Ballad of America, Inc. is a nonprofit with tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) educational organization.
Our mission is to preserve and celebrate music from America’s diverse cultural history.
We envision an engaged and informed citizenry that respects people of varying backgrounds and appreciates how different cultures have contributed to America’s musical landscape.
We develop and promote online resources and live events that encourage and enable:
of the story of the United States
of the different cultures that have contributed to America’s musical landscape
of America’s unique musical heritage
in music making and the continuation of musical traditions
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. Not only do the lyrics directly reflect the hopes, fears, struggles, sorrows, triumphs, and humanity of the real people who lived history, but to follow the path taken by the music itself is to understand the great cultural stew that is the United States of America.
Through this music, you can engage with the strength and beauty that have emerged from the often troubled history of the United States. 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.
The music of the United States is a result of the often-hidden connections among cultural groups in our diverse society. We at Ballad of America, Inc. have experienced how the music brings people together, transcending age and ethnicity, to foster understanding and create community. We believe it connects people to the beauty and good that has arisen from the country's often troubled history.
In addition, a 2003 University of Florida study found that children are not learning and singing the songs of their heritage nearly as much as they once did. The study suggests that the United States is in jeopardy of losing a longstanding and rich part of its identity. Research has shown that these songs enable people to empathize with the hardships and joys of their ancestors. Researcher Marilyn Ward notes, “Music broadens our understanding by letting us experience history – making it more memorable and meaningful than reading isolated stories of events from another time.”
Finally, as Caroline Kennedy writes in A Patriot’s Handbook, “...children have an immense capacity for faith and for patriotism. If their introduction to the story of our country is captivating, they can develop a lifelong interest in history and a willingness to engage in civic life.”
In this time when too many people of all ages seem to be lacking knowledge of the story of our country, Ballad of America, Inc. provides a captivating introduction.