I met Harry at the Swinomish Smokehouse near La Conner, [Washington]. It was 1940 on Treaty Day (nearest weekend to January 22nd, the anniversary of the Point Elliott [Mukilteo] Treaty of 1855). I was along with a group of University of Washington anthropology students led by Dr. Erna Gunther. She regularly took groups of students to the Winter Dances, something that could not be done in recent years, probably since the 1940s. These dances are considered sacred activities, and are much more closed now than then. . Bill Holm, Curator Emeritus of Northwest Coast Indian Art at the Burke Museum, January 2001
Harry Smith began making field recordings of Lummi Indian rituals while he was still in high school. He used a portable recording lathe, similar in design to the portable 1941 Presto 6N which Doug Stewart is bringing from Seattle to Portland for Harry Smith PDX. Harry kept recording all his life. He called his last recording project, which involved hanging a microphone outside his New York apartment window all day, “movies for blind people”.
Doug Stewart has restored his 1941 Presto 6N to perfect working condition, and is anxious to show it off. He will be using it to record the Harry Smith Seance on May 16, and demonstrating it to the public at the Harry Smith Free For All on May 19.
If you have always wanted to see the machine Sam Phillips used to record Elvis Presley, here’s your chance. Harry used a machine of this type to record Lummi songs, chants and celebrations.
Harry Smith In The Pacific Northwest panel discussion, May 16, 3:00 PM Hollywood Theatre FREE
Harry Smith Seance, May 16, 7:00 PM Hollywood Theatre, $10.00
Harry Smith Free For All, May 19, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, The Cleaners@ Ace Hotel FREE