Music

The yazh's design is based on detailed descriptions of the ancient instrument.

Listen to the First Song Ever Recorded on This Ancient, Harp-Like Instrument

Tharun Sekar, a luthier based in southern India, has painstakingly recreated the long-lost yazh

L to R: John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison perform at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany, in May 1962.

How a Stint in Hamburg Helped Catapult the Beatles to Superstardom

A trove of letters and photographs associated with the band's time in Germany is set to go up for auction next month

The team used LiDAR scanning and computer modeling to recreate the acoustics of Linlithgow Palace's chapel.

Art Meets Science

Hear a 16th-Century Concert Recreated by a 'Musical Time Machine'

Researchers modeled the acoustics of Linlithgow Palace in Scotland to transport listeners back to a 1512 performance

This month's book picks include The Light of Days, The Musical Human and Empire of Ants.

Books of the Month

Women Resistance Fighters of WWII, the Secret Lives of Ants and Other New Books to Read

These April releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

Smithsonian Voices

The Quarter-Century Reign of the All-Women Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles

Far from a “girl band” or pop novelty, the group’s success is a hard-earned triumph of gender justice

One of the most versatile harmonica players in pop history is Stevie Wonder, shown here in Paris in 1963 at age 13.

A Brief History of the Harmonica

How the world’s handiest instrument took over American music

Barbara Dane with the Chambers Brothers at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

Smithsonian Voices

Meet Barbara Dane and Her Proud Tradition of Singing Truth to Power

From Mississippi Freedom Schools, to free speech rallies at UC Berkeley, and in the coffeehouses, her protest music took her everywhere

Black Banjo Reclamation Project founders Hannah Mayree and Carlton “Seemore Love” Dorsey, with banjos made by Brooks Masten of Brooks Banjos in Portland, Oregon.

Smithsonian Voices

A Quest to Return the Banjo to Its African Roots

The Black Banjo Reclamation Project aims to put banjos into the hands of everyday people

Artist's rendering of a prehistoric human playing the ancient conch instrument

Cool Finds

Hear the Musical Sounds of an 18,000-Year-Old Giant Conch

The shell was played for the first time in millennia after being rediscovered in the collections of a French museum

The Chicago Children’s Choir is also celebrating Black History Month through song with its annual concert, but this time on a digital stage: Facebook Live.

Virtual Travel

Celebrate Black History Month With These Free Virtual Events

From online exhibitions to panel discussions, here are more than a dozen events hosted by museums and other cultural institutions

Featured in the museum's first temporary exhibition, the Fisk Jubilee Singers introduced spirituals to audiences around the world.

A New Museum in Nashville Chronicles 400 Years of Black Music

The culmination of two decades of planning, the National Museum of African American Music opened its doors last month

Musician Lara Downes aims to highlight the work of composers like Harry T. Burleigh, photographed c. 1938.

How Black Composers Shaped the Sound of American Classical Music

A new project seeks to elevate artists like Harry T. Burleigh and Florence Price, whose work has been ignored by white audiences

Admas. From left, clockwise: Abegasu Shiota, Henock Temesgen, Tewodros Aklilu, and Yousef Tesfaye.

Smithsonian Voices

Why the Newly Released 1980s Album 'Sons of Ethiopia,' by the Ethiopian D.C. Band Admas, Is Going Viral

Admas draws from and rearranges “golden era” Ethiopian music with then-fairly-new synthesizer and drum-machine rhythms.

Paredon Records produced music that was literally revolutionary.

From the 'Sidedoor' Podcast: How a Woman-Led Record Label Spread Songs of Protest and Revolution

This episode from the sixth season of the Smithsonian's "Sidedoor" podcast delves into the history of Barbara Dane's revolutionary Paredon Records

The Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain in Washington is hosting a photography exhibit, PHotoEspaña, posted on the fence surrounding its historic mansion.

Virtual Travel

Their Doors May Be Closed, but Embassies Are Still Showing People the World

From cooking demonstrations to poetry readings to special exhibitions, exploring another country has never been easier

The film fictionalizes the night that Cassius Clay (seated, wearing a bow tie) became the world's heavyweight boxing champion. Three of his friends—Malcolm X (holding a camera at far left), Jim Brown (standing with his hand on Clay's shoulder) and Sam Cooke (raising a glass to the right of Clay)—joined the young athlete for a post-fight celebration.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'One Night in Miami'

Regina King's directorial debut dramatizes a 1964 meeting between Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown

After composing and transcribing music for my wedding day, Red Baraat was born. Dave Sharma leads the baraat (wedding procession) on dhol, as I walk with my mother, family, and friends. August 27, 2005.

Smithsonian Voices

Musician Sunny Jain Reflects on Jainism, Jazz and the Punjabi Dhol Drum

While the originations of the dhol are not known with complete certainty, what is known is that it is a sound that has migrated

(Top row) Jing Liu and Florian Idenburg, Barron Ryan, Arturo Elizondo, (middle row) Samantha Pratt, Gitanjali Rao, Anitra Belle Henderson, (bottom row) Kennyjie, Andrea Ponti and Brett Phaneuf

Innovation for Good

Ten Innovators to Watch in 2021

These visionaries are imagining an exciting future with chicken-less eggs, self-piloting ships and more

Ory in November 1945, during his comeback after working as a janitor.

Kid Ory Finally Gets the Encore He Deserves

The childhood home of the musician who put New Orleans jazz on the map will soon open to the public

Smithsonian Associates Streaming presents "Mr. President: An Evening with Martin Sheen" on January 19.

Smithsonian Voices

An Evening With Martin Sheen and 24 Other Smithsonian Programs Streaming in January

Kick off the New Year with Smithsonian Associates' virtual multi-part courses, studio arts classes and study tours

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