Skip to main content

People's Picks: Lankum

People's Picks: Lankum
People's Picks: Lankum | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

This was both an easy and tricky playlist to assemble. Tricky because of the sheer volume and variety of music and art that Smithsonian Folkways has released and easy as I'm already familiar with many titles. An absolute joy nonetheless.

I kind of forgot the degree of influence Smithsonian Folkways has had on the development of my taste in music and exposure to different sounds from different parts of the world. Several of the tracks represent points in time for me and various musical memories. The exchange of songs and tunes has been a bedrock of how I socialize and express myself, how I’ve made many friends and many memories particularly through Irish traditional music and through American Old Time.

I enjoy listening to different interpretations of the same tune and hearing the different execution and energy brought by each player. For example, the “Fox Chase” by Roscoe Holcomb which slowly gains momentum in the chase and repetition, versus the version played by James Applewhite where the chase is full of shouts, a different vigour and a completely different intensity. Even the two being in different keys brings a sharp contrast.

The variety of titles and music available on Smithsonian is amazing and an incredible source of culture and knowledge. A great rabbit hole to descend into.

Irish quartet Lankum fashion bold, contemporary music from traditional songs. Lankum’s breakthrough album The Livelong Day won the 2019 RTE Choice Music Prize - the Irish equivalent of the Grammy for Album of the Year - and reached the #8 spot on NPR Music’s Best Albums of the Year list. Their 2023 album False Lankum, a thrilling, tactile opus, was short-listed for the Mercury Prize. Revivifying folk music with heavy drones, harmony, and sonic distortion, Lankum imparts new intensity and beauty into each of their songs.
Apple Music


Listen on Pandora here