This series of 24 one-hour programs explores the remarkable collection of music, spoken word, and sound recordings that make up Folkways Records (now at the Smithsonian, as Smithsonian Folkways Recordings). The music of modern day giants like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Ani Difranco is interwoven with original Folkways recordings to demonstrate the lasting legacy that Folkways Records has on popular music. Recent and archival interviews with Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Mickey Hart, Studs Terkel and others to help reveal the remarkable human stories behind this equally remarkable collection.
A Folkways Overture
The opening program in the series paints a broad canvas, presenting outstanding musical samples that reflect the strength and diversity of the Folkways collection. Included is a sampling of original and archival interviews with the many personalities featured throughout the series, including Pete Seeger, Mickey Hart and more. This program also introduces the key themes explored over the 24 programs, such as music as an instrument of social activism.
Moses Asch: Man and Myth
This episode examines the life of the founder of Folkways Records and the influences which guided his choices in building the Folkways Collection. Among those persons interviewed for this program are Moses' son, Michael Asch, Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta; Moses' biographer, Peter Goldsmith of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; and renowned folk singer Peter Seeger. Musical selections for this program reflect works which Asch himself considered particularly significant or which had a profound bearing on his work..
Folkways: An American Canon
The third program in the series explores the Folkways collection in terms of its remarkable breadth and the fascinating way in which it was catalogued by Moses Asch. The program incorporates many and varied examples of the material Asch recorded over the years, ranging from field recordings of rural blues and folk music, to ethnic recordings from around the world, to 'soundscapes', to oral history, to recordings of the poets of the Beat era, to the studio recordings of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, The Lost City Ramblers and Lead Belly.
The Anthology of American Folk Music (Part I)
This is the first of three programs that take an in-depth look at the Anthology of American Folk Music, an award-winning collection edited by Harry Smith as a commissioned project by Folkways, and recently re-released on Smithsonian Folkways. This episode focuses on the original material in the anthology and the process by which it was collected and published.
The Anthology of American Folk Music (Part II)
This is the second of three programs which take an in-depth look at the Anthology of American Folk Music. This episode tells the fascinating story of the life of film-maker, record producer and entrepreneur Harry Smith and his life-long musical odyssey, which took him across the United States and beyond.
The Anthology of American Folk Music (Part III)
This is the third of three programs which take an in-depth look at this award-winning collection compiled by eccentric record collector and folk historian Harry Smith. This episode examines the enduring legacy of the Anthology of American Folk Music, and features 'cover' versions of works found in the original Harry Smith collection.