The CKUA Radio Network presents Smithsonian Folkways: Sounds to Grow On, a new 26-part series featuring the original recordings of the Folkways Collection, now a cornerstone of Smithsonian Folkways Records' vast catalogue. Hosted by Michael Asch, the only child of Folkways Records' founder Moses Asch, the weekly one-hour program debuted Sunday, January 18th, 2009. This series, researched by Robert Wiznura, is a co-production of The Smithsonian Women's Committee, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, folkwaysAlive! at the University of Alberta, and the CKUA Radio Network.
It Came from Canada (Program #19)
I am originally from New York City, though Canada has been my home since 1969. But that wasn’t my first time in Canada. In 1963, through a quirk, I got a ride to Toronto and attended the Mariposa folk festival. I fell in love with Canada on that trip. At that time I had no idea that Folkways had the largest collection of Canadian music available in the world. I don’t think it is still true, but there are well over a hundred Folkways records that feature Canada and Canadians. In this show we explore them. Smithsonian Folkways: Sounds to Grow On is a 26-part series hosted by Michael Asch that features the original recordings of Folkways Records.
Jazz (Program #18)
This time, I thought we’d wander about the collection listening to a teeny bit of the Jazz that my father recorded. Given everything he did, it is easy to forget his keen interest in jazz and of his important recordings, such as for Jazz at the Philharmonic series. But rather than get caught up in the history of Jazz or the role that my father played or make an attempt at being exhaustive with the jazz recordings, I thought we would make things simple and just goose around the collection a bit. Smithsonian Folkways: Sounds to Grow On is a 26-part series hosted by Michael Asch that features the original recordings of Folkways Records.
Work Songs (Program #16)
Harold Courlander is an important figure in the history of Folkways. Well known in some circles for winning the case against Alex Haley, whose novel Roots plagiarized from Courlander’s novel The African, I think of Courlander as the early guiding spirit for what he and my father called the Ethnic series, which is the vast catalogue of what we now call world music. This time, I thought we’d feature an album Courlander put together in 1956 that documents the sensibilities he brought to this work in the immediate post-War period. Called World of Man: Volume 1, His Work, a title that situates it in the non-inclusive language of that time, the album is nonetheless a wonderful worldwide journey through the world of human labour. We’ll add other work songs from around the world in the show.
Love (Program #25)
In this program, the theme is simple: love. Love songs, courting songs, fertility songs, bridal and wedding songs. Start in North Africa with the Berbers who live in Algeria and move around the world, geographically and emotionally. ** Discretion Advised: This podcast includes language some listeners may find objectionable. The program host and Smithsonian Folkways chose not to exclude it in order to preserve the historical context of the recording.**
Struggle and Protest (Program #24)
Moses Asch was a steadfast and passionate advocate for underdogs who spoke up for themselves. He cared deeply about unions, civil rights, fights for freedom, and fights against oppression. On this show, his son Michael Asch explores the catalogue looking for songs that exemplify this commitment. Smithsonian Folkways: Sounds to Grow On is a 26-part series hosted by Michael Asch that features the original recordings of Folkways Records.
Piano (Program #23)
On this show I feature piano recordings on Folkways Records. Piano is my favourite instrument, and there is no doubt that my father’s three record companies, Asch, Disc and then Folkways, recorded some of the very best jazz and blues pianists of the 30’s 40’s and 1950’s. Smithsonian Folkways: Sounds to Grow On is a 26-part series hosted by Michael Asch that features the original recordings of Folkways Records.