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Cultural Conservation and the Tradition of Media Documentation

During fieldwork in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in 1986 I met an elderly French musician at his home in Sault Ste. Marie. After explaining my role as a Smithsonian folklorist looking for representatives of traditional culture, our talk turned to fiddling. The initially shy man began to beam, and I expected him to open a nearby instrument case and play. Instead, he turned on the VCR, and together we sat to watch him fiddling, surrounded on screen by children and grandchildren. One of them had thought to video tape "paw-paw's" music on his most recent birthday.

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