Tue, March 28, 2017, 7 PM
Harry Ransom Center
300 W 21st St.)


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USA, Digital, 109 min.

Featuring a pre-show performance of authentic Scots-Irish folk ballads by Sun Radio’s "Across the Pond" host Ed Miller, and a post-screening presentation by Professor of Ethnomusicology and Anthropology, Veit Erlmann, and Ellen LeBlanc, musician and instrument maker. 

Loosely based on the true story of a folk music historian, SONGCATCHER features Janet McTeer as fearless university professor Lily Penleric, who happens upon a significant discovery of early Scotch Irish folk ballads while visiting rural Appalachia. While she pursues her obsession to document as much music as she can, Lily discovers the significant plight of the rural people whom she's relying on to gather this knowledge. With a soundtrack that includes Iris DeMent, Hazel Dickens, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and other greats, the film is a delightful elegy to American folk music traditions. The portrayal of the study of musicology and instrumentation made SONGCATCHER an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award winner in 2000. This Science on Screen presentation will be followed by a discussion about the science, technology and history of musical instruments.

Veit Erlmann is an anthropologist/ethnomusicologist and the Endowed Chair of Music History at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to coming to UT he taught at the Free University Berlin, universities in South Africa and the University of Chicago. He has won numerous prizes, including the Alan P.Merriam award for the best English monograph in ethnomusicology and the Mercator Prize of the German Research Foundation DFG. Erlmann frequently presents at leading institutions around the world. Other than German and English, he is fluent in French, Spanish and Indonesian. He also published widely on music and popular culture in South Africa, including African Stars (Chicago), Nightsong (Chicago), and Music, Modernity and the Global Imagination (Oxford). His most recent publication is Reason and Resonance: A History of Modern Aurality (Zone Books). Currently he is working on a book on intellectual property law in South Africa that will be published by Duke University Press. In 2014 he also became founding co-editor of the journal Sound Studies (Bloomsbury Press, London).

Science on Screen® is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.