Booker T. Washington “Bukka” White Interview

“They say love will never die, just like a flower, and I believe it too.”  

– Bukka White, from the interview below

“‘I just reach up and pull them out of the sky – call them sky songs- they just come to me.’ That’s how Bukka White described his music making. His performances were not polished, finished, slick tin pan alley songs but marvelous, on the spot creations – images and recollections as they come to the artist’s mind. He was a man with one of the most vivid imaginations I ever had the pleasure of recording. When I first met Bukka here in Berkeley, CA., I was immediately impressed by his overpowering personality. He was intense and full of life – it had to come out of him – and slowly I found out what Bukka was like.”

 – Chris Strachwitz, from the liner notes for Bukka White’s album Sky Songs, Arhoolie CD-323

  • Bukka White Interview Tape 1 Side 1 00:00
  • Bukka White Interview Tape 1 Side 2 00:00
  • Bukka White Interview Tape 2 00:00
Interviewee: Booker T. Washington “Bukka” White
Interviewer: Chris Strachwitz
Language: English

This is an interview originally recorded for research purposes. It is presented here in its raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interview are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission.

See below photo gallery for transcripts of the interviews

Bukka White Interview Transcripts:

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.