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Songs for the Easter Season: Polyphonic Singing from the Republic of Georgia

Georgian polyphonic singing has a rich and ancient past. It predates Christianity and its pre-Christian roots are alive today in secular songs such as lullabies, harvest, hunting, and wedding songs. The Christian songs survived a dark time while Georgia was part of the Soviet Union, as the tradition was banned from 1921 to 1990. Monks […]

Homegrown Plus: Ara Dinkjian & Zulal Concert and Oral History

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with a concert and oral history with Ara Dinkjian and the Zulal trio. In May 2015 Ara Dinkjian, a master of the oud, […]

Homegrown Plus: Alash Ensemble Performs the Music of Tuva

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with a concert and oral history with the Alash Ensemble The Alash Ensemble are masters of techniques for singing multiple pitches at […]

Homegrown Plus: Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers with Chum Ngek Ensemble

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with a concert and oral history with the Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers with Chum Ngek Ensemble. The Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers and Chum Ngek Ensemble […]

Homegrown Plus: Onnik & Ara Dinkjian: Armenian Song

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with a concert and oral history with Armenian American musicians Onnik and Ara Dinkjian. Onnik Dinkjian, 89 years old at the time […]

Songs of Great Lakes Ships and Shipping

In 1938 Alan Lomax embarked on his first solo recording trip, available on the Library of Congress website as Alan Lomax Collection of Michigan and Wisconsin Recordings. Among these recordings are songs of the local history of ships and shipping on the Great Lakes. One of my mother’s brothers and his family lived on the […]

Caught My Ear: “Sentenced to Death” by Andrew Gallagher

The following was written by Hannah Rose Baker, a musician from Boston, MA, who recently completed an internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In 1938, in Beaver Island, Michigan, Andrew Gallagher, known locally as “Andy Mary Ellen,” sang a song called “Sentenced to Death” for Alan Lomax, who was collecting folk music […]