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    2019 Favorites from Smithsonian Folkways and Smithsonian Folklife

    As we close out 2019, we can't help but look back at some of our favorite moments of this past year. In celebration of the closing of this yearly chapter, we asked our staff at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, folks from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Smithsonian Folklife, and the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Digital Collections, to let us know about their favorite parts of 2019.

    Halle Butvin - Director of Special Projects

    • Best Tiny Desk Concert: Lizzo, hands down (for me and nearly 5M other people)
    • Best (most-listened to) song: PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ by Rosalía
    • Best book (fiction): Pachinko (I'm aware this was a very big deal in 2017, it's hard to keep up, and it's still an excellent book).
    • Best binge watch: Unbelievable on Netflix
    • Best meal: Al Shams, Anjar, Lebanon with Armenian friends (also largest restaurant, longest meal, and probably most food consumed in one sitting). A close second would be waiting for an hour in 100 degree heat with Anne Pedersen to eat pad Thai at Thipsamai in Bangkok

    Erica Daudelin – Advancement Associate: Top 5 Food Trucks – in no particular order, I am not trying to have people fight me on this:

    • Corn Factory
    • Thai Happy Bellies
    • Tempo Di Pasta
    • KT Pizza
    • Cluck Truck

    Erin Dowdy – Production Manager for the Smithsonian Year of Music: Top 5 Books She Read in 2019:

    • A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    • The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
    • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
    • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    • The Library Book by Susan Orlean

    Rebecca Fenton – Folklife Curator: Top Snacks of 2019:

    Anne Pedersen – CFCH Project Manager: My top 5 favorite cultural sustainability outputs

    Fred Knittel – Marketing Specialist: 10 Songs I Obsessively Listened to in 2019:

    Seth Langer – Marketing & Licensing Assistant: Top 5 DC Murals:

    Cecilia Peterson – Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collection Digital Projects Archivist: Top 5 Albums of 2019 (in order):

    • Bombadil – Beautiful Country
    • White Reaper – You Deserve Love
    • Gente de Zona – Otra Cosa
    • Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
    • Electric Guest – Kin
    • Top Five Honorable Mentions: Carly Rae Jepson – Dedicated, King Princess – Cheap Queen, Andrew Bird – My Finest Work Yet, JR JR – Invocations/Conversations, Maluma – 11:11

    Jonathan Williger – Smithsonian Folkways Marketing Manager: 5 powerful musical experiences of 2019:

    • Caterina Barbieri’s album Ecstatic Computation
    • Voice of the Valley, where I got to see W00dy, Moth Cock, LXV, Mukqs, and about 40 other artists.
    • Young Thug’s album So Much Fun
    • Seeing Angel Bat Dawid at the Sandlot
    • Claire Rousay residency at Rhizome and digging deep into quiet performances
    • (bonus) – the musical output of Emily Sprague/Florist which seemed to counter everything else I was experiencing
    2019 Favorites from Smithsonian Folkways and Smithsonian Folklife | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings