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Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Folkways Rolls Out Woody Guthrie’s “Roll Columbia”

Woody Guthrie Roll ColumbiaWe’re proud to present our new release, the two-disc Roll Columbia: Woody Guthrie’s 26 Northwest Songs, which marks the latest chapter in Smithsonian Folkways’ rich history with the iconic songwriter.

Smithsonian Folkways Makes More Than 5,500 Arhoolie Tracks Available

I Wonder Where You Are TonightSmithsonian Folkways is making more than 300 standout albums (over 5,500 tracks) from the famed Arhoolie Records catalog available digitally and on CD through the Smithsonian Folkways website starting October 21 (folkways.si.edu/arhoolie). The remaining titles from the roughly 650-album collection will be released on an ongoing basis. Arhoolie Records is best known for "down home" blues, jazz, country, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Mexican-American, and world music. Smithsonian Folkways acquired the Arhoolie catalog in May 2016 from its founder Chris Strachwitz and his business partner Tom Diamente. It is the largest addition to the Smithsonian Folkways catalogue since it launched in 1987, bringing the total number of available tracks to almost 60,000.

Smithsonian Folkways Presents "Conversations with North American Banjo Builders"

Conversations with North American Banjo BuildersIn May of 2011, Craig Evans packed up his video equipment and headed out across the United States to capture the thoughts and methods of the modern-day individuals who build one of America's most iconic instruments: the banjo.

Classic American Ballads from Smithsonian Folkways

Classic American BalladsThe Classic series is an enjoyable introduction to the diverse repertoire of American music available from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Each explores the breadth and depth of a genre while the notes trace its significance within American musical heritage. Longtime lovers of American roots music and newcomers alike find value and enjoyment in the Classic series. Compiled and annotated by GRAMMY award winning Smithsonian Folkways Archivist Jeff Place, award winning bluegrass radio presenter Lee Michael Demsey, blues historian Barry Lee Pearson, and others, the series has produced compilations of bluegrass, folk, blues, maritime, old-time, and mountain music.

Traditional Christmas Carols by Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger sings Traditional Christmas CarolsSmithsonian Folkways has a great offering for the holiday season. Released in 1989, Traditional Christmas Carols by Pete Seeger is a sure hit for the banjo, folk or bluegrass fan. Long a seasonal favorite, this collection of 13 charming Christmas carols from French, English, Italian, and African American traditions captures the Christmas spirit with wonderful universality. These international holiday favorites include Twelve Gates to the City, Mary Had a Baby, and The First Noel.

Seldom Scene Makes Smithsonian Folkways Debut Release 4/22

Long Time...Seldom SceneWashington, DC -- What does it take for a bluegrass band to remain popular for more than four decades? For The Seldom Scene, it's taken not only talented musicians, a signature sound, and' a solid repertoire, but also a sheer sense of fun. On April 22, the longtime pillars of the bluegrass world will return with the aptly titled Long Time ... Seldom Scene via Smithsonian Folkways. The newly recorded collection features fresh interpretations of 16 oft-requested tunes and is the band's first studio album since the Grammy-nominated album Scenechronized in 2007. It's a family reunion in all the best ways, featuring the current - and longest-running -lineup, joined by founding members Tom Gray and John Starling and guests Chris Eldridge, Emmylou Harris, and Rickie Simpkins.

"Long Time...Seldom Scene" due April 22, 2014

Long Time...Seldom SceneWashington, DC -- Smithsonian Folkways will be releasing a collection by bluegrass music favorites, the Seldom Scene this April. The album, Long Time...Seldom Scene contains some of the band's most popular arrangements. For more than four decades, profoundly influential bluegrass band The Seldom Scene has shared its undeniable talent, progressive repertoire, and creative spirit both in the studio and on stage. The Seldom Scene dedicates this album to the memory of founding members John Duffey (1934-1996) and Mike Auldridge (1938-2012).

Elizabeth Mitchell and Friends Celebrate The Sounding Joy

The Sounding JoyThe Sounding Joy is a spirited collection of folk carols drawn from Ruth Crawford Seeger’s 1953 songbook American Folk Songs for Christmas. Featuring Elizabeth Mitchell and a luminary list of her musical family, friends, and neighbors, this album celebrates the spirit of community and homespun traditions that existed in times before the commercialization of Christmas. Natalie Merchant, Aoife O’Donovan, Amy Helm, John Sebastian, Dan Zanes, Happy Traum, and many others including special guest Peggy Seeger all add their voices to pay tribute to a collection revered in the canon of American Music. 70 minutes, 32-page booklet with photos.

Elizabeth Mitchell Explores Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook

Elizabeth MitchellOn Oct. 15th, GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Elizabeth Mitchell releases The Sounding Joy, an exploration of Christmas and solstice songs from the American folk tradition. Drawn almost exclusively from the often overlooked but deeply influential songbook of revered composer and anthologist Ruth Crawford Seeger, these songs evoke an era before mass media and the commercialization of Christmas, when sacred song, dance, contemplation, and gathering were prized above all else during the holiday season. Mitchell’s fifth album for Smithsonian Folkways, The Sounding Joy features husband Daniel Littleton, daughter Storey, and special guests Peggy Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Amy Helm, Aoife O’Donovan, Gail Ann Dorsey, Larry Campbell, Dan Zanes, and John Sebastian, among many other family, friends, and neighbors. This gorgeously reverent 24-song collection attempts to save these traditional American holiday songs from an “unmarked grave,” as Merchant puts it in her essay included in the liner notes. The Sounding Joy is truly for listeners of all ages and is Smithsonian Folkways’ first holiday album in more than a decade.

Classic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways Released

Classic BanjoClassic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways is a 30-track compilation that captures the great versatility of the banjo and its part in shaping American musical identity, including the instrument’s vital role in the 1960s folk revival. Classic Banjo was compiled by ethnomusicologist Greg Adams and archivist Jeff Place from over 300 albums, and is the 22nd release in the acclaimed Classic Series.

New Seldom Scene Album on Smithsonian Folkways

Seldom Scene by Michael G. StewartToday, Friday, June 28, The Seldom Scene, an influential D.C.-area bluegrass band that has played a significant role in popularizing the genre for over 40 years, will perform free at the 2013 Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The concert is also a preview of Longtime...Seldom Scene, the group’s first album with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (available in 2014).

‘Classic Banjo’ Explores The Versatility And Vitality Of An American Musical Staple

Classic BanjoThe history of the banjo stretches across a complex, international terrain, from West Africa and the Caribbean, to North America and around the world. On August 6, Smithsonian Folkways will release ‘Classic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways,’ a 30-track compilation that captures the great versatility of the banjo and how it helped shape American musical identity, including the instrument’s vital role in the 1960s folk revival.

Classic Celtic Music from Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Folkways Classic SeriesClassic Celtic Music from Smithsonian Folkways, the 20th album in the popular Classic Series, is now available in CD and digital download format. Few genres carry such a rich and deep history as Celtic music, which reflects centuries of culture of Ireland and the British Isles, as well as their North American inheritors.

Classic Celtic Music from Smithsonian Folkways Available Feb 26

Smithsonian Folkways Classic SeriesFew genres carry such a rich and deep history as Celtic music, which reflects centuries of culture of the British Isles and Ireland as well as their North American inheritors. On February 26, Smithsonian Folkways will release the 20th compilation in its Classic series, Classic Celtic Music from Smithsonian Folkways. Compiled by music historian and folklorist Richard Carlin, Classic Celtic Music delves into this diverse world of musical traditions, and is sure to delight both longtime fans of the genre and newcomers alike.

Elizabeth Mitchell Earns First Grammy Nomination With 'Little Seed' From Smithsonian Folkways

Little SeedSmithsonian Folkways Recordings artist Elizabeth Mitchell earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Children’s Album with Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie. Released in June 2012 as part of the Woody at 100 celebration, the album reflects Mitchell’s personal connection to Guthrie’s music and her adventurous approach to arranging and interpreting traditional songs. A chance discovery of a vinyl copy of Guthrie’s album Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child in a record store twenty years ago inspired Mitchell to embark on the path of making music for children. In Little Seed’s extensive liner notes she writes, “Woody Guthrie's songs for children are a gift to all of us. At this point in my life, they are a part of me, part of my family...these fragments of sweetness and mystery touch our souls. These songs have been part of my journey from being a teacher in New York City to singing concerts in the Redwood Forests of California....”

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