New Ella Jenkins Album A Life of Song Available February 22
On February 22, the African American Legacy Series, a joint production of Smithsonian Folkways and the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture will release A Life of Song from musician and educator Ella Jenkins, known as "The First Lady of Children's Music."
On A Life of Song, her 29th release for Folkways since 1957, Jenkins offers stories and songs that speak to her years growing up as an African American child in multicultural Chicago. Children from Chicago's Donoghue Elementary and Horace Greeley Elementary schools join her in call-and-response singing on well-known songs including "Pick a Bale of Cotton" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," a world that in Jenkins' version includes Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Sacajawea, and John F. Kennedy. The album's 21 tracks also include songs from Ella's 1920s Chicago childhood such as "One Two Three O'Leary," which in this rendition is sung both in English and Spanish. 13 songs from 'A Life of Song' were recorded by Ella for the first time for this release.
The album is part of the 2011 Smithsonian celebration of Black History Month.
To learn more about Ella Jenkins, please listen to this new episode of Sound Sessions from Smithsonian Folkways featuring an hour-long interview with the legendary artist.