans. Eventually, the levees that held back the sea broke, much of the city was flooded, and thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods.

EARLY MUSIC: That Other Music Revival

Today New York has a flourishing early-music scene, but just 60 years ago that was not the case.

AN AMERICAN REVIVALIST: Dom Flemons and the Return of the African-American String Band

During the height of the Depression, folklorist Alan Lomax persuaded his employers at the Library of Congress to send him across the South to collect folk music.

That High And Lonesome Himalayan Sound

I had hoped that during my travels in the far west of Nepal I would meet or hear minstrels, but for weeks I did not.

The Beautiful Weirdness of Javier Cohen

Tango has become so popular around the world that there is an ongoing tango club maintained by Turkish music and dance students in faraway Istanbul.

In Search of a Most Excellent Guitar

For years I had heard that Córdoba is a city filled with master guitar-makers and -players. Now here I was on a sunny winter morning, standing in the Plaza del Potro, the “potter’s plaza,” in old Córdoba, a place described by Cervantes in Don Quixote.

Canadian Cowboy: The Unfolding Story of Darcy Windover

Windover is a 40-something young man whom, when we first met, I thought was Albertan, or some sort of Western cowboy, which for me would have explained his musical proclivities—except that he is not. Darcy was born in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1977. If one sees country and Western music as largely the artistic expression of the English, Scots, and Irish who came to the Americas after Columbus, then Windover comes by his musical calling honestly.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues