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Melvin Kranzberg Papers, 1934-1988, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
The Paredon Records audiorecordings consist of all 50 of the recordings released by Paredon, along with the master audiotapes. Many of the recordings have a file containing business records relating to their production. These business records include artist contracts, recording reports, various notes on records produced, photographs of artists, news articles both about and by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber, and Paredon Records, correspondence by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber and Paredon Records, and other miscellany. Many contracts are signed by both Paredon Records and the artist. Correspondence is primarily between business associates. A complete inventory of the business records is available.
Scope and Contents:
There are two main components of the Paredon Records audiorecordings: the master recordings and corresponding commercial records themselves and the paper files relating to these recordings.
Series 1: Papers is primarily made up of "production files"--files containing materials related to specific albums. These production files can include artist contracts, recording reports, photographs of artists, clippings, royalty statements, licenses, album cover proofs, and correspondence between Paredon Records and the recording artists. news articles both about and by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber, and Paredon Records. Many contracts are signed by both Paredon Records and the artist. Also included in this series are articles by Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber, a transcript of Daniel Sheehy's oral history interview with Barbara Dane, as well as miscellaneous ephemera.
Series 2: Master Audiorecordings includes all Paredon master tapes. Their corresponding commercial recordings are not described in this finding aid.
Series 1: Papers (1970-2007, bulk 1970-1980)
Series 2: Master Audiorecordings (1969-1985, bulk 1970-1980)
Biographical / Historical:
Paredon Records was founded in 1969 in New York by Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber, and its first recordings were released in 1970. Paredon released four records at a time. Barbara Dane, a singer/songwriter herself, produced the albums and recruited the musicians, artists who worked on the covers, and volunteers who translated foreign language material and contributed stories for the record booklets. Irwin Silber, a writer and editor for The Guardian newspaper, assisted Dane in all aspects of production. Irwin worked on business aspects of the label, such as distribution, orders, and editing and printing the record supplemental materials. Dane and Silber traveled to almost all of the countries mentioned in these records, as part of their work as activists and personally knew the musicians and artists.
According to the interview with Barbara Dane, "Paredon" means "a big wall" in Spanish. Paredon represents "a wall of culture defending us [listeners] against this 'sleazy' culture that's out there on the other side of the wall." The mission of Paredon Records was to use music as a tool to spread culture: the stories and experiences of those involved in protest and revolution movements all over the world, in order to increase dialogue among similar movements and peoples. Dane and Silber hoped these records would promote social and political activism, and that the uplifting power of music would inspire people to be agents of social change. The records reflect the most important socialist or liberation movements in world politics as well as domestic issues in the United States of the late twentieth century.
The 50 Paredon record albums constitute a unique historical documentation of the political protest and revolutionary currents in the world over the course of three decades. 31 of the 50 albums come from national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These include music, song, poetry and speech from Angola, Argentina, Chile, China, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Palestine, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Another five albums come out of the European oppositional political movements from; Greece, Italy, North Ireland and the United Kingdom. In all cases, the materials are performed and/or presented by the participants in these movements. A number of world renowned artists are among the performers, including Mikis Theodorakis (Greece), Marcel Khalife (Lebanon), Quilapayún (Chile) and Silvio Rodriguez (Cuba). Several important world political figures — Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Don Albizu Campos and Che Guevara — also appear on these records delivering seminal speeches. Not all of the political figures deliver their speeches, such as the Ho Chi Minh album, but were read by someone else. The other 14 record albums document political and social protest movements in the U.S. during this same period. The songs reflect currents in the civil rights, women's, and labor movements. Two albums document GI opposition to the Vietnam War. These recordings include a broad array of singers and songs associated with the political protest of the times. Albums by the band "The Men of No Property" and others were obtained clandestinely, as the movements often became dangerous. Smithsonian Folkways Director Daniel Sheehy interviewed Barbara Dane in 2007, the transcript of which is contained in the Supporting Materials folder in Series 1: Papers.
The Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections acquired the Paredon Records audiorecordings in December, 1991, when Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber donated their record company papers to the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage agreed to keep the record titles available for purchase, and to accession and store the Paredon Records Collection in the archives.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at (202) 633-7322 or email@example.com for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.