John Lomax, who worked for the library of congress called himself a “ballad hunter” he and his son, Alan, drove all across America and made literally thousands of recordings. They were doing one of the most important things anyone could do: they were preserving the past, before it disappeared forever.
Martin Scorcese in THE BLUES
All American music Historians, and everybody, that is interested in traditional, folk music should be grateful, to Lomax for his pursuit of songs all over the U.S.A. In the late 1930´s.
Portugal too had a great “ballad hunter” of It´s own. And with him also a debt of gratitude that words can´t express enough.
His name was Michel Giacometti and he was Corsican and from the late 1960´s to about 1980´s this great man could be seen traveling, across Portugal visiting the more rural areas always searching for those songs that only the old timers knew. If Giacometti didn´t had the courage and the entrepreneur spirit that was part of his character I´m pretty sure that a lot of the Portuguese traditional folk songs would be forever forgotten. He fell in love with Portugal especially with Alentejo where he could be seen always carrying a microphone and a tape recorder. Michel Giacometti left a legacy of incredible richness behind him just like John Lomax did, and these few words are my homage to this great man this “foreigner” that loved red wine and the simple spirit of the Alentejo song.
Alentejo -Povo que canta não pode morrer/Alentejo -A people that sings cannot die