Canberra musician Jenny Gall is the recipient of this year’s National Folk Fellowship, jointly offered by the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival.
The award follows a PhD in musicology for Dr Gall from the Australian National University. The research for the doctorate - exploring the wealth of women’s music in the National Library’s folklore sound archives – proved invaluable to her Fellowship project.
“The common perception of our folk music is masculine,” Dr Gall said.
“This is surprising when a major source of folk repertoire has been women, who often preserved and transformed the lineage of songs from another country into their own experience.”
The annual Fellowship – the sixth so far – includes a four-week Library residency with access to research facilities, collections and sound-recording studios, and culminates in a performance at the National Folk Festival, to be held in Canberra over the 2009 Easter weekend.
The Curator of Music at the National Library, Robyn Holmes, said the rich sources of women's musical traditions that the National Library's folklore collectors had recorded for over half a century were largely untapped by performers or scholars.
“Jenny Gall's Fellowship project will bring into public view a repertoire of songs, tunes and dances that have largely belonged to women only in the intimacy of the home,” she said.
The Folk Festival’s Artistic Director, Dave O’Neill, said Dr Gall’s project would allow the Festival to showcase the quality and depth of women’s music-making across many cultural traditions in Australia.