Ballad of America preserves and celebrates music from America's diverse cultural history through:
Articles and videos with fascinating stories of songs, genres, instruments, people, and more
Resources to help teachers, both traditional and homeschool, integrate music and United States history
Sing-along recordings and lead sheets to facilitate the singing of American folk songs by people of all ages
Multimedia programs that entertain, inspire, and inform people of all ages, delivered in-person and online
The music in America today is part of a continuum that reaches back to Colonial America and stretches across the Atlantic Ocean to the Old World. Music, instruments, and songs tell the story of the ordinary and extraordinary people who have populated the United States and propelled it into the 21st century. The genres of music explored through Ballad of America include traditional folk songs, fiddle tunes, ballads (both Old and New World), sea shanties, railroad and cowboy songs, Appalachian, ragtime, spirituals, work songs, minstrel, blues, jazz, jug band, rhythm and blues, old-time, country and western, bluegrass, and rock & roll.
“Brave Wolfe” is one of the earliest broadside ballads composed in North America of which we have a record. The song tells the story of General James Wolfe, who led Great Britain to victory in the North American front of the international Seven Years’ War fought between 1756 and 1763. England’s defeat of France, Spain, and their Indigenous American allies, gave them control over North America east of the Mississippi River. Colonists celebrated General Wolfe as a hero, creating, singing, and disseminating versions of this ballad. Read more...