Holiday Spirit

"First lady of the children's folk song," Ella Jenkins. (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)
Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

For 50 years, Ella Jenkins—once dubbed the "first lady of the children's folk song" by an admiring critic—has brought a unique touch to music, composing bedtime ballads inspired by spoken-word poetry and African folk tunes. In 2004, the Grammys paid tribute to Jenkins' genre-bending compositions with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Her Holiday Times album, recorded in 1996, features music for festivals including Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, as well as variations on traditional Christmas favorites such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Click here to hear Holiday Times, Harmonica for Hanukkah, Kwanza Time and Winters I Used to Know.

Music courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways, the non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institution. Please click here to purchase or for more information

About Anika Gupta
Anika Gupta

Anika Gupta’s writing has appeared in India and the United States, including in Business Today magazine, where she served as its first digital content editor, the Hindustan Times newspaper and Smithsonian magazine. Currently, she is a Master's student at MIT, where she studies user-generated content and mainstream media culture. She's also a science writer, media blogger, and essayist.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus