Women and Folk from Smithsonian Folkways

The Smithsonian Folkways collection is rich with women’s recordings. Gender discrimination and segregation has often posed a considerable barrier for women musicians, but women have overcome these obstacles either via direct protest or by simply performing certain instruments or songs. Many women singers and songwriters interpret styles and songs traditionally associated with a male voice. In addition, the topic matter of the music has also been used to further women’s rights and other political and social causes. When women in the United States earned the right to vote in 1913, the lyrics of traditional hymns and patriotic anthems were changed to assert their demands for suffrage. Listen to a small sample of Smithsonian Folkways folk music created by and about these brave and daring women.