I’ve been an admirer of the Folkways catalogue for almost as far back as I can recall. One of the first records I listened to with some frequency as a young child was Howard Finster’s “Man of Many Voices” - a gift from family friends Art and Margo Rosenbaum, who recorded and produced that wild and fantastic album. As a tween I mail ordered cassette tapes from the label, many of which I still have and listen to, and later in my high school years when my fascination with field recordings of vernacular and traditional musics took a more serious turn, I was happy to discover that my local public library (in Columbus, Georgia) still had many of the old Folkways LPs in circulation. They were all vibrant and exciting, life changing stuff, and I loved reading all the insert booklets about accordion waltzes from Quebec or idiophonic music from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec or lined out congregational hymn singing from wiregrass Georgia. I loved it all. I see Smithsonian Folkways as one of the great repositories of humankind, so I was touched when the people at the label asked me to put this playlist together of a few of my favorites. It’s only barely scratching the surface, of course. I hope you enjoy these recordings and that maybe you’ll feel compelled to keep listening here and beyond.
Listen on Pandora here