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Pamyua. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Pamyua’s Modern Yup’ik Drumsongs

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're excited to continue the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Pamyua, a trio performing traditional Inuit (Yup'ik) drumsongs from Alaska with a distinct and unique American sound. As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! Together for more than 15 years, Pamyua (pronounced Bum yo-ah) has entertained millions with their fusion of traditional Inuit music and Yup’ik dance performance. Founding members Phillip Blanchett, Stephen Blanchett and Ossie Kairaiuak are from the Yukon/ Kuskokwim River Delta region in southwestern Alaska. Pamyua found national recognition in 2003, winning Record of the Year at the Native American Music Awards, and is now considered a cultural treasure across the circumpolar north. Native People magazine praised their "blizzard of interlocking harmonies" and Alaska magazine rated them "one of the 10 greatest Alaska artists of the millennium." The group has performed at distinguished events worldwide, including the 25th Anniversary of Greenlandic home rule, which was attended by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

A man plays ukulele

Homegrown Plus Premiere: ‘Ukulele Master Herb Ohta, Jr.

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with international recording artist Herb Ohta, Jr., who is one of today's most prolific ʻukulele masters. In this blog you'll find an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! We're very excited to present Herb Ohta, Jr. in the series. Influenced by jazz, R&B, Latin and Brazilian music, as well as traditional Hawaiian sounds, he puts his stamp on Hawaiian music by pushing the limits of tone and technique on this beautiful instrument. The son of ʻukulele legend "Ohta-san," he started playing at the age of three, and began teaching at the age of nine. Based in Honolulu, he shares the music of Hawaiʻi and the beauty of the ʻukulele with people around the world, performing concerts and conducting instructional workshops. As a special treat, Herb asked his good friend Jake Shimabukuro to join him for a medley of traditional Hawaiian songs. Shimabukuro, also a Honolulu native, is one of the most highly acclaimed ʻukulele players in the world, and has collaborated with many great musicians, including Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Loggins, and Amy Mills. He's never forgotten his roots in Hawaiian music, though, and was kind enough to join Herb in his Homegrown concert.

Black and white image of four women, purple block with words "I AM NOT INVISIBLE 3.0" panel discussion March 8th at 6PM - Veterans Affairs Center for women veterans logo, Veterans History Project Logo

Celebrate International Women’s Day with I am Not Invisible 3.0 Women Veteran Panel

Posted by: Kerry Ward

The following is a post about the upcoming Veterans History Project (VHP) virtual discussion panel, “I Am Not Invisible 3.0” Women veterans panel discussion.   March is Women’s History Month, a time for the veteran community to draw its attention to the two-million women who wore our nation’s uniform. Women veterans are our family members, friends and …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Outgoing Archive Director Leaves Big Shoes to Fill

Posted by: Stephen Winick

From late December 2012 through early June 2021, Nicole Saylor led a team of archivists, ethnomusicologists and folklorists that curates the nation’s largest ethnographic archives. She worked to preserve the American Folklife Center’s collecting legacy while accelerating the transformation of an already well-established archives for the digital age. She recently took a position at the Library as the Chief of the Digital Innovation Lab, a position established to lead the Library’s innovation with digital collections and to support its digital transformation. As she began her new position, we interviewed her about her time at AFC.

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Summer Festivals and Celebrations

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Summer solstice was traditionally a time of revelry as the end of planting and the beginning of summer were celebrated. As the summer crops ripen, the fruit of the labor of planting is celebrated in various ways, especially the harvest of staple crops. The grain and hay harvests in late July and early August is …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

“God put the good stuff where lazy people can’t have any”: Exploring West Virginia Foodways in a New AFC Film Series

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

The following is a guest post by West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, who directs the West Virginia Folklife Program, based at the West Virginia Humanities Council. AFC staff have been working with Emily, as well as Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, to co-produce the Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia program, …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Langston Hughes on the Folklife Today Podcast

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Season 3, Episode 8 of the Folklife Today Podcast is ready for listening! Find it at the link from this post to the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher. In this episode  John Fenn and I, along with guests Langston Collin Wilkins and Sophie Abramowitz, look at Langston Hughes as a “Hidden Folklorist.” As usual, I'll present links to the relevant blog posts and audio selections in this post!

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Inside Out: Memories from Inside the Closet

Posted by: Kerry Ward

The following is a guest blog post by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Director of the Museum of American Military Family and Learning Center in Tijeras, New Mexico. June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month.  This month-long celebration demonstrates how LGBTQ+ Americans have strengthened our country by using their talent and creativity …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Puertorriqueños de Estados Unidos: Identity, Arts, and Culture

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean. Puerto Rican migration to the mainland United States has largely been driven by economic necessity, whether of individuals’ needs to earn more to support themselves and their families, or large scale economic events such as the Great Depression and other …