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Soundscapes

Featured music from Smithsonian Folkways.

Education and Musical Diversity Education and Musical DiversityAlmost 50 years after the Tanglewood Declaration, we have seen a movement toward recognizing that musical diversity can contribute to increasing cultural understanding...

Hip-hop, Folk, and New Audiences Hip-hop, Folk, and New AudiencesRepurposing classic folk songs as hip-hop music gives new life to old standards.

Radio Jarochelo: Connecting Communities Radio Jarochelo: Connecting CommunitiesInternet technology in the hands of a Mexican maestro yields a one of the strongest threads in the fabric of tradition.

Musical Rhythms to Learn, Love, and Share Musical Rhythms to Learn, Love, and SharePatricia Campbell discusses rhythmic elements in the annual Smithsonian Folkways certification course in World Music Pedagogy.

UNESCO’s World of Music UNESCO’s World of MusicThe UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music is an outcome of UNESCO’s aim to bring about lasting peace founded on “mutual understanding” and “the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.”

From Analog to Digital: The Story of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music From Analog to DigitalThe Story of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional MusicOvertime, both the “world music” commercial market and the intellectual climate for on-location study of traditional music...

A Guide to the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music A Guide to the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music How does the dilettante music lover find a foothold in an unbelievably dense and intimidating catalog?...

Some Kind of Something Is Going On Down There “Some Kind of Something Is Going On Down There” Crossroads at Congo SquareThe polyrhythms, syncopation, and pulse beats that filled Congo Square are the heartbeat of the musical forms that emerged from New Orleans…

The Birth of the Drum Set The Birth of the Drum SetThe drum set is a hybrid of instruments from around the world, from cultures that were assembling in port cities like New Orleans...

Indian Generations Producer Samuel Charters documented what the Mardi Gras Indians sounded like on Mardi Gras Day in 1957...

The Last Brass Band? Musical Mentorship and Social Justice OrganizingThe possibility that New Orleans brass band music could be lost to attrition, neglect, or new styles has been an ongoing concern...

Recovery and Rebirth of a New Orleans Jazz Life The jazz funeral philosophy sustained many of us on the road to recovery after Hurricane Katrina. Nearly a decade later, New Orleans remains in a state of recovery and transition...

Sharecropper’s Troubadour Sharecropper’s Troubadour Songs of Solidarity in Hard Times...Often you go to the shelf and get your Bible, And sit down and begin to read. And you find therein where God will punish...

The Birth of the Drum Set Wisconsin’s Solidarity Sing Along Songs of Solidarity in Hard TimesJust after noon on a sunny Friday in late June, forty people gather in Madison...

Anti-Apartheid Freedom Songs Then and Now In the struggle to resist oppression, performance played an important role, offering a vehicle for disguising subversive messages...

Remembering and Rebuilding: Folkways Cantorials 1947-1965 Aficionados of Jewish liturgical music today describe the years between the late nineteenth century and 1950...

Sound and Community in the Muslim Call to Prayer From the public to the intimate the Islamic call to prayer, adhan, literally meaning “announcement,”...

The Look of the Listen The Cover Art of Folkways Records
The Look of the Listen is a website that explores the breadth and diversity of Folkways cover art...

Afghanistan’s music in the Smithsonian collection Further acquaintance with Afghanistan’s music will serve to increase our understanding...

Jazz The challenge of talking about music is compounded when the subject is jazz, a word of clouded origins whose meaning reflects an evolution...

Appalachian Blues Blues from the mountains
The Appalachian Mountains are only now beginning to be recognized as one of the primary incubators of...

Mirembe Kawomera (Delicious Peace) Coffee, Music and Interfaith Harmony in Uganda
I find it challenging to record in small villages in Uganda...

A Midnight Serenade Music from the Dominican Republic
During my fieldwork in the Dominican Republic, ongoing battles against the local “crazy ants”...

Songs By and For Children A Legacy of Children’s Music
Children’s music has been a Folkways priority from the inception of the label...

Music of Central Asia Tengir-Too, Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan and Classical Music of the Tajiks and Uzbeks
Central Asia is commonly understood to...

Tradiciones / Traditions The Expanding Universe of Música Latina
Over 45 million people of Hispanic descent make the United States...

Paredon Records Activist songs and speeches from 1970 to 1985
Between 1970 and 1985, Paredon Records released fifty albums that covered major left-wing...

National Heritage Awards Honoring Traditional Artists in the USA
The National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowships are the highest form...

Latino Chicago Music and community
The Latino presence in Metropolitan Chicago offers us a distinctive window into Latino culture...

The Music in Poetry Ballad and blues stanzas
What makes a poem sound pleasing to the ear? A solid rhythm for one...

Throat Singing A unique vocalization from three cultures
Throat-singing, a guttural style of singing or chanting, is one of the world's oldest...

The Roots and Branches of Virginia Music The past is present
The year 2007 marks the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Virginia, the first...

Voices of Struggle The Civil Rights movement, 1945 to 1965
We honor African-American history and music with a look at the profound cultural contribution...

From the Andes to the Arctic Explore American Indian heritage through music
Smithsonian Folkways offers many archival recordings of American Indian...

Rebel Music A Musical Tour of Maroon Communities Between the 15th and 19th centuries, in remote areas throughout the Americas, hundreds of self-liberated...

Islands of Song Musics of the Bahamas
For hundreds of years along the 700 scattered limestone islands in the Caribbean sea...

A Sound Legacy 20 Years of Folkways Records at the Smithsonian
Folkways Records & Service Co. was founded in 1948 in New York City by Moses Asch...

Say It Loud African American
Spoken Word

The spoken word occupies a central and indispensable position in African American history and culture...

Connecting Cultures Music of the Mekong River
Like the Yangtze, the Nile, and the Mississippi, the Mekong River in Southeast Asia...

¡Que Viva el Mariachi! Music, Meaning, and Movimiento
Mexican mariachi music is made to move you. It is direct, driving, and designed to instill emotion...

The Country Blues Rural soul music of the Southern USA
On his WFMT radio program in the mid-1950s, Studs Terkel asked, “Say Bill, what’s the blues?” Big Bill Broonzy replied...

Bluegrass on Folkways An American roots tradition
Bluegrass music is the synthesis of American southern string band music, blues, English, Irish, and Scottish...

Labor's Troubadour Joe Glazer and Collector Records
Since the Industrial Revolution, working people have been organizing and campaigning...

Songs of the Water Ways Maritime Music
The sea and other water ways such as large lakes, long rivers, and wide bays, have inspired songs for centuries...

Música Latina Sounds of Latino USA
Latin America, including Latino communities in the United States, is one of the...

African Music in the USA The music of African immigrants
In the past three decades, new African diaspora communities have emerged...

Drum Sounds and Their Meanings By Mickey Hart
One of the few things we know about our universe is that everything in it is vibrating...

In Our Own Voice Songs of American Indian Women
Very little is known and appreciated about American Indian women's songs...

We Sing a Song Folkways for children
The music that children are raised on will influence them for the rest of their lives...

Women Breaking
Musical Barriers
She isn't supposed to play that
Recordings by women fill the archives of Folkways, but we shouldn't take them...

Na Leo Hawai'i Musics of Hawai'i
Asians and Pacific Islanders make up the majority of the population of Hawai'i...

Music of Ghana Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence
On March 6, 1957, the nation of Ghana declared its independence...

Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena Shared traditions — distinctive rhythms
Bomba and plena are percussion-driven musical traditions from Puerto Rico...

La Nueva Canción The New Song Movement in South America
The 1970 victory of the Popular Unity government led by Salvador Allende in Chile...

Strings of the North National Instruments of Sweden, Norway, and Finland
Scotland has its bagpipes, India its sitar, and Russia the balalaika...

Mahagita Harp and Vocal Music of Burma
The Burmese arched harp, a little known treasure among Asian musical instruments, figures prominently...

Songs to Make Winter Bright Traditions of Singing at Christmas and Other Winter Holidays
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is a time of...

Sounds of the Office History and culture in sound
When defining the term "Folkways" Moses Asch said simply: "Anything that is sound."...

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