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"Pajarillo" by Grupo Cimarrón (Recio-Style Singing)

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While women in música llanera (plains music) have traditionally been encouraged to sing songs with emotional or romantic themes, Veydó is one of the few female singers that follow the recio (robust, coarse) style of singing usually associated with the male voice. Considered one of the most archaic forms of the Colombian plains joropo, the pajarillotype of golpe is the archetypical framework for recio-style singing. The lyrics usually allude to the singer's pride in their culture and homeland and in working with the earth.

"Parlez nous à boie non parl du marriage" by Michael and David Doucet at 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Michael Doucet, fiddler, composer, and bandleader, is perhaps the single most important figure in the revitalization of Cajun music in the USA. Cajun is the shorthand name for the French settlers of southwest Louisiana who were expelled from the Acadian region of Canada in the 18th century. During the first half of the 20th century, both the language and music of French Louisiana seemed to be in decline. In 1975, Doucet applied to the National Endowment for the Arts for an apprenticeship grant to study with and document the master fiddlers of his region. As a result of this project, he was able to learn first-hand from the great masters of Cajun and Creole music with links to an earlier era.

"Peace Like a River" by Elizabeth Mitchell and Suni Paz at the Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert

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The life of Kate Rinzler was celebrated on July 9 with lively performances by two Smithsonian Folkways recording artists, Elizabeth Mitchell and Suni Paz. Mitchell, who has recorded two albums for Smithsonian Folkways, made her Festival debut, while renowned Argentinean songwriter/singer Suni Paz, who recorded several albums for Smithsonian Folkways, returned to the Festival after many years. In this video, they perform “Peace Like a River” from Mitchell’s 2006 album You Are My Little Bird.

"Por Por" from Por Por: Honk Horn Music of Ghana

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The La Drivers Union Por Por Group is an organization of truck drivers in Ghana who lobby for drivers' rights and practice a form of music using honk horns and other vehicle parts. This video is composed of several songs that demonstrate the instruments and themes important to por por musicians. "Trotro Tour of Ghana" begins with an a cappella fragment of the Ghanaian national anthem, demonstrating the intense national pride of The La Drivers Union Por Por Group. "Shidaa" is a song about the history of por por and the original importance of the horns for truck drivers to scare wild animals on dark roads in the hinterland. It ends with praise for all the elders, union leaders, and workers who created and maintain the por portradition.

"Rast" by Rahim Alhaj and Souhail Kaspar

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The oud, a traditional Middle Eastern string instrument, is over 5,000 years old and the ancestor of many other string instruments. In this video, Rahim Alhaj, Iraqi oud virtuoso and composer plays, accompanied by master percussionist Souhail Kaspar. It is a glimpse into recording sessions for Alhaj's "When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq" CD, SFW-CD-45033, released October 2006. Alhaj is one of a very few professional oudists who are actively re-vitalizing and thereby preserving the Iraqi art music tradition.

"Serrano de Corazón" by Guillermo Velázquez y los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú

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On August 26th, Smithsonian Folkways released Serrano de Corazón (Highlander at Heart), an album rooted in the Mexican musical tradition huapango arribeño as interpreted by Guillermo Velázquez and his Leones de la Sierra de Xichú. Featuring nine tracks lasting a total of 76 minutes, the collection embodies tradition, as well as the energy of annual topadas festivities – exciting, all-night duels between musicians in a New Year celebration.

"Shoo Lie Loo" by Elizabeth Mitchell from Sunny Day

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This children's song is accompanied by a dancing game where you stand in a circle, clap your hands to the beat, and call out for your friend.

"Sleep Eye" by Elizabeth Mitchell from Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie

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"The rhythm of this song is perfect for bouncing a baby on your shoulder and lulling them to sleep. Thank you, Woody!" - Elizabeth Mitchell

"Somali Freedom Song" by Hasan Gure at 1997 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Hasan Gure is a musician, social worker, community scholar, and Somali immigrant dedicated to preserving Somali culture and traditions in the USA. Here, he performs a Somali freedom song celebrating Somali independence proclaimed from Britain and Italy on June 26, 1960. He plays the oud and is accompanied by Ghanaian immigrants Kwame Ansah Brew and Kofi Emmanuel Dennis on percussion.

"Some Kind of Something Is Going On Down There": Crossroads at Congo Square

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Winter/Spring 2015: New Orleans

"St. James Infirmary (Gambler's Blues)" by Dave Van Ronk

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Dave Van Ronk sings "St. James Infirmary (Gambler's Blues)" at the Barns at Wolf Trap during a 1997 concert honoring Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music

"Steamboat Whistle" by John Jackson at Barns of Wolf Trap 1997

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The blues became a prominent American musical form at the turn of the 20th century. The style originated in communities of former African slaves, deriving from spirituals, praise songs, field hollers, shouts, and chants. The use of blue notes and the prominence of call-and-response patterns in the music and lyrics can be linked to centuries-old musical styles from West Africa. The blues has been a major influence on American and Western popular music, inspiring ragtime, jazz, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, hip-hop, and country music.

"Sunny Day" by Elizabeth Mitchell from Sunny Day

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Music video for the song "Sunny Day" Elizabeth Mitchell’s 2010 album of the same name. It’s the story of a magic harmonica and a girl dreaming of the first day of spring. Directed by Emily Bennison, Art Direction by Jacinta Bunnell, filmed in High Falls NY, January 2011.

"Tears for Kientepoos" by Mary Youngblood at the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Achugash Aleut and Seminole, Mary Youngblood was raised in Seattle and now lives in Sacramento, California. She is active in the American Indian community there, working with the Urban Indian Health Project and the American Indian Women's Talking Circle. Trained in guitar, piano, voice, and flute, she is also a songwriter and poet; music has played a pivotal role in her life. She began playing the Plains–style cedar and redwood flute in 1993, taking up an instrument played until the last several years primarily by men. Here she performs "Tears for Kientepoos" at a 1998 concert honoring American Indian women.

"The Bone Game Song" by Flora Wallace and Family at Special Concert

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Bone games are popular among American Indians across the northwestern United States of America. Two teams compete to guess where players are hiding carved animal bones. The game is accompanied by exuberant singing, drumming, or rattles. Bone game songs are very lively and fast paced, and are sung with full voices. The players hiding the bones often gesture expressively in time with the music. In earlier times, it was usually men who competed, but nowadays women and youth participate, too. Laura Wallace and her family perform "The Bone Game Song" with percussive accompaniment and animated gestures.

"Through the Bottom of the Glass" by The Seldom Scene from Long Time…Seldom Scene

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Current and former members gather to celebrate the upcoming album "Long Time…Seldom Scene" available in 2014 on Smithsonian Folkways.

"Todo lo que tengo" by Quetzal from Imaginaries

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East Los Angeles band Quetzal combines rock, traditional son jarocho, salsa, R&B, and more to express political, social, and personal struggles on their album Imaginaries. "Todo lo que tengo" (All That I Have) is a love song that acknowledges the role of the individual in a successful union.

"Tonada de gris silencio" by Rafael Manríquez

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Chilean immigrant Rafael Manríquez performs all three guitar parts during the recording of his song Tonada de gris silencio.

"Tra Bo Dau" by Linda Griffiths and Lisa Healy at 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Linda Griffiths (Aberystwyth, Wales) and her daughter, Lisa Healy, are accompanied by Ceri Rhys Matthews (Pencader, Wales).

"Trovas" by Victor Espinel Sanchez from an Impromtu Recording in Colombia

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In 2011, researchers for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival traveled to the Orinoco Plains of Colombia. Their van broke down, leading to a filming opportunity involving Felix Chaparro Rivas, Victor Espinel Sanchez, and Carlos Rojas. Here, Espinel sings trovas, impromptu verses, in the joropostyle.

"Wait a Minute" by Seldom Scene from Long Time…Seldom Scene

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The longtime pillars of the bluegrass world return with the aptly titled Long Time... Seldom Scene.

"Walking Boss" by Mike Seeger at Folkways Studio in 2007

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For over fifty years, Mike Seeger has been a musician, documenter, and tireless advocate of American folk and traditional music. As a musician he recorded as a solo artist and member of folk revival ensemble the New Lost City Ramblers. As a collector he has captured and produced sounds by iconic artists such as Elizabeth Cotten and Dock Boggs. And finally, as a historian and preservationist of the music he calls "old time," Mike Seeger gives us the stories behind the music that is such an essential part of American culture. Here he performs and gives the history of "Walking Boss," a tune Thomas Clarence Ashley learned from African American railroad workers at the turn of the 19th century.

"We Are Soldiers in the Army" by The Freedom Singers from Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs 1960-1966

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Music was essential to the African-American struggle for civil rights and equality. "We Are Soldiers in the Army" demonstrates how the Black American traditional song repertoire and older styles of singing were used to inspire and organize the Civil Rights Movement. The singers here remind us that the days of open discrimination and bigotry are not far behind us, and that "it's people's hearts we're trying to change now." The a cappella quartet features legendary civil rights activists and singers Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett, Bettie Mae Fikes, and Cordell Reagon.

"West Virginia, My Home" by Hazel Dickens at 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Hazel Dickens became an accomplished bluegrass performer at a time when the genre was dominated by men. She is also an admired advocate for women's and worker's rights. Along with fellow musician and friend Alice Gerrard, she empowered countless female singers and musicians to succeed without sacrificing integrity. In this performance, Dickens, herself the eighth of eleven children born to a West Virginia mining family, pays homage to her home state.
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