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Volcanoes of Central America

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Extensive compilation of data and images for the volcanoes of Central America. Map-driven interface for the regional Holocene and Pleistocene volcanoes. For Windows. Includes printable order form.

Explore Smithsonian: Dr. Avi Loeb - Jr. Professor of Science

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Visit with Avi Loeb at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to learn about how he became a scientist and his groundbreaking work on black holes and discovering life on other planets.

Explore Smithsonian: How Do Astronomers See the Invisible Parts of the Universe?

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Learn how scientists at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory use the Chandra X-ray Observatory to see the invisible parts of the universe. 

Explore Smithsonian: How Can Electricity Correct a Telescope in Outer Space?

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Learn how scientist at Smithsonian Astrophysical Society are using electricity to correct mirrors on telescopes in outer space!

An Introduction to Irish Music

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Exploration of Irish and Irish-American history using traditional songs. Students sing songs and relate them to historical events.

Son Jarocho from Veracruz: Exploration of Music and Dance Forms

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Use lively recordings and videos from celebrated son jarocho performers José Gutiérrez & Los Hermanos Ochoa to explore regional Mexican folk music and culture. Discuss poetic structure in song lyrics. Translated lyrics improve Spanish language skills.

Jíbaro Hasta el Hueso: Jíbaro to the Bone (Jíbaro music of Puerto Rico)

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Students will learn to identify the characteristic instruments, rhythms, and sound of jíbaro music, as well as appreciate the improvisatory skills of the poet/singers known as trovatores. Students will listen, perform, analyze, and create original verses using a common jíbaro poetic structure (the seis). This unit will also highlight important theme of social justice, which is often the topic of jíbaro songs.

Singing for Justice: Following the Musical Journey of “This Little Light of Mine”

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Students will learn the history behind “This Little Light of Mine”, following the song through slavery, the civil rights movement, and up to its current day applications. Students will also learn to sing the song itself in multiple languages and write their own verses.

Smithsonian Folkways remembers Harry Smith

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
May 29, 2015 would have been the 92nd birthday of Harry Smith (1923-1991). Watch this mini-documentary about Smith's influential "Anthology of American Folk Music," and read more about Smith's life and work here. The video footage is from a 1997 concert celebrating the CD reissue of the anthology.

Valerie June plays Lead Belly's 'Goodnight Irene'

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Valerie June interprets "Irene (Goodnight, Irene)," one of Lead Belly's signature songs, prior to the Lead Belly at 125 all-star tribute concert at the Kennedy Center in April 2015.

“Guri Thu” (sending a letter) by the Ca Trù Thái Hà Ensemble

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The Ca Trù Thái Hà Ensemble performs an excerpt from the traditional piece “Gửi Thư” (Sending a Letter) at the Zen Spa in Hanoi in July 2009.

Lou Reid Discusses Joining Seldom Scene

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Bluegrass legends The Seldom Scene reunited with former members to create the Smithsonian Folkways album Long Time... Seldom Scene. Here, singer and mandolin player Lou Reid talks with original member Ben Eldridge about joining the legendary bluegrass band twice—the first time in 1986, then for good in 1997. Reid has played with several other important acts, including Quicksilver, the Rickey Skaggs Band, Vince Gill, and Carolina.

Eugene Allen (White House Maître D’) Discusses White House Experiences

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Eugene Allen worked in the White House for 34 years, beginning his career there as a pantry man in 1952 and rising through the ranks to

"Me voy Lejos (I'm Going Far Away)" by Flaco Jiménez & Max Baca from Legends & Legacies

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The music of GRAMMY-winning conjunto artists Max Baca and Flaco Jiménez is steeped in the traditions of their families and region.

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

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Current and former members gather to celebrate the upcoming album "Long Time…Seldom Scene" available in 2014 on Smithsonian Folkways.

José-Luis Orozco Canta "El Baile de las Legumbres"

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José-Luis Orozco canta con percusionista Alberto López, bajista Juan Pérez de Quetzal, y Raúl Pacheco de Ozomatli en el tres cubano. Juntos tocando "El Baile de las Legumbres" de Orozco's Smithsonian Folkways Recordings álbum ¡Come Bien! Eat Right!

Boukman Eksperyans 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The GRAMMY-nominated group Boukman Eksperyans performed at the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in honor of the Haitian people affected by the devastating earthquake in January, 2010. Boukman Eksperyans appear on Rhythms of Rapture: Sacred Musics of Haitian Vodou, the 2004 Smithsonian Folkways album released as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival program from that year.

Son de Madera at 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Son de Madera, of Veracruz, Mexico, form part of the jaranero movement. Their performance at the 2009 Festival blends dance with song.

"Cupido" by Tereso Vega and Quetzal Flores at 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Jarocho musician Tereso Vega from Xalapa, Mexico improvises lyrics to "Cupido" accompanied by Chicano musician Quetzal Flores on jarana at the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Badakhshan Discusses Music and Dance in the Pamir Mountains

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The Badakhshan Ensemble takes its name from the mountainous region — poetically known in Persian as Bam-i Dunya, the "Roof of the World" — that comprises the sparsely populated eastern half of Tajikistan and northeast Afghanistan. There, nestled in a series of riverine valleys that descend from the Pamir Mountains to the Panj River, the boundary line between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, are scores of small settlements whose inhabitants have cultivated a vibrant tradition of devotional song, dance, and contemplative instrumental music. Produced in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Mike Seeger Discusses Early Southern Guitar Styles

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
More about Mike Seeger, American Folk Revivalist and Historian

"God Said He Would Move…" by Paschall Brothers from On the Right Road Now

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The Tidewater style of a cappella gospel is one of several regional styles that took root in the American South and eastern states after the Civil War. These groups have always been called quartets even though they could have six or more members: The word quartet refers to the fact that the groups sing in four-part harmony. Formed in 1981 under the leadership of Frank Paschall Sr., the Paschall Brothers perform classic Tidewater repertoire along with original compositions. The Paschalls add their own flair to these pieces, expanding harmonic structure and creating distinct arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original while creating a passionate sound that is uniquely theirs.

Grupo Raíz Performs Nueva Canción

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Activist-musicians Rafael Manríquez, Quique Cruz, and Hector Salgado formed Grupo Raíz to affirm and introduce Chilean nueva canción to the USA's California Bay Area and beyond. As musicians who honed their poetic and musical talents at peñas (or "café concerts") of their native Chile, they established La Peña, a community arts center in Berkeley, California. The goals of the group were twofold: to make known the music and culture of the Latin American people, and to give support through their music to the resistance movement in Chile and to liberation movements in Latin America and throughout the world.

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

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
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.
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