ATHENS, GA (CelebrityAccess) — Art Rosenbaum, a painter, folk musician and ethnomusicologist noted for more than half a century of field recordings of traditional American music, had died. He was 83.
His son, Neil Rosenbaum, told the New York Times that Rosenbaum died on September 4th from complications of cancer at a hospital in Athens, Georgia.
Inspired by Musicologists such as Alan Lomax and transfixed by Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, Rosenbaum was drawn to traditional music at an early age.
A New York native, and raised in Indianapolis, Rosenbaum taught himself to play the banjo, eventually becoming a pre-eminent expert on traditional playstyles and tunings for the instrument and went on to record several albums of his own.
He relocated to New York City in the mid 1950s and attended Columbia University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in art history and a master’s degree in fine arts.
In the summer, he worked at a resort near Lake Michigan, where he began making his first field recordings, including Scrapper Blackwell, a noted blues guitarist who recorded during the 1920s and 1930s.
In 1976, Rosenbaum accepted a teaching job at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, allowing him to focus on identifying and recording traditional artists and performers in the region such as such as the McIntosh County Shouters, an African American group who kept the tradition of the ‘ring shout’ alive.
Rosenbaum was also a noted painter whose work has been featured on album covers by artists such as The Talking Heads and R.E.M.
Rosenbaum is survived by his wife and longtime artist collaborator Margo Newmark.