Folk Music



Afro-American Children’s Singing Games
DBM 1185
Dr. Linda Worton discusses the cultural importance of singing games and traces them from their roots in Africa until today.

Music of Africa
DBM 192
Against a background of West African music, Nigerian composers Bela Shawanda and Solomon Lorie discuss the interaction of African and European music.

Music of North Africa
DBM 398
Contends that sophistication of African music results from the integration of art and music with daily life.

Music of West Africa
DBM 325
Introduction to the rich musical heritage of the peoples of the African coast.


Calypso Jamaica
DBM 3684
Collection of African-Caribbean vocal selections with instrumental accompaniment. A Smithsonian Folkways title.


An Aaron Copland Portrait
DBM 134
Interview with Aaron Copland, who discusses the use of folk material in his opera The Tender Land.

American Folksongs for Men: To You with Love/Bob Ross
DBM 3658
Bob Ross plays guitar and sings several American folksong classics. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Andrew Rowan Summers
DBM 3657
Folksong songs and dulcimer playing by native Virginian Andrew Summers. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Bernice Reagon and Jean Ritchie
DBM 271
Pete Seeger joins gospel singer Bernice Reagon and singer/dulcimer player Jean Ritchie in this selection of folk songs.

Bourgeois Blues: Lead Belly
DBM 3641
A record of Lead Belly’s performances recorded by Moses Asch during the 1940s. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Buffy Sainte-Marie and Pete Seeger
DBM 26
Pete Seeger concentrates on the banjo and its history; Buffy Sainte-Marie joins him to exchange songs and conversation.

Clark Kessinger, Fiddler: Live at Union Grove
DBM 3670
Recorded live at the 1968 Union Grove Fiddlers’ Contest. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Clark Kessinger, Fiddler: Old-time Country Music
DBM 3666
Features old-time country music and includes both banjo and guitar accompaniment. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Classic Country Music
DBM 3645
Bill Malone documents country music’s past and offers a cross-section of the newer performers and styles. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Collecting Folk Songs
DBM 276
In this lecture, MacEdward Leach, folk song collector, describes how he goes about the business of collecting songs from individuals and communities.

The Cornwall Furnace
DBM 103
Folksinger Oscar Brand sings songs about the Cornwall Furnace in Pennsylvania.

Cowboy Songs
DBM 255
Ex-cowboy and artist Terry Jackson sings cowboy songs and tells about how riding and roping really were.

Dave Van Ronk Sings
DBM 3669
Dave Van Ronk sings several selections of the blues. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger
DBM 96
Peggy Seeger and friends sing Scottish, English, and American folk songs.

Folk Songs of Early America
DBM 107
This program includes hymns, ballads, and virginal pieces played by early American settlers in Virginia and New England.

Frankie and Johnny
DBM 177
This lecture explores the origins of the Frankie and Johnny story and song.

French Canadian Folk Music
DBM 253
This lecture discusses some of the problems between Quebec and the rest of Canada and presents orchestrations of songs and original compositions by French-Canadian composers.

Gazette with Pete Seeger, 12-String Banjo, and Guitar
DBM 3651
Pete Seeger shows that American folk music is still a living, vital, creative force in our lives. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

The Great American Song Bag
DBM 1146
American history through a sampling of songs.

Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard: Pioneering Women of Bluegrass
DBM 3671
Their widely admired performances made them role models for future generations of women in bluegrass. Favorite songs of the artists. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Hillbilly and Mountain Ballads
DBM 86
This program traces the origins of hillbilly music from its beginning in the 1920s.

Ian and Sylvia
DBM 198
The folk team Ian and Sylvia sing some of their own compositions as well as folk songs from America and Scotland.

The Incompleat Folk Singer
DBM 294
Folk singer Pete Seeger sings some of his favorite ballads and discusses his controversial life and his book.

Joel Chandler Harris: Storyteller
DBM 920
“Uncle Remus” folk stories are presented along with folk songs.

John Jacob Niles Sings Folk Songs
DBM 3667
A collection of Anglo-American folksongs from the early twentieth century. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Labor Ballads
DBM 139
Describes the relationship between labor songs and the early development of labor unions.

The Life and Music of Lily May Ledford
DBM 778
Appalachian musician Lily May Ledford plays her fiddle and banjo, and describes efforts to preserve old-time Appalachian music traditions.

Lumbering Songs
DBM 174
Professor Edward Ives and Horace Beck discuss nineteenth-century folklore and song legends of lumbering men from Maine to Minnesota.

Memphis Slim, Favorite Blues Singers
DBM 3668
Performances and interview with blues singer Memphis Slim. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Mr. Edison’s Marvelous Memory Machine
DBM 1019
A historical look at recordings and recording technology illustrated with examples by famous personalities.

Music in the New World
DBM 721
Series about music of the Laotian, southern Slavic, Tai Dam, and Afro-Cuban communities in the United States. Immigrants talk about what their music means to them in their new land.

Music of the Bayou
DBM 99
A short lecture on the music and traditions of the Cajun people who came from Canada to settle in Louisiana during the eighteenth century.

Music of the Range and Trail
DBM 178
The life of the American and Mexican cowboys as pictured in ballad and song. Two of the songs included are “The Old Chisolm Trail” and “Get Along, Little Dogie.”

Music of Smoke and Steel
DBM 176
In this lecture, the song “John Henry,” compositions by Ernst Bacon, and other music of the workers are presented.

Richmond Blues
DBM 3642
John Cephas and Phil Wiggins document the Virginia Piedmont tradition. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Sam Hinton Sings the Song of Men: All Sorts and Kinds
DBM 3683
A collection of songs for all sorts of men. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

The Singer as Activist
DBM 113
Interview with folk singer Joan Baez and her family and friends.

Song Book of the Old World
DBM 363
Mike Whorf plays and discusses the origin of traditional songs.

Songs of Square Dancing
DBM 407
Jean Ritchie visits her home in Viper, Kentucky where she talks with her mother and other relatives about the evolution of the play party from the square dance.

Songs of the New World
DBM 323
Wide and varied look at the music and songs of the New World.

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee
DBM 316
Pete Seeger reminisces and plays music with legendary blues musicians Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Both familiar and new music is heard.

Star Spangled Harmony
DBM 1015
Our United States history in music. Includes information on “Yankee Doodle,” “What a Country,” “America the Beautiful,” and our folk song heritage.

Styles of Folk Songs
DBM 339
Tristram Coffin and John Greenway trace the development of the folk song in America from its beginnings in England to modern times.

That Crazy American Music
DBM 1108
Historical review of American music from its beginning with the Pilgrims.

This Land Is Your Land
DBM 216
This lecture by Oscar Brand describes the evolution of folk songs in America as the country grew.

To You with Love: American Folk Songs for Women
DBM 3654
Herta Marshall sings with guitar. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

The Topical Folk Song
Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, and Buffy Sainte-Marie sing and discuss topical folk songs such as “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore.”

Virginia Traditions: Early Roanoke Country Radio
DBM 3653
Virginia’s performance traditions tell of a shared heritage involving all classes of people in every facet of life. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Walt Robertson Sings American Folk Songs
DBM 3655
Walt Robertson celebrates a variety of professions from railroad work to cattle herding. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

The Wandering Folk Song
DBM 3682
Examples of early folk songs by Sam Hinton. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Working Songs of America
DBM 245
Introduction to the music of working people—miners, oil-field workers, and ditch diggers.


Australian Folk Songs
DBM 401
Identifies the frontier theme as common to both Australian broadsides and American ballads.


As I Rode Out
DBM 716
Examines the traditional Irish song form known as “sean-nós,” recorded on the west coast of Ireland.

English Ballads
DBM 138
Dr. MacEdward Leach and Jean Ritchie discuss the English ballad as it was sung in medieval times and in the Appalachian Mountains.

English Folk Songs
DBM 400
Dr. John Greenway discusses the English ballad and its influence on American music.

Irish Dance Tunes for Tinwhistle
DBM 1279
Dan Foster begins with the fingering of the tinwhistle on easy pieces, then proceeds to more difficult pieces and the teaching of ornamentation. Includes reels, jigs, and hornpipes.

A Jug of This
DBM 1466
An introduction to English folk music by Roy Palmer.

The Music of Spain
DBM 227
Manuel Lazareno, musicologist, talks about the history of Spanish classical and folk music and other music inspired by the folk culture of Spain.

Of Ships and Sea
DBM 1004
Poetry, lore, and music of the sea, the ships, and the men who have sailed.

A Smile and a Tear
DBM 2297
Songs, poetry, legends, and stories of the people of Ireland with Irish tunes throughout.

Von Trapp Family Singers
DBM 967
A retelling of the Sound of Music story along with other real-life adventures of the Von Trapp family of singers, who perform folk songs and other selections from concerts.

The Wonderful World of the Trapp Family
DBM 356
How Maria von Trapp and her singing family found a way to preserve and share the culture and beauty of their beloved Austria.

Mexican American

DBM 1023
An eight-part series discussing and playing the music of Mexican Americans.

Juanita Gonzales
DBM 1025
An eight-part series discussing and playing the music of Mexican Americans. This program includes an interview with Mexican folk song collector Juanita Gonzalez and musicians Santiago and Flaco Jiménez.

Mariachi Music
DBM 1072
An eight-part series discussing and playing the music of Mexican Americans. Provides background on the performers and their varying kinds of music.

Narcisco Martínez
DBM 1024
An eight-part series discussing and playing the music of Mexican Americans.

Songs of the Mexican Border
DBM 49
Program of the Mexican border music, a blend of Anglo and Latino cultures.

Native American

Chants of the Grand Canyon
DBM 40
Includes original Indian chants and settings for orchestra and voice of Indian folk songs.

DBM 1192
Indians relate in song and story how the drum was given to the tribes and tell of its importance in every aspect of their lives.

Introduction to Primitive Music
DBM 390
An introduction to a fourteen-lecture series on primitive music of the world.

Music of the American Indians
DBM 396
Musician and anthropologist John Greenway discusses music of the North American Indians.

Music and the Land
DBM 1189
Symphonic composer and director David Amram explores the connection between music and the land of the American Indian.


Music of the Orient
DBM 394
Analyzes the theoretical system of the Indian raga in terms of melodic and rhythmic formulas, and the music’s relation to specific gods, events, and seasons.


Alexander Zelkin Sings “Meadowland” and Other Russian Songs, Old and New
DBM 3648
Alexander Zelkin sings Russian folk music accompanied by the balalaika. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

The Music of Tchaikovsky: Music by the Melancholy Russian
DBM 23
Excerpts from The Nutcracker Suite, Sleeping Beauty, and Symphony No. 4. This demonstrates the Russian folk music roots of Tchaikovsky’s music.

South American

Music of the Gauchos
DBM 274
Introduction to the legends and folk songs of the Argentine gauchos.

Music of the Incas
DBM 114
Examines the Incan influence in the modern music of Peru.

DBM 782
The musical group Tajauntinsuyo performs music of the Incas.

Other Cultures
Danzas Venezuela: Ballet Folklórico de Venezuela

DBM 3652
Choreographic impressions of Danzas Venezuela are presented as examples of rich Venezuelan folklore. A Smithsonian Folkways title.

Other Cultures

Music of Oceania
DBM 392
Examines the development of complex native chant as a reaction to attempts by white missionaries to eradicate Polynesian singing and dancing.

Music of the Dry World
DBM 393
Discusses the performance techniques and the complex rhythms of nomadic peoples in the desert areas between northwest Africa and western China.

Music of the Polar World
DBM 391
Introduction to Eskimo music.

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