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"Love Is the Thing to Make it Fall": African-American Music in Alabama before and during the Civil Rights Movement

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
This set of lessons is an introduction to African-American music in Alabama through children’s songs of the 1950s as well as freedom songs of the 1960s. In addition to attentive listening, students will sing, play instruments, improvise, move, and play games.

"Los Vecinos" by Suni Paz from Alerta Sings and Songs for the Playground/ Canciones Para el Recreo

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Suni Paz is an award-winning performer for children and a pioneer in the use of music to teach Spanish-language curricula. Her songs in Spanish encourage children to have pride in their heritage while respecting all cultures. In 2003, Suni was awarded the Magic Penny Award by the Children's Music Network. Here, she discusses the importance of singing to children and the impact it has had on her career. She also performs "Los Vecinos" (The Neighbors), an original composition about the beauty of bilingualism.

"Little Birdie" by Ralph Stanley at 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Ralph Stanley, born in Virginia, USA, in 1927, is an influential and celebrated figure in the history of bluegrass music. He created a unique style of banjo playing, sometimes called "Stanley Style," characterized by incredibly fast "forward rolls" (a technique in banjo playing) led by the index finger. Stanley often played with a capo to use the higher registers of the banjo. This 2003 performance by Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys demonstrates the instrumental solos and breakneck speed that characterize bluegrass music.

"Little Bird, Little Bird" by Elizabeth Mitchell from You Are My Little Bird

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
"Little Bird, Little Bird" is from Elizabeth Mitchell's most recent album You Are My Little Bird released in 2006. Elizabeth will release on her fourth children's album, "Sunny Day" in 2010 on Smithsonian Folkways.

"Liberty Funeral March" by the Liberty Brass Band from New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Watch the Liberty Brass Band share their classic New Orleans sound with a performance of their new song "Liberty Funeral March," one of six Liberty Brass Band songs to appear on New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City, alongside recordings by Hot 8 Brass Band and Treme Brass Band.

"Let All Religions Come Together" by Akuseka Takuwa from Delicious Peace: Coffee, Music & Interfaith Harmony in Uganda

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Watch a live performance from a group featured on Delicious Peace: Coffee, Music & Interfaith Harmony in Uganda.

"La Bamba" by José Gutiérrez and Los Hermanos Ochoa from La Bamba: Sones Jarochos from Veracruz

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Son jarocho is the traditional rural music of Veracruz in the Gulf region of Mexico. The son includes coplas or stanzas sung by a "caller" who is accompanied by the hard-driving rhythms of musicians playing unique regional guitars and harp. Jarocho describes the people and culture of southern Veracruz. "La Bamba" is among the best known jarochosongs inside and outside Mexico. The version performed here by José Gutiérrez and Los Hermanos Ochoa showcases a lively harp solo by virtuoso Felipe Ochoa and the rhythmic plucking of the requinto jarocho guitar.

"Jubilee" by the McIntosh County Singers

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Acclaimed upholders of the African American ring shout, the McIntosh County Shouters keep the faith, form, and fervor of the generations-old tradition rooted in their small community of coastal Georgia.

"Joropo quitapesares" by Cimarrón at 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Cimarrón, of the llanos plains region of Colombia, are masters of the joropo llanero genre. Here, these Grammy-nominated musicians perform "Joropo quitapesares" (arr. Carlos Rojas) at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival for the second time since the 2009 Las Amerícas program. The group’s new album ¡Cimarrón! Joropo Music from the Plains of Colombia is available from Smithsonian Folkways

"I’ve Got a Friend in Chicago"

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Students will listen to, analyze, and perform music created by children in the United States and for children by American folk artists.In addition, students will record their own games, songs, and chants.

"Imaginaries" by Quetzal from Imaginaries

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Songwriter and lead singer Martha Gonzáles calls Quetzal an “East LA Chican @ rock group,” summing up its roots in the complex cultural currents of barrio life, its social activism, its strong feminist stance, and its rock and roll beginnings. Here, Quetzal performs "Imagineries", the title track from its first Smithsonian Folkways release.

"I'll Be Satisfied" by Paschall Brothers

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Tidewater gospel quartet is a long and proud a cappella tradition, and the Paschall Brothers are among its last tradition-bearers. With a seemingly unbreakable family bond, the Paschall Brothers have followed in the footsteps of their father, Reverend Frank Paschall Sr. (1923–1999), who led them both philosophically and musically by example. Since the 1960s, the Tidewater style of a cappella gospel has all but disappeared. However, with the descendants of Frank Paschall Sr. the tradition continues to fulfill its purpose of bringing the good news to all those who want to hear it. Here the brothers rehearse and discuss their father's legacy at their Newport, Virginian home.

"I know a City Called Okeechobee" by Ella Jenkins at Music Center at Strathmore 2006

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Ella Jenkins sings her song "I Know a City Called Okeechobee" before a sold out crowd at the Music Center at Strathmore in 2006. The performance was part of a concert event where luminaries in the folk and children's music genre, such as Pete Seeger and Sweet Honey in the Rock, paid tribute to Ella's career and legacy.

"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.

"Froggie Went a Courtin"” by Elizabeth Mitchell from Blue Clouds

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Elizabeth Mitchell invites listeners to join her, husband Daniel Littleton, their daughter Storey, and other friends and relatives to become part of an extended musical family.

"Freight Train" by Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten (1895-1987) built her musical legacy on a firm foundation of late 19th- and early 20th-century African-American instrumental traditions and fine musicianship. She strung her guitar upside down, the bass notes to the bottom. This meant she would thumb the treble strings while finger-picking the bass notes, creating an almost inimitable sound. Her method was so influential it became known as the "Cotten style." Watch this unique style in a performance of "Freight Train," her best-known song, edited from film taken by Pete and Toshi Seeger at the Seeger family home in 1957.

"Estoy Aqui" by Quetzal at 2012 Smithsonian folklife Festival

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
East Los Angeles natives Quetzal combine traditional music with rock, salsa, R&B and more to create music that is both artful and message-driven. "Estoy aqui" (I Am Here), a funky cumbia from the Smithsonian Folkways album Imaginaries, is a call to self-determination for Mexicanos in both Mexico and the U.S.

"Estoy Aqui" by Quetzal at 2012 Smithsonian folklife Festival

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
East Los Angeles natives Quetzal perform "Estoy aqui (I Am Here)" at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

"English is Crazy (English is Kuh-ray-zee)" by Pete Seeger for Smithsonian Staff

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Now regarded as the dean of 20th-century folk singers, Pete Seeger started recording for Folkways founder Moses Asch in 1943. Asch continued to record Pete during the 1950s and beyond, with Pete eventually recording over fifty records for him and Folkways Records. Now in his eighties, Pete continues to make an occasional recording and still plays an occasional concert, where his audiences always sing along with him in unison. In 2005 he performed Josh White Jr.'s song "English Is Crazy" at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington, D.C., leading Smithsonian employees in the chorus "English is kuh-ray-zee."

"El lunar de María" by Los Tres Reyes from Romancing the Past

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Mexican trío romántico Los Tres Reyes performs "El lunar de María." This Cuban guaracha style is known for its playful innuendo. The syncopated rhythm and the tumbao bass along with the maracas add a Caribbean flavor to the teasing lyrics.

"El Violinista Oriental" by Eddy Marcano, Alfonso Moreno, Roberto Koch, Aquiles Báez and José Martínez

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Violinist Eddy Marcano joins other Venezuelan Joropo masters—Alfonso Moreno, Roberto Koch, Aquiles Báez and José Martínez—on the electrifying Alberto Valderrama original "El Violinista Oriental." From the 2009 Maestros del Joropo Oriental CD release ¡Y Que Viva Venezuela!

"El Guate" (The Foreigner) by Cimarrón

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Members of the Colombia plains ensemble Cimarrón perform "El Guate" (The Foreigner) in a Bogotá studio. Cimarrón is known for its daring interplay of harp and bandola, aggressive rhythms, and improvised melodies.

"El Circo" by Los Texmaniacs from Borders y Bailes

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Los Texmaniacs performs “El Circo” and discusses the inspiration for the band and its passion for music.

"El Alma de Puerto Rico" by Ecos de Borinquen

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
For the past 35 years, the GRAMMY and Latin Grammy–winning ensemble Ecos de Borinquen has captured the heart and soul of jíbaro creole folk traditions; with their distinctive, soulful sounds and progressive instrumentation, the group represents a unique balance between tradition and innovation.
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