Madison Bunch joined Smithsonian Folkways in November 2017 to assist with royalties and financial operations. She holds a dual degree in woodwind performance and business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to joining the Smithsonian team she worked for the GEICO Claims Department in the Management Development Program and as a private flute instructor. She has been performing and competing as a flutist in the Mid-Atlantic area since 2003.
Cecille Chen joined Smithsonian Folkways in 2013 and is responsible for contracts, copyrights and royalties. She brings more than a decade of experience in entertainment law and artist management, having previously handled licensing, publishing administration, digital music distribution, royalties, and bookings. Cecille’s professional interest in arts management stems from internships at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Public Broadcasting Service, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She holds an undergraduate business degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from The George Washington University School of Law. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.
Logan Clark joined Smithsonian Folkways in August 2017. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA in March 2017, focusing on marimba music in contemporary Mayan migrant communities in Los Angeles and Guatemala. She has also conducted graduate research on Mayan traditional dance as intangible cultural heritage, as well as independent radio and tastemaking. She has administrative and programming experience with a variety of organizations, including the World Musical Instrument Center at UCLA, Ethnomusicology Review, the Fowler Museum, and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. Logan plays and sings mariachi music, and was a member of UCLA’s official mariachi, Mariachi de Uclatlán, for six years.
Toby Dodds came to the Center in April, 2001. Since that time he has helped introduce many technology innovations at the Center including the launch of Smithsonian Global Sound and the digitization of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian he was employed by the Experience Music Project, a music museum in Seattle. He holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Masters in Library and Information Science degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Claudia Foronda joined the staff of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in October 2012. Claudia is our Inventory manager, accounting for all our collections. She also, manages the Folkways Shop (mail order department) and brings to this an extensive background in customer relations. She previously worked in the Graphics and Customer Service departments for the Ecommerce site “Birthday in a Box.” She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with an integrative arts degree; and she is overjoyed to incorporate the Folklife Center into her life and art.
Beshou Gedamu joined Smithsonian Folkways in October 2014 to assist with customer service, fulfillment, and a project with Richard Burgess. She holds a B.A. in information systems management from Bridgewater College in Virginia. She previously worked as the marketing director for fashion company Bernos, social media manager for Brooklyn Bodega and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, and a digital media specialist for D.C.-based production company HedRush Music, working on the D.C. Loves Dilla concert. Beshou was born in the Ivory Coast with family heritage from Ethiopia.
William Griffin joined Smithsonian Folkways in early 2013 and works with creative professionals in film, television, theater, video games, and advertising, as well as educators, scholars, and museum curators, to pair recordings from the Smithsonian Folkways catalog with a variety of visual and multimedia projects. Previously, William worked for nearly a decade in a variety of roles such as A&R, production management, and as director of music licensing at ESL Music — the independent Washington DC record label founded by electronic dance music group Thievery Corporation. William earned a BA in English from The George Washington University, and has worked as a political media analyst and as a professional club DJ playing venues nationwide, including a longtime weekly residency at DC's Eighteenth Street Lounge.
Meredith Holmgren joined the Center in 2012 after seven years of experience overseas, primarily in Europe and Asia. She currently serves as the program manager for education and cultural sustainability initiatives. She also leads the Smithsonian's pan-institutional project on intangible cultural heritage, where she serves as principal investigator. Her professional interests span ethnomusicology, cultural heritage policy, sociocultural research, Asian studies, and education. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked with the International Institute for Asian Studies, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Council for Traditional Music, Freemuse, and UCLA's Center for Intercultural Performance. She holds an M.Phil. in Asian studies (Leiden), an M.A. in cultural anthropology and development sociology (Leiden), a PGCert. in Asia-Pacific Leadership (East-West Center/University of Hawai’i at Manoa), and a B.A. in ethnomusicology (UCLA). She is a member of several professional organizations and holds service leadership positions with the Smithsonian's Institutional Review Board, Smithsonian Music, and the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.
Fred Knittel joined the staff of Smithsonian Folkways in May 2016 to assist with marketing & distribution activities related to the extensive back catalog. He holds an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Music Industry from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the organization, Fred worked as the Volunteer & Student Coordinator at WXPN, a leading East Coast non-commercial radio station. At WXPN, he continues to host a weekly "folk and beyond" radio program called Folkadelphia.
Helen Lindsay has worked in the mail order department of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings since November 1999. Her duties include artist relations, quality control for artists and domestic accounts orders and overall customer service for any customer.
Mary Monseur joined the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in 1993. Together with her colleagues at Smithsonian Folkways, she has worked with scholars and artists worldwide to produce more than 300 recordings. She received a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona and an M.A. in English with a folklore concentration from George Mason University.
Jeff Place has been at the Center’s Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections since 1988. He holds an MLS from the University of Maryland and specializes in sound archives. He oversees the cataloging of the Center's collections and has been involved in the compilation of almost sixty CDs of American music for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings including the Lead Belly Legacy Series, Lead Belly Sings for Children; the Pete Seeger American Favorite Ballads series; and The Asch Recordings (Woody Guthrie). Place has been nominated for six GRAMMY Awards and twelve Indie Awards, winning two GRAMMYs and six Indies. He was one of the producers and writers of the acclaimed 1997 edition of the Anthology of American Folk Music and The Best of Broadside, 1962-1988 (2000). He has served on the curatorial team for a number of exhibitions including the traveling Woody Guthrie exhibition This Land is Your Land. In 2003, he co-curated the Smithsonian Folklife Festival program on Appalachian culture. In 2012, he is produced and co-authored (with Robert Santelli) the publication and CD-box set Woody at 100 and the Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Collection in 2014.
Anthony Seeger is an anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, and musician. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His research has concentrated on the music of Amazonian Indians in Brazil, where he lived for nearly ten years between. In 1982 he returned to the United States as Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music. In 1988 he moved to the Smithsonian Institution to assume the direction of Folkways Records and to become the curator of the archival collections of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. In 2000 he accepted a position as Professor in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and was appointed Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian. Seeger is the author of four books and over fifty articles on anthropological, ethnomusicological, archival, intellectual property, and Indian rights issues.
Sayem Sharif joined Smithsonian Folkways in February 2014 with over 10 years of corporate accounting and business management experience. Prior to joining Folkways, Sayem worked in an outsourcing accounting firm as financial controller. His expertise includes management of staff, strategic planning, budget preparation, financial statement presentation, and tax preparation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in accounting. He is a member of the American Institute of CPA, Maryland CPA, and Project Management Institute. Sayem is actively engaged with the Bangladeshi community of the D.C. metro area. He was involved in forming a nonprofit organization called Ektara, Inc., which provides a platform for upcoming talent through various folk-based cultural programs. Sayem is a life-long fan of the Washington Redskins and the Manchester United soccer club.
Daniel Sheehy joined the Smithsonian in 2000. Prior to this, he served as director of Folk & Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts (1992-2000) and staff ethnomusicologist and assistant director (1978-1992). A Fulbright-Hays scholar in Veracruz, Mexico, he earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA. He co-edited the South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean (1998) volume of the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. His book Mariachi Music in America: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture was published by Oxford University Press in 2006. The American Folklore Society honored him with the Américo Paredes award (2010), recognizing a career of excellence in integrating scholarship and engagement with the people and communities one studies, and the Benjamin A. Botkin prize (1997), recognizing major impact on the field of public folklore.
John Smith brings over two decades of music industry experience in his second tour of duty at Smithsonian Folkways, this time as Associate Director of Operations. In his first tour from 1999-2014, he served countless roles in the organization, including head of the sales department, international distribution manager, and manager of operations for the Sales & Mail Order division. Over the years, Smith produced and compiled numerous albums released on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and has worked under all three directors of the organization since Folkways Records was acquired by Smithsonian in 1987. Outside of his time at Smithsonian Folkways, Smith applied his skills at numerous record labels and radio stations, in addition to co-founding with Dr. Erica Haskell the GRAMMY-nominated Free Dirt Records & Service Co. in 2006.
Stephanie Smith came to the Center in 1995 as assistant archivist and became archives director in 2014. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Scottish ethnology from the University of Edinburgh, and a master’s degree in library science from the University of North Carolina. Stephanie’s archival focuses include digital asset management, collections management and preservation, and project management. Her research specialties are English country dance; Scottish, English, and Appalachian folk music and dance traditions; and the British and American folk revival. Stephanie co-produced a documentary film about English country dance in America, due out on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 2016. She is an active member of the International Council for Traditional Music Ethnochoreology Study Group and presents her research at biennial study group symposia. Her current research focuses on American contra dance in urban contexts.
Sandy Wang joined the Center in 2011 as a web designer and developer. She holds a degree in communication and interactive design from Northern Virginia Community College as well as a Master of Economic Sciences degree from Université d’Orléans, France.
Jonathan Williger joined the Smithsonian Folkways team as the Marketing Manager in November 2018 to expand the label's digital marketing initiatives and reimagine how fans discover music the label releases. Prior to that he worked in New York and Los Angeles as a senior music publicist at Motormouthmedia, where he lead campaigns for a diverse array of artists as well as music festivals. Jonathan got his first full-time job in the music industry at the pioneering independent label Thrill Jockey Records in Chicago. He has been a regular DJ on WNYU and WFMU, and his writing on music has been published by Pitchfork, Noisey, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, and Tiny Mix Tapes.
Brian Zimmerman joined Smithsonian Folkways in September 2015. He holds a B.S. in business marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University and has spent the last five years working in various facets of the music industry, including independent radio, music marketing and PR, and venue management. He also works for I.M.P Productions at the 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Michael Asch is an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist in Canada. He is a fellow at the Royal Society of Canada and is a faculty member at the University of Victoria. His research includes the study of treaty relations with tribal peoples. He is also the son of Folkways’ founder Moses Asch
Quetzal Flores is a Chicano artivista who has participated in multiple moments of radical transformation. His goal is to help musicians from the community articulate their realities through music production.
Suni Paz is an Argentinian singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, folklorist, translator, and teacher. She is part of the progressive Latin American Music movement known as nueva canción. She has recorded over four hundred songs for children, including eight CDs on the Smithsonian Folkways label.
Brian Pertl is the Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. He is nationally recognized for the idea that bringing together a deep liberal arts education and world-class conservatory training will give musicians the best possible preparation. He also serves as an active music educator, performer, and lecturer.
Anthony Seeger has always been a great supporter of world music. He served as Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings from 1988 to 2000. He was also a Distinguished Professor in UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology from 2000 to 2012. His research focuses on music and worldview of the Kisedje Indigenous group in inner Brazil. He has also been heavily involved with UNESCO and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention of 2003.
Deborah Wong is an American academic, educator, and ethnomusicologist. She has been a Professor of Music at the University of California, Riverside, since 1996. She specializes in the musics of Thailand and Asian America.
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings PO BOX 37012, MRC 520, CG 2001 Washington, DC 20013 USA
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 600 Maryland Ave, SW, Ste 2001 Washington, DC 20024 USA