Skip to main content
  • The Social Power of Music

    What role does music play in your life? Is it for solitary enjoyment or social interaction? In this interview, music scholar Oliver Wang describes the social power of music to form connections and communities regardless of boundaries and backgrounds.

    Oliver came to the 2016 Folklife Festival as a presenter for the Sounds of California program, working with Asian American electronic and hip-hop artists from Los Angeles and the Bay Area. In October 2015, he submitted to us a Talk Story article, “Songs for Ourselves: An Asian American Music Playlist.”

    Oliver Wang is an associate professor of sociology at California State University, Long Beach. He has also written on pop music, culture, and politics for a variety of publications, including NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and his own Soul Sides blog. His book Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area (2015) is published by Duke University Press.

    Videography: John Wetmore
    Production and text: Elisa Hough
    Sound recordist: Helen Lehrer
    Editing: Alexis Ligon
    Music: Low Leaf

    The 2016 Sounds of California Smithsonian Folklife Festival program was co-produced with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Radio Bilingüe, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Smithsonian Latino Center.


  • Support the Center and our important work, including the Folklife Festival, Folkways Recordings, exhibitions, films, and educational materials.

    .