Interview with Alessandro Portelli, September 11, 1999

Project: Interviewing the Interviewers Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Alessandro Portelli talks about his family background in Italy and how he became interested in America, mainly through music. He talks about his participation in an exchange program which allowed him to live in Los Angeles, California for a year during high school. He talks about learning about American culture and politics, dropping his elitist attitude, and becoming interested in current events and political movements. He talks about returning to Italy, his continued interest in American folk music, and the effect protest songs he recorded in America had on his life. He talks about his interest in the revolution surrounding the working class in Italy in the sixties and seventies, as well as some of his earliest recordings which he conducted with the families involved in the homeless movement in Rome.

Portelli talks about how he became interested in Eastern Kentucky through hearing the protest music from Harlan County during one of his early trips to America. He talks about some of his connections in Kentucky, including people associated with the Appalachian Center and Appalshop. He talks about recording people in Kentucky, including Gurney Norman, George Ella Lyon, and others.

Portelli discusses some of the differences between American oral history and Italian oral history, and the role of oral history in remembering events, using the Fosse Ardeatine Massacre as an example. Portelli talks about his contributions to the field of oral history. He talks about how Charles Hardy influenced his views on the importance of sound in oral history. He briefly talks about the future of oral history, specifically in regard to the use of the Internet.

Interview Accession

2013oh286_ii001

Interviewee Name

Alessandro Portelli

Interviewer Name

Betsy Brinson

Interview Date

1999-09-11

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Portelli, Alessandro Interview by Betsy Brinson. 11 Sep. 1999. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Portelli, A. (1999, September 11). Interview by B. Brinson. Interviewing the Interviewers Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Portelli, Alessandro, interview by Betsy Brinson. September 11, 1999, Interviewing the Interviewers Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7tht2gbc1w