DECEMBER 20, 2009
Listen to a sampling of the more than 3,000 field recordings preserved in the John Donald Robb Archive at the University of New Mexico's Center for Southwest Research on an interactive website at New Mexico PBS. The award-winning website also features a documentary that highlights the life of John Donald Robb.
Kelly Kowalski and Jason Skinner won a Rocky Mountain Emmy for the website, anchored by "The Musical Adventures of John Donald Robb in New Mexico," the 30-minute documentary.
John Donald Robb loved and composed all kinds of music, but his passion for the songs of everyday folk is what he is remembered for most. Roaming the countryside of the Southwest during the ‘40s and ‘50s, Robb recorded and transcribed more than 3,000 Hispano folk songs, the largest collection of its time. Part biographical sketch of this adventurous musician and part modern-day exploration with ethnomusicologists and folklorists following in his footsteps, this 30-minute documentary revives and celebrates New Mexico’s disappearing folk music traditions.
The documentary received major funding from Sanford N. McDonnell Foundation, New Mexico Arts, a division of the Office of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Under Ted A. Garcia, former general manager of PBS affiliate KNME-TV-5 (now known as New Mexico PBS), the program was produced and directed by Kelly Kowalski, edited by David Leach, with videography by Robert McDermott and Paige Thomas. The DVD is available ($24.95) by calling New Mexico PBS at 1.800.328.5663.