Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 5, 2013.

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Film, album, book and concert tour featuring rare Adirondack Folk songs being rediscovered and rerecorded after 60 years!


THANK YOU! You can continue to follow and support the film at www.mountainlake.org/songs

*Note: anyone who donates at the $100 level will also receive the CD!

Actor/musician Kevin Bacon (left) and Composer/musician Michael Bacon (right) perform "My Adirondack Home"
Actor/musician Kevin Bacon (left) and Composer/musician Michael Bacon (right) perform "My Adirondack Home"

The Documentary

Marjorie Lansing Porter (1891-1973) dedicated her life to preserving the folk songs of the Adirondacks. Throughout the 40s and 50s, Porter traveled through New York State interviewing and recording traditional musicians and singers, creating a comprehensive song collection. For many years this unique time capsule has been inaccessible to the broad public. Now for the first time this documentary will illuminate and revitalize the Porter Collection through contemporary interviews with folk musicians such as the legendary Pete Seeger, a personal friend of Porter, and Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary. The film also features a whole series of re-recordings from the Porter Collection by modern musicians including Kevin and Michael Bacon of the Bacon Brothers, Lee Knight, Dave Ruch, Dan Berggren, Alex Smith, and many others.

Noel Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul & Mary
Noel Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul & Mary

Like folksong collectors Alan Lomax and Anne and Frank Warner, Porter captured many songs just before the last living tradition bearers died. The Porter Collection, consisting of more than 300 traditional ballads, songs of the lumber camps and iron mines, Irish and French-Canadian songs, and Iroquois chants. The collection also includes dozens of oral histories and Porter’s collected writings.

Marjorie Lansing Porter (1891-1973) dedicated her life to preserving the folk songs of the Adirondacks.
Marjorie Lansing Porter (1891-1973) dedicated her life to preserving the folk songs of the Adirondacks.

Mountain Lake PBS, Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY), SUNY Plattsburgh and The Adirondack History Center Museum have partnered on this multiplatform project to increase awareness of and access to the Marjorie L. Porter Collection of North Country Folklore. Recently, the Special Collections Library at State University of New York digitized the collection, and Lee Knight, a close friend of Porter, has transcribed all the lyrics and completed substantial research on their origins and context. This project seeks to create new publications and events to bring attention and further increase access to this important cultural asset.

Other Project Components

  • An album of new recordings from the Porter Collection interpreted by well-known regional and national musicians.
  • A traveling exhibit about Marjorie Lansing Porter and her work, including new original research with descendants of Porter and the singers she recorded.
  • A manuscript of all the folksongs of Porter Collection.
  • Publication of a 40 page songbook from the Porter Collection.
  • A concert series hitting six locations throughout the Adirondack Park with local musicians (lineup and set lists to be determined).

Concert Venues & Dates

Clayton Opera House, August 8, 7:30 p.m.
Lake Placid Center for the Arts, August 21, 8 p.m.
View in Old Forge, August 24, 7:30 p.m.
Edwards Opera House, September 14, 7:00 p.m.
Adirondack History Center Museum, September 20, 6 p.m.
Giltz Theater, Hawkins Hall, SUNY Plattsburgh, September 21, 7:00 p.m.

If you select this gift you will specify the date and location of the concert after we conclude the campaign, Tickets will be held at each of the venue box offices.

Performances in the Film

Here are many of the folk artists and songs set to appear in the documentary: 

  • Fraser Family -  "The Irishtown Crew"
  • Dave Ruch, "The Days of 49"
  • Celia Evans,  "Cutting Down the Pines"
  • Alex Smith, "The Ballad of Blue Mountain Lake"
  • The Bacon Brothers, "My Adirondack Home"
  • Colleen Cleveland, "Lord Ullin's Daughter"
  • Jamie Savage & Sue Grimm, "Great Grandad"
  • Lee Knight, "Young Brennan"
  • Dan Berggren, "Sailor's Grave"
  • Bernard & Normand Ouimet, "French Canadian songs"

Lineups and set lists are still being finalized.

Partners

Mountain Lake PBS is a local PBS station located in Plattsburgh, NY, with a strong track record of successful independant documentaries like Small Farm Rising, and Dead Reckoning: Champlain in America.

TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York) A nonprofit organization dedicated to showcasing the folk culture and living traditions of New York's North Country.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Any documentary faces significant challenges, primarily relating to people and logistics. Things don't always go as planned. But, strong partnerships between a number of organizations make us confident that this documentary will be completed by November 2013.

FAQ

  • Yes! It does!

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  • While we are so thankful and thrilled that the The Bacon Brother, Peter & Paul, and Pete Seeger have all generously lent us their time and talents they are not producing the film or financially supporting it. The film is being supported by the fans of folk music and the Adirondacks. So YOUR help is what's needed to make this happen.

    Last updated:
  • PBS is NOT producing the film. Mountain Lake PBS is an independently licensed local TV station in Plattsburgh NY. We are a small group of talented media makers more akin to a independent production company than a large network. The greatest source of our funding comes from the local community and we only receive a small percentage of operating capital from the government and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. To produce truly local projects like this we need the support of the broader community. That's where you come in.

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