The Southern Folklife Collection (SFC), located in University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library, is an archive of southern folk music, oral tradition and popular culture. According to the website, the Southern Folklife Collection “is especially rich in materials documenting the emergence of old-time, country-western, hillbilly, bluegrass, blues, gospel, Cajun and zydeco musics.”  The collection contains music recordings, photographs, ephemera, periodicals, and manuscripts that document the history of these musical styles.

The “Field Trip South” blog highlights interesting aspects of the collection. Of major interest is the link to the SFC Streaming Radio.  The SFC Streaming Radio consists of six channels of music from the holdings of the SFC: North Carolina; Memphis; Jimmie Rodgers, The Father of Country Music; New Orleans; SFC Mix; and African-American Music.  The streams are periodically updated, and are culled from almost 200,000 recordings in the collection.

The SFC Streaming Radio is easy to use.

Recordings that just a few years ago could only be accessed by visiting Wilson Library are now available to musicians, scholars, music enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to experience some music they may never have heard before.

Using the streams is surprisingly easy, and requires little more than the click of the mouse.  Users simply choose their stream (seen at left), and start listening.  While listeners cannot choose specific artists and songs, it is easy to keep track of the music being played as song titles and artists are displayed through the media player (seen below).

SFC Streaming Radio is shown here in use with iTunes. It also works with Winamp media players.

The SFC Streaming Radio from UNC-Chapel Hill libraries is a fantastic resource for musicians studying these musical styles, and for those looking for inspiration from music that in some cases can’t be found anywhere else.

We’re adding this collection to our slowly growing list of resources for musicians and librarians serving musicians, along with the Library of Congress National Jukebox.  Does your library provide online music resources?  Have a favorite channel from the SFC radio?   We’d love to know!


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