January may mean New Year’s and half-priced Christmas decorations to some, but for those who live and die by their keyboard shortcuts (like me, alas), January marks the anniversary of the computer. In 1984, Apple Inc. brought the world the Macintosh, heralding in its new brand of personal computin...
January 14, 2010 | By Jamie Simon
More than 40 years after the celebrated folk singer's death, a trove of 3,000 unrecorded songs is inspiring musicians to lay new tracks
January 05, 2010 | By Jim Morrison
Moses "Moe" Asch, the Berry Gordy of Folkways Records, would have turned 104 this past Wednesday. Asch founded the Folkways label in 1948, and he worked with some of the pioneers in folk and blues, including Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly. As a recording engineer, Asch preferred to keep ...
December 08, 2009 | By Jeff Campagna
A musical rite of the holiday season, the Baroque-era oratorio still awes listeners 250 years after the composer's death
December 2009 | By Jonathan Kandell
Autumn is upon us, which means we must once again turn our thoughts to the Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas triumvirate of culinary evil. No matter how much goodwill you show to your friends, family and neighbors, it won't save your waistline from the smorgasbord of rich foods that you traditionall...
November 06, 2009 | By Jesse Rhodes
Halloween isn't the most musical holiday out there. Repeated listenings of "Monster Mash" (and it's infrequently heard B-side), the Ghostbusters theme, The Addams Family theme song, the theme from The Munsters. Are you detecting a theme here? I mean, you could also play 101 variations of "Night on ...
October 29, 2009 | By Jesse Rhodes
She began her career as a musical prodigy and ended up breaking down racial barriers in the recording and film industries
October 16, 2009 | By Karen Chilton
Poet David Lehman provides a list of his favorite songs from the 1930s, including works by Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and others
October 07, 2009 | By David Lehman
As summer segues into autumn, it's time once again to dust off your lederhosen, crack out the sauerkraut, throw the best bratwurst on the barbie and raise a stein to Oktoberfest! This 16-day celebration originated in Munich in the early 1800s and has since been celebrated the world over thanks to h...
October 01, 2009 | By Jesse Rhodes
For years, the recording industry excluded black artists. Along came Motown, and suddenly everyone was singing its tunes
September 29, 2009 | By Marian Smith Holmes
Lovers of the banjo, fiddle and mandolin blend cultural identity and religious faith to create a uniquely American sound
September 24, 2009 | By Jen Miller
Back to school season is upon us! Students are spazzing over course schedules and the teachers they have to expand their minds. Teachers are sure to wonder what young minds they get to contend with over the course of the next school year and parents are prepping for an onslaught of PTA meetings and...
September 03, 2009 | By Jesse Rhodes
Billie Holiday’s favorite musician, jazz great Lester “Prez” Young brought a hip, freewheeling sensibility to his saxophone playing
August 25, 2009 | By Jamie Katz
Happy Bad Poetry Day everybody! Crack out your bongos along with your pad and paper and be unashamed to lay down a bit of verse that ought never see the light of day again! Stoke the creative fire of your soul and let loose those ladies from Nantucket with reckless abandon all over the nearest blan...
August 18, 2009 | By Jesse Rhodes
The ATM Blog regrets this Friday’s passing of Mike Seeger at age 75, a long-time contributor to the Smithsonian Folkways label. A dedicated proponent of "old-time" music, this accomplished musician and singer helped keep traditional, rural roots music alive, recording the performances of the musici...
August 10, 2009 | By Jeff Campagna
The folk musician talks about his new album – a lost recording of a solo concert held days before the legendary music festival
July 31, 2009 | By Jeff Campagna
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is back—that ten-day celebration that has been happening on the National Mall since 1968. Every summer the Smithsonian Folklife Center promotes cultural education by highlighting the conventions and customs of social groups from the world over. This year, come on o...
June 24, 2009 | By Jesse Rhodes
UPDATE: From everyone at the Around the Mall blog and Smithsonian Folkways, we’d like to thank you for sharing your happy birthday messages with Pete! If you’d still like to post, please do so by Tuesday, May 5th at 5 PM EST, after which we’ll close the comments and send the messages to Pete. Thank...
May 01, 2009 | By Joseph Caputo
Pete Seeger is still singing the ballads that popularized folk music and transformed the genre into a call for action
May 2009 | By Joseph Caputo
The young musician discusses the joys of improvisation and her new tribute to fellow American Indian artist Mildred Bailey
April 09, 2009 | By Katy June-Friesen