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Traditional Music of Maine Project Collection

Identifier: MF039

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 37 cassette recordings of interviews (now digitized) with 44 individuals in addition to performances. Traditional Music of Maine celebrates the musical legacies of a variety of Maine folk communities by exploring their cultural and historical significance through oral history interviews with musicians and other community members. The tapes introduce the general public to the remarkable diversity and vitality of Maine's musical traditions.

Program themes included: Songs of the Maine Lumberwoods; Music of the Maine Grange; Swedish Music of Aroostook; Music of Maine’s Finnish Communities; Slavic Music of the Lower Kennebec; Acadian Music of the St. John Valley; Pioneers of Maine Country Music; and Songs of the Passamaquoddy. To date, no accessions have been specifically linked to the last three program themes. Topics discussed in the interviews include: life in lumber camps; working in the lumberwoods; working on river drives; transition from river driving to using trucks to haul logs; the Maine Grange; changing role of the Grange in Maine life; immigration; and the Swedish and Russian communities in Maine. Interviewees sing traditional songs; and play the harmonica; piano; concertina; mandolin; and other instruments.


  • Creation: 1987-1991

Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions on material.


34 items

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

Located at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: AFC 2012/047

Materials Specific Details

Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.

Collection Note

Field recordings made primarily by Jeffrey “Smokey” Mckeen for use in developing a series of radio programs devoted to traditional music in Maine. The radio series was for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and the project was funded by grants from the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Community Foundation. This series consists of eight half-hour programs documenting Maine's rich, traditional musical heritage.The programs were later packaged and released by the Maine Folklife Center as a series of four CDs entitled “Traditional Music of Maine, Vols. 1 - 4.”

Collector Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen is a "folklorist and musician, performing with the traditional music group Old Grey Goose for over 30 years. The group has toured extensively throughout Maine and New England, while more recently touring internationally in places all over the globe." (


Guide to the Traditional Music of Maine Project Collection
Digital Objects Available
Katrina Wynn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States