Our Story

The 78 Project is a documentary and recording journey inspired by Alan Lomax and his quest to capture music where it lived throughout the early 20th century. Our project brings the spirit of his work into the present as we pair breakthrough musicians with the songs and the fascinating recording technology of the past. With just one microphone, one authentic 1930’s Presto direct-to-acetate disk recorder, and one blank lacquer disc, musicians are given one take to cut a record anywhere they choose. What we have found is that the film, music and feelings that result defy space and time, living music inspired by ghosts.

ALEX STEYERMARK (Director/Editor/Producer)
Alex Steyermark’s feature films, “Prey for Rock & Roll” (2003), “One Last Thing…” (2006), and “Losers Take All” (2013), with casts including Cynthia Nixon, Ethan Hawke, Gina Gershon, Michael Angarano and Wyclef Jean, have been acclaimed at US and International film festivals from Sundance to Toronto to Tribeca, and are distributed throughout the world. Steyermark started his filmmaking career as a documentary cameraman and editor. Prior to directing, he distinguished himself as a film music supervisor and music producer working with a wide array of recording artists (including David Bowie, Public Enemy, Michael Jackson, Dave Grohl and more) on films by Spike Lee, Ang Lee, Jonathan Demme and Robert Rodriguez, among many others.

LAVINIA JONES WRIGHT (Writer/Producer)
A Philadelphia native and current Brooklyn resident, Lavinia Jones Wright has documented and contributed to both the New York and Philadelphia music scenes extensively. Most recently, as a member of ASCAP’s marketing department, she wrote and edited words, audio and video for ASCAP’s Playback Magazine, website, award shows and ASCAP’s Field Recording web series and coordinated ASCAP’s Inside Music e-newsletter. As a journalist, Lavinia has contributed to Billboard, SPIN, WSJ Speakeasy, AOL Spinner, Harp, Magnet and Crawdaddy! among others. Both independently and with venues and promoters, Lavinia has organized concerts, festival shows and various events all along the east coast, most notably as a founding member of Philadelphia’s Freshout Media and as the founder of the Brooklyn Happenings. She has recorded and performed as a member of Adam Arcuragi and the Lupine Choral Society, the inventors of the Death Gospel genre.

CONTACT US

Advisors to the project:

Erik Nelson
(Co-creator)

Don Fleming
(Executive Director, Association for Cultural Equity)

Todd Harvey
(Curator, Alan Lomax Collection, Library of Congress)

Jeff Place
(Archivist, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)

John Szwed
(Music Historian, Alan Lomax biographer)