During my final year at university I took a course which involved making documentaries with a historical perspective. On this course I had the great pleasure of meeting Will Kauffman, a professor from the USA who as a cultural historian has spent a large part of his life researching and writing about the music of the American radical folk singer Woody Guthrie.
Will has written extensively on the politics of Guthrie and tours around the world giving talks and live performances to spread the socialist message that Guthrie tried to pass on in his lyrics. I as a part of a small team made a short documentary on Guthrie and Kauffman as a final piece for the course. It is about the most famous song by Guthrie: “this land is your land” and the radical message hidden in some long forgotten lyrics.
Kauffman is possibly one of the most interesting people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, his live shows are enthralling showing him to be a talented multi instrumentalist as well as a passionate speaker on American folk music and radical politics of the 1930s.
These two films serve as a fairly small sample of Will’s work, more of which is available here.