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SouthTalks: 'The Southern Music Research Center'

Lectures: 'Introducing the Southern Music Research Center' presented by Burgin Mathews


Earlier this year, the nonprofit Southern Music Research Center (SMRC) launched its online archive: a searchable public repository of rare photos, rescued recordings, oral history interviews, and ephemera reflecting a deep diversity of music communities, expressions, and experiences across the American South. In this talk, SMRC director Burgin Mathews will offer a virtual tour of the archive’s initial holdings, exploring images from Birmingham, Alabama’s influential but unsung jazz history; lost-and-found tapes from Mississippi hymn singings; a cache of southern punk flyers; recordings, photos, and film from historic, music-rich Beech Mountain, North Carolina; and more. The talk will conclude with a preview of major projects and collections currently underway by the organization and details about how the broader public can get involved in documenting their own local music histories.

Burgin Mathews is founding director of the Southern Music Research Center, host of The Lost Child roots music radio show, and author of the forthcoming Magic City: How the Birmingham Jazz Tradition Shaped the Sound of America.

SouthTalks is a series of events (including lectures, performances, film screenings, and panel discussions) that explores the interdisciplinary nature of Southern Studies. This series is free and open to the public, and typically takes place in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory unless otherwise noted. Visit for current information about all Center events. During the 2023–24 academic year, the programming theme is “Creativity in the South.”

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