Roots to Routes: Conservation and Creolization in American Vernacular Music

picture of Nick Spitzer
November 12, 2009
All Day
Wexner Center Film Theater


Co-sponsored by CFS and the School of Music

Nick Spitzer, the producer and host of American Routes, is a folklorist and a professor of American studies and communication at Tulane University. Nick specializes in American music and the cultures of the Gulf South, and received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Texas in 1986 with a dissertation on zydeco music and Afro-French Louisiana. American Routes, which is distributed by American Public Media, reaches nearly a million listeners each week on over 225 stations and XM Satellite Radio. Nick's radio experience goes back to his undergraduate days in the 1970s, when he served first as program director of WXPN-FM at Penn in Philadelphia. Since then he has served as founding director of the Louisiana Folklife Program, Lousiana State Folklorist, senior folklife specialist at the Smithsonian Institution, artistic director for the Folk Masters concert/broadcasts from Carnegie Hall and Wolf Trap , and the Independence Day concerts broadcast live on NPR from the National Mall. Spitzer directed the film Zydeco: Creole Music and Culture in Rural Louisiana (1986), and has produced or annotated two dozen documentary sound recordings. Co-author of Blues for New Orleans: Mardi Gras and America's Creole Soul (2006), Nick has received the American Folklore Society's Benjamin Botkin Lifetime Award in Public Folklore, an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Excellence in Broadcasting Award, and the New Orleans Mayor's Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. In 2006 he was named Louisiana Humanist of the Year for cultural recovery efforts after the catastrophe. This event is the third and final presentation in the series RACE AND MEMORY IN AMERICAN VERNACULAR MUSIC, which also featured Patrick B. Mullen and Robert Cantwell. Nick Spitzer's presentation is supported by the Ohio Humanities Council.

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