French translation of Bill Ferris’ ‘Give My Poor Heart Ease’ book wins prestigious prize

The French translation of UNC historian William Ferris’ book, Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, has won a prestigious prize from Académie Charles Cros in the world music book category.

Ferris is the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. He is the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Les Voix du Mississippi (Editions Papa Guédé), the French translation, received the Coup de Coeur de l’Académie Charles Cros Musiques du Monde for Ferris and publisher Benjamin Daussy. The Charles Cros Academy is an organization that acts as an intermediary between government cultural policy makers and professionals in the music and recording industries. It was named for Charles Cros, one of the pioneers of sound recording.

The Academy is probably best known for the grand prize it has given out every year since 1948, the Grand Prix du Disque, the premier French award for musical recordings.

Give My Poor Heart Ease was originally published by UNC Press in 2009. Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, folklorist Ferris toured his home state of Mississippi, documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the blues. B.B. King, Willie Dixon and other artists’ stories are told through personal reflections and Ferris’ photographs, audio and video via a companion DVD and CD. In an autobiographical introduction, Ferris reflects on how he fell in love with the vibrant musical culture that was all around him, but was considered off limits to a white Mississippian during a troubled era.

Vincent Joos and CSAS exhibit paintings by Haitian/Mount Olive artists Obin and Dumé

Haiti and the American South have a long, although under-emphasized, history of connection.  The link with our state has become stronger in recent years as more than three thousand Haitian immigrants have settled in Mount Olive, NC.  Vincent Joos (Folklore MA 2011, currently a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UNC) is engaged in research with this community, which includes two remarkable traditional artists, Michel Obin and Faustin Dumé.  Vincent has worked with the Center for the Study of the American South to mount an exhibit of the artists’ work.  “From Haiti to Mt. Olive” is on view at the Center this Spring.

Ali Colleen Neff, Voicing the Domestic: Senegalese Sufi Women’s Musical Practice, Feminine Interior Worlds, and Possibilities for Ethnographic Listening, in Collaborative Anthropologies

Congratulations to Folklore alumna Ali Colleen Neff, who just published: Voicing the Domestic: Senegalese Sufi Women’s Musical Practice, Feminine Interior Worlds, and Possibilities for Ethnographic Listening, in Collaborative Anthropologies, Volume 6, 2013, pp. 73-102.

This link will take you to an excerpt.  Unfortunately, UNC Libraries currently does not have a subscription to Collaborative Anthropologies, but you should be able to get the full article through interlibrary loan.