Sounds of California

Reflections on the Sounds of California

In many ways, the 2016 Folklife Festival represented a rallying cry, an alliance, a remarkable display of kinship and respect. Artists, musicians, and performers celebrated their cultural identities in a space that allowed them to share their stories in their own words. The buoyant strains … Continue reading Reflections on the Sounds of California

TmbaTa: “Gaceq teseq” (Գացեք տեսեք)

Smiles creep onto the performers’ faces as they catch each other’s eye, their uninhibited joy infecting the crowd. After all, they have come from practicing at an after-school program in Armenia all the way to performing on the National Mall of the United States. The … Continue reading TmbaTa: “Gaceq teseq” (Գացեք տեսեք)

Making Life Richer: The Importance of Sharing Culture

My time as an intern this summer was spent exploring the Smithsonian Folklife Festival through the lens of a camera: the traditional Mixteco masks and chivarras, the joyous shouts and whistles of the Basque dancers, the jubilant cheers at the end of an evening concert. … Continue reading Making Life Richer: The Importance of Sharing Culture

A Thousand Things Connected:
FandangObon at the Festival

It was the Fourth of July, and it was raining. Martha González, lead singer and songwriter of GRAMMY-winning band Quetzal, had just finished performing in a lively FandangObon performance at the 2016 Folklife Festival. During our interview, she said that she recognized us as audience … Continue reading A Thousand Things Connected:
FandangObon at the Festival

Filosofía Caribeña: Transmitting Afro-Cuban Sacred Traditions through Song

In 1937, Cuban public radio broadcast for the first time the sounds of the batá drums. Danzones and boleros were popular in 1937, but these genres, though they carried various degrees of African influence, are largely based in the European forms and expressed nothing as boldly African as the rhythms … Continue reading Filosofía Caribeña: Transmitting Afro-Cuban Sacred Traditions through Song