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September 10, 2019
View the webcast Running time 01:04:43
View the oral history Running time 00:53:09
World Champion hoop dancer and traditional healer Jones Benally, his daughter Jeneda, his son Clayson, and his three young grandchildren form the Jones Benally Family Dancers. Navajo dance is a sacred tradition encompassing a wide variety of forms, all of which aim to heal the body, mind, or spirit. When presented outside the Navajo community, these dances are modified for public viewing, but they retain their deep capacity to move hearts and minds. The family sings, chants, plays traditional rhythm instruments, and performs a repertoire of over 20 dances, including traditional forms such as basket dance, eagle dance, feather dance, and corn grinding. They are particularly well known for the hoop dance, in which they evoke traditional figures and shapes using five, nine, a dozen, or many more hoops.
Jones Benally is a respected elder of the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona. His skill as a hoop dancer has won him worldwide acclaim and multiple world champion titles as well as the first Heard Museum Hoop Dance Legacy Award. Jones was featured as a singer in the 1993 film Geronimo. He works as a traditional healer, and was among the first traditional medical practitioners to be employed by a "Western" medical facility, where he worked for nearly 20 years. Jones Benally is also recognized by the state of Arizona as an Arizona Indian Living Treasure. Jeneda and Clayson Benally have performed with their father for over three decades, and have also made their mark (along with brother Klee) as the Native American Music Award-winning "alter-Native" punk band Blackfire. The siblings' newest project is the duo Sihasin ("hope"). Jones Benally's grandchildren are the next generation to take up the family legacy of Navajo music and dance.
August 21, 2019, Noon
View the webcast Running time 01:31:21
For the past few years at the Folk Alliance International conference, the American Folklife Center has been organizing "Archive Challenges," at which we ask an array of different folk musicians to learn material from AFC’s archive and perform it in a special showcase. Last year we brought this program here to the Library of Congress, and now we're doing so again!For this edition, AFC has invited 4 distinguished artists to dig deep into our archive and put their own creative stamp on the songs and tunes they found here. Each of the artists will perform a few songs from the archive to show what a tremendous resource it is for creative work.
Established at the Library in 1928, the AFC archive contains everything from the first wax cylinder recordings of Native American song, to John and Alan Lomax’s pioneering disc-era recordings, to recent digital documentation of folk concerts of all kinds. Best known performers in the Archive include Muddy Waters, Pete Seeger, Honeyboy Edwards, Woody Guthrie, Aunt Molly Jackson, Lead Belly, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, and Jean Ritchie… and soon, the performers in this showcase!
Seán Heely is a U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion as well as an award-winning Irish Fiddler. He also plays in Classical, Bluegrass, and Gypsy Swing styles. Seán performs locally with the bands Skylark and Glencoe Lads. He holds a degree from University of South Carolina in Classical Violin Performance, and was a 2019 Artist in Residence at Strathmore Music Center in Maryland. Seán has performed with traditional music icons such as Irish fiddle legend Liz Carroll, acclaimed Scottish fiddler Pete Clark, cello virtuoso Natalie Haas, and uilleann piper Paddy Keenan. A composer and arranger, Seán has won national awards including the 2016 Scottish Fiddling Revival’s Tune writing competition. Sean was featured on the cover of Fiddler Magazine's Winter 2018 Issue. Recently, he received the first annual Claude Martin Memorial Life Membership Award from the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, an honor granted in recognition of his significant contributions to the local folk scene while still under age 30. He is a musical ambassador for the British Embassy Scottish Affairs Office and the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington.
Chao Tian is a leading performer on the Chinese dulcimer, the director of the artistic committee of the Chinese Music Society of Greater Washington, an alumnae of the prestigious Artist in Residence program at Strathmore Music Center, and a leader of “Always Folk” ensemble. Chao Tian has established a career as a soloist, educator, advocate, and composer in traditional Chinese music and other genres. As a lecturer at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and a former member of the world renowned Twelve Girls Band, she worked many years in the discipline of musical and cultural exchange. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Musical Performance from the China Conservatory in 2010. As an ambassador of art and culture, she had performed in over 30 different countries and regions across the globe and she has collaborated with numerous acclaimed musicians in many unprecedented projects that explore connections between the musical traditions of China and the rest of the world. Her music reflects her role as a leader of a younger generation of Chinese musicians, and her understanding of traditional and contemporary music, from the east to the west.
The Washington Revels Jubilee Voices ensemble is committed to the preservation of African American history and traditions–presenting songs and stories of struggle and perseverance, trials and triumphs, as expressed through a cappella music, drama and dance. Inaugurated in 2010, the group now performs regularly at heritage sites throughout the Washington DC area, singing, sharing, and learning the stories of the people in those communities. Along with the music, Jubilee Voices also explores the poetry and writings of the period, along with first- and third-person portrayals of African Americans whose stories are a vital contribution to American history.
Kumera Zekarias is a multilingual singer-songwriter, producer, and the bandleader of Kino Musica--a five-piece band based in DC. Originally from Austin, Texas, Kumera’s diverse and reflective music is rooted in the soulful expression of blues and the bilingual traditions of the Southwest. Kumera started Kino Musica in 2014 to explore his own East African musical heritage. Recently he has conducted ethnomusicological research about the relationship between the music of the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and Afro-Colombian music from the Pacific. He recorded an EP in Bogota, Colombia in late 2018, which is slated for release in the fall. For the Homegrown Concert Series, Kumera (electric guitar & vocals) has invited local performers fluent in Ethiopian and Afro-Colombian music: his band members, Frederick Green (bombo) and Besufekad Tadesse (clarinet & backing vocals); and solo artists Thalib Razi (violin & backing vocals), Munif Mesfin (vocals), and Habtamu Negash (electric bass).
Photos Courtesy of the Artists
August 15, 2019, Noon
View the webcast Running time 00:57:31
View the webcast Running time 00:43:17
The Murphy Beds is the duo of Eamon O’Leary and Jefferson Hamer, who present traditional and original folk songs with close harmonies and deft instrumental arrangements on bouzouki, guitar, and mandolin. Eamon started playing Irish music while growing up in Dublin. When he moved to New York City in the early 90s, he immersed himself in the city’s traditional music scene and travelled widely, performing with many of the great players in Irish music. He has performed in groups such as The Alt with John Doyle and Nuala Kennedy and The Immigrant Band with John Doyle, John Herrmann, and Rafe and Clelia Stefanini, as well as solo. Jefferson is a guitarist and singer based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2013, he and songwriter Anais Mitchell won a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Child Ballads, a collection of new adaptations of English and Scottish folk songs. He also performs with Cambridge, MA roots rock ensemble Session Americana. Jefferson and Eamon have been performing together for some years now, having first met at Irish sessions in New York City. Both had a love for collecting, arranging, and performing songs from Irish, American, Scottish, and English traditions. As they began to collaborate – first in larger ensembles, but most enduringly as a duo – they also recognized an affinity for other more contemporary idioms. Whatever the source – songs of the Irish travelers, Arkansas spirituals, or their own compositions – their arrangements feature the same carefully wrought interplay of voices and strings.
August 10, 2019, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
August 7, 2019, Noon
Lakota John Locklear, born in 1997, blends traditional styles of the Delta and Piedmont acoustic blues with bottleneck slide guitar. He grew up listening to his father’s music collection and learned to love the blues. He began playing the harmonica at seven years old, and the guitar at nine. Intrigued by the sound of the slide guitar, by ten he had begun to learn slide guitar using a glass slide on his little finger. He earned two scholarships to study with the late John Cephas, Phil Wiggins, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton. He is a 2015 NAMA (Native American Music Awards) nominee and has opened for and shared the stage with Native American blues artist Pura Fe; blues icon Taj Mahal; Native blues rocker Keith Secola; blues historian and musician Scott Ainslie; Native American blues guitarist Cary Morin; and many others. Lakota John continues to learn alongside the elder blues masters, carrying on the traditional sounds of the acoustic Piedmont blues as well as electric blues guitar styles. Lakota John will be joined in concert by members of his family, who belong to the Lakota/Tuscarora and Lumbee Nations of South Dakota and North Carolina. The Lumbee Nation is the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi. It is a recognized tribe by the state of North Carolina but has gained only partial Federal recognition. Native Americans have made an often overlooked but deep contribution to the blues tradition; Charlie Patton, Scrapper Blackwell, Jesse Ed Davis, Elizabeth Cotten, Jimi Hendrix and many other blues artists claimed Indian heritage. This makes Lakota John just the latest in a long tradition of Native American blues musicians.
August 3, 2019, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
July 25, 2019, Noon
View the concert webcast Running time 01:03:42
View the oral history with the Cedric Watson Trio Running time 00:36:32
Cedric Watson, a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist, and songwriter, is one of the brightest contemporary talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music over the last decade. Cedric was born in 1983 and grew up in San Felipe, Texas, surrounded by the blues, old soul, country, and zydeco music. Though hip-hop was then popular with his peers, Cedric developed an affinity for the old-style French songs of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. He soon found himself in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he became part of the musical community and began contributing to the continuity of Creole music, quickly immersing himself in French music and language. Over the next several years, Cedric performed French music in 17 countries with various groups, including Corey Ledet, Les Amis Creole with Ed Poullard and J.B. Adams, and the Pine Leaf Boys; with this last group he added a Creole and Zydeco foundation to their Southwest Louisiana sound. He has played with some of the great names in Creole music, including Dexter Ardoin and the Creole Ramblers and Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys. Cedric continues to explore the roots of Louisiana's Creole music with his own band, Bijou Creole. Cedric's creative style and obvious joy in playing make him an engaging and exciting performer. Moving with ease between fiddle and accordion, his natural playfulness on stage makes him fun to watch. The Cedric Watson Trio also includes multi-instrumentalist Chris Stafford (of the band Feufollet) and rubboardist Desireé Champagne.
June 25, 2019, Noon
View the webcast Running time 00:54:29
Los Cenzontles (Nahuatl for The Mockingbirds) is a Mexican American group, cultural arts academy, and media production studio based in San Pablo, California. Los Cenzontles have revived and promoted little known styles of Mexican regional music since 1989, through research, performance, education, recordings, and videos. The group has collaborated with numerous artists, including David Hidalgo, Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, The Chieftains, and Flaco Jimenez. Los Cenzontles was begun in 1989 by Eugene Rodriguez as part of a California Arts Council artist residency. The goal was to create a place for area youth to learn traditional Mexican music and dance. When students' training advanced, the original touring group of Los Cenzontles was formed to showcase Mexican folk music and focus on educational outreach. That same year Eugene met Grupo Mono Blanco, leaders in the fandango movement in Veracruz, Mexico. He established a long-term international collaboration designed to bridge the Jarocho and Chicano communities. Los Cenzontles was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1994, and began performing, recording, and touring widely with several styles of Mexican music. They have since released over 30 albums and toured throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and Mexico.
June 11, 2019, 12:15 to 12:30 pm
Suliko, one of the leading vocal ensembles of the Republic of Georgia, will perform a short pop-up concert in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson building of The Library Of Congress. Sulkio will perform 15 minutes of traditional Georgian polyphonic songs. Georgian polyphonic singing was included in 2008 on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The American Folklife Center holds a number of traditional Georgian song collections in its archives.
The professional ensemble Suliko was established in the Zacharia Paliashvili State Opera and Ballet Theatre in Tbilisi in 2007. The ensemble unites the Theatre’s leading soloists performing opera, choral and Georgian folk music as well as sacred polyphonic music, and urban "Old Town Songs" from the turn of the previous century.
Presented by the American Folklife Center and the Embassy of the Republic of Georgia.
May 16, 2019, Noon
View the concert webcast Running time 01:05:36
View the oral history Running Time
California-grown, Brooklyn-based Eva Salina is a groundbreaking interpreter of Balkan Romani songs. Raised in the US Balkan Diaspora, Eva's mentors are some of the greatest living Balkan musicians. Eva's duo partner, Peter "Perica" Stan, is a Serbian/Romanian Roma accordionist known for his playful innovation and soulful, intuitive improvisations. In their collaboration, Eva Salina & Peter Stan pick up and continue an interrupted legacy of empowered female voices in Balkan Romani (gypsy) music. Amplifying voices of past generations of Romani women musicians, Eva & Peter employ tenderness, grace, passion and a commitment to keeping these songs alive and evolving, while inspiring and teaching young people in the Balkans and the Balkan diaspora to participate in their own living traditions.
May 9, 2019, Noon
View the concert webcast Running Time 00:53:48
View the Cora Harvey Armstrong Gospel Group Oral History Running Time 00:49:01
Cora Harvey Armstrong is a gospel singer, piano player, songwriter, choir director, and bandleader born and raised in King and Queen County, Virginia. Richmond-born musician and producer Bill McGee has described her as "Aretha Franklin on piano, Mahalia Jackson with her voice, and Shirley Caesar with her style." Armstrong began taking piano lessons at the age of five. She had a gift for playing by ear and soon learned to read music as well. Cora and her sisters Clara and Virginia sang for many years with their mother, the late Eva Elizabeth Harvey, as The Harvey Family. After the death of their parents, the sisters and Cora’s nieces, Clarissa and Ruthy, continue singing and praising God. Cora majored in music at Virginia State University, where she directed the internationally acclaimed VSU Gospel Chorale. For more than forty years she has been a favorite Gospel Music performer at festivals and celebrations around the country and abroad. She has toured and lectured on Gospel Music in Japan and Europe, and is a sought after artist, pianist, psalmist and preacher. In the concert she will be joined by her sisters Clara and Virginia, her nieces Kimberly, Ruthy, and Clarissa, and her band.
April 15, 2019, Noon
View the webcast Running Time 01:06:01
View the Oral History with the band Running Time 00:35:12
Mokoomba is a six-piece band that hails from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Band members Mathias Muzaza, Trustworth Samende, Abundance Mutori, Donald Moyo, Ndaba Coster Moyo, and Miti Mugande grew up together in Chinotimba Township, Victoria Falls, and share similar cultural influences. They perform music celebrating their Zimbabwean culture and traditions interpreted for modern audiences, using several languages, including Tonga, Shona, Luvala, Ndebele, and English. They describe their music as a fusion of traditional music fused with local, regional and international influences to achieve "a sound that is danceable, sweet, and emotionally engaging." Facing the challenges of social division in Zimbabwe, they strive to perform music that brings diverse peoples together. While they began by seeking to please local audiences, their music is now international and the band has performed in over 40 countries. The six band members grew up together in Chinotimba Township and crossed paths in school. This northwestern corner of Zimbabwe borders Zambia, Botswana, and a touch of Namibia, with Malawi not far. The tribal groups who long populated this region prior to European colonization include the Tonga, Luvalle, and Njanja tribes, although others have come to live in this area including the Ndebele. Mokoomba band members have roots in these tribal groups. Victoria Falls is both the name of the town and the name of the spectacular falls on the great Zambesi River. The band members chose the name Mokoomba, a Tonga word that signifies great respect for the river.
March 21, 2019, Noon
View the webcast Running time 00:59:18
View the Oral History Running time 00:37:48
The Alash Ensemble are masters of Tuvan throat singing, a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Masters of traditional Tuvan instruments as well as the art of throat singing, Alash are deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and culture. At the same time, they are fans of western music. Believing that traditional music must constantly evolve, the musicians subtly infuse their songs with western elements, creating their own unique style that is fresh and new, yet true to their Tuvan musical heritage. All members of Alash were trained in traditional Tuvan music since childhood, first learning from their families, and later becoming students of master throat singers. Bady-Dorzhu Ondar performs vocals and plays igil and guitar. Ayan-ool Sam performs vocals and plays doshpuluur, igil, and guitar. Ayan Shirizhik performs vocals and plays kengirge, shyngyrash, shoor, murgu, and xomus. Sean Quirk is the interpreter and manager of the group. The ensemble is named for the Alash River, which runs through the northwestern region of Tuva.
March 21, 2019
View the webcast Running Time 01:04:11
View the Oral History with the band Running time 00:39:56
Vishtèn is an award winning Canadian band that performs both traditional and original Acadian music with rock energy. Their original "neo-traditional" compositions blend updated versions of French and Celtic genres. The trio comprises multi-instrumentalists Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc from the Evangeline Region of Prince Edward Island, and Magdalen Islands’ native, Pascal Miousse. These three artists are accomplished solo musicians as well. Located off the north coast of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island is home to a small but thriving a Francophone Acadian community with a rich tradition of song and instrumental music. Nearby, the even smaller archipelago of the Magdalen Islands (les Îles de la Madeleine) is predominantly Francophone, recognized for its distinctive French dialect, songs and unique fiddling style. All three members of Vishtèn were raised in homes in which traditional music, percussive dance and kitchen parties were part of everyday life. Together, they pay homage to their traditions and to the historic and strong musical connections between their two island Acadian communities.
This concert was presented in celebration of International Francophone Culture Month with support from the Embassy of Canada
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