Celtic Junction Arts Center

Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55104

The Lost Forty, Feb 10

Music starts at 7:30pm. Doors open at 7pm. Advance tickets $14, $18 at the door. $5 for kids 18 and under!

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The Lost Forty (Brian Miller and Randy Gosa) return for a concert of newly unearthed songs lovingly revived from the rich folksong heritage of the Great Lakes. Over the past year, the duo has taken their rich song arrangement approach (using mandola, bouzouki and guitar) to 12 beautiful old songs collected in northern Minnesota in the 1920s. The concert will feature these new songs along with stories and projections of striking historical photos. 

A few years ago, Brian Miller's own extensive research led him to discover what turned out to be one of the earliest audio documents of Great Lakes folksong—a forgotten treasure trove of 47 songs recorded in 1924 from singers living in Minnesota’s north woods. History is woven into these songs which include regionally-composed logging songs, railroading songs, deer hunting songs, Great Lakes shipwreck songs, old Irish ballads and even older English ballads dating as far back as the 1680s.

Borrowing the name of Itasca County’s Lost 40 Scientific and Nature Area (a rare stand of old growth pine overlooked by loggers) Miller launched The Lost Forty Project in 2016 to celebrate and make accessible these long-lost “old growth” songs.

The project resonated strongly with folksong buffs and historians garnering a Folk and Traditional Arts grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and raising $6000 in one week via a crowdfunding campaign. As part of the project, Miller created The Minnesota Folksong Collection —a free online digital library where visitors can hear the archival recordings and use other resources to learn the songs themselves. Miller hopes that the Celtic Junction concert will inspire others to learn songs from the collection.