Sunday, 8 July 2007

A German gift to American roots music

Laurie Lewis spent Independence Day celebrating the 76th birthday of Chris Strachwitz, founder of the Californian Arhoolie Records company. Laurie remarks in her latest newsletter:

It's fitting that Chris celebrates his birthday on the same day as Uncle Sam. For one thing, Chris's life is a study in independence, and for another, this German immigrant has done as much as any living person to preserve and promote American traditional music of all stripes.

Christian Strachwitz was born in 1931 in Groß Reichenau, Lower Silesia, Germany (now Bogaczów, Poland), emigrated to the United States in 1947, and founded Arhoolie in 1960. The label's catalogue includes blues, cajun, zydeco, gospel, jazz, tejano, world music, and old-time and bluegrass artists such as Del McCoury, Vern & Ray, Rose Maddox, J. E. Mainer, and Snuffy Jenkins.