Folklife Today tells stories about the cultural traditions and folklore of diverse communities, combining brand-new interviews and narration with songs, stories, music, and oral history from the collections of the Library of Congress's American Folklife Center.
2023 Summer Interns: Reflections and Research Guides
This episode looks back at the recent work of Joseph Z. Johnson and Deena Owens, interns who created research guides on African American Banjo Playing and on Sacred Harp singing for the American Folklife Center. The interns talked about their work and shared a few of their favorite field recordings from our collections.
The 2023 Homegrown Concert Series
This episode looks back and ahead at the 2023 Homegrown Concert series, which is currently in progress. Hosts Stephen Winick and Michelle Stefano interview the series producer Theadocia Austen and folklife specialist Doug Peach. The participants talk about the series as a whole, and each picks one or two songs for us to hear. The episode contains songs from Jake Blount, (African American folk music), Spaelimenninir (Scandinavian folk music), Christylez Bacon (Hip Hop and human beatbox), Ali Doğan Gönültaş (Kurdish music from Turkey), and Hudaki Village Band (Ukrainian music from the Carpathian mountains). It also features interview segments with Blount and Bacon.
Asian Pacific American Heritage
In this episode for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, John Fenn and Steve Winick invite guests to talk about Asian collections in the American Folklife Center. Allina Migoni talks about the earliest known recordings of Korean music, playing segments of a lecture by Robert Provine and a song sung by Ahn Jeong-Sik. Sara Ludewig discusses the Linda LaMacchia collection, including recordings made of Tibetan singers in India. Steve discusses Asian and Pacific Island collections in the Homegrown concert series, and plays a song, a story, and a flute composition by Grammy-nominated Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal. More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife
In this episode, John Fenn, Michelle Stefano, and Stephen Winick discuss Groundhog Day traditions. Drawing on the research of Don Yoder, they discuss the history and folklore of the holiday, including groundhog traditions among the Pennsylvania Dutch, groundhog songs, weather proverbs, and even cooking and eating groundhogs! Songs include two versions of “Groundhog,” one of “Fod,” and one of “Prowling Groundhog.” More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.
Scary Stories for Halloween 2022
In this episode, hosts John Fenn and Stephen Winick introduce three scary stories for you to enjoy: a witch tale told by Appalachian singer and activist Aunt Molly Jackson, a ghost story told by blues musician and gravedigger John Jackson, and the story of Jack O Lantern told by folklorist Jack Santino. Steve and John also discuss a little of the history of Halloween, and introduce the Library of Congress’s updated Halloween research guide. More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.
Caught My Eye, Caught My Ear, Staff Edition, Including Tributes to Tony Barrand and Mick Moloney
In this episode, hosts John Fenn and Stephen Winick talk with Jennifer Cutting about items that caught their eyes and ears. Cutting discusses commercial recordings of tunes collected by Cecil Sharp, and Winick tells stories of the recording sessions, which Sharp personally supervised and described in his diaries. Cutting discusses her friend, the late Tony Barrand, an important collector of morris dances. John Fenn discusses the Nagra IV portable tape deck, and Winick discusses a picture of the late Mick Moloney using the Nagra in 1977. Winick discusses Moloney, and they play music recorded by Moloney on the Nagra, including jigs played on fiddle and accordion by Liz Carroll and Tommy Maguire, and reels played on the flute by Michael Flatley. More information on the performers and the selections can be found at https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife.