Smithsonian Folklife Festival

“Music is a reflection of people's lives. It comes out of their experience,” says the folk musician Alice Gerrard, who will perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.

Why Women's Music Embraces the Voices of Past Generations

New show examining the deep connections women make with musical tradition kicks off with a concert featuring folk star Alice Gerrard

The "Gifts We Carry: Sounds of Migration and Memory” concert will combine musicians from several backgrounds and cultures, including Salar Nader on the tabla and Homayoun Sakhi, a master on the Afghan stringed instrument the rubab. 

After Long Absence, the Folklife Festival Returns to the National Mall

The much-loved summer event, featuring the United Arab Emirates and Earth Optimism programs, opens with a concert hosted by Yo-Yo Ma

Since 2017 when the Smithsonian Institution launched its first Earth Optimism Summit, marine biologist Nancy Knowlton notes that positive change is happening. “The price of renewable energy is cheaper than ever, electric vehicles are finally on the verge of taking off, and the world seems ready to protect 30 percent of its lands and water,” she says.

A New Surge of Earth Optimism Takes Center Stage at This Year's Folklife Festival

The challenges are many, but evidence shows that positivity emboldens global conservation efforts

An early 18th-century Indian watercolor of a mounted hunter keeping an eye on a bird at the moment of an attack is featured in the show "Falcons: The Art of the Hunt" at the Freer Gallery of Art, part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art.

A Museum Show Takes Visitors on a Hunt for the Birds of Prey Populating Centuries of Artworks

From an ancient Egyptian plaque to a Ming dynasty scroll, explore the central role that falcons and hawks play across cultures and millennia

This past October, Ruben Ghazarayan (above left with his brother Karen at the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival) fought on the frontlines of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, his brother is selling their Armenian cross-stones to support their families during the conflict.

In Times of Conflict, How Can We Support the People Who Keep Culture Alive?

A Smithsonian research fellow weighs in on the ways culture proves both vital and resilient

Users can zoom in on different sections of the quilt or search for specific panels by inputting names and keywords.

You Can Now Explore All 48,000 Panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Online

The commemorative quilt weighs 54 tons and spans 1.2 million square feet

The Smithsonian 2020 Folklife Festival is online (above: Reconstructing Hope: Black Religions in the Age of Black Lives Matter, June 29).

Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival Moves into Your Living Room

This year, experience the familiar smells, sights and sounds, while streaming the events online

Kleicha are ready to be delivered in their gift boxes. Each year the family creates different packaging, which some recipients collect.

How to Make the Ancient Iraqi Cookie that Signals the End of Ramadan

Made with rosewater, nigella seed and stuffed with dates or nuts, the bite-size 'kleicha' evokes layers of meaning and memory

A team from Howard University’s Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival recorded voices from the #DontMuteDC movement on June 6: (L to R) Donald Campbell, Ron Moten, Dr. Natalie Hopkinson, Dr. Brandi Summers, Tone P, Nico Hobson.

Hitting the High Notes: A Smithsonian Year of Music

The Social Power of Music Will Take Center Stage at the 53rd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The D.C. tradition will hit the National Mall for two action-packed days this weekend. Here's what to know about this year's lineup

Over the course of the 2018 Folklife Festival, experienced artisans worked hand in hand with crochet novices to decorate a humble tree of life.

Armenia

Armenia’s “Tree of Life” Tradition Took Root Thousands of Years Ago, and Has Only Grown Since

The tree adorned in this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival will continue to blossom overseas

Sahkanush and Haykanush Stepanyan became experts at rugmaking while still teenagers.

Armenia

The Age-Old Tradition of Armenian Carpet Making Refuses to Be Swept Under the Rug

A new generation is emerging to craft the ancient rugs

The Boquera brothers (above, Fèlix) are the fourth generation in their family to work the sea off the Costa Brava of Catalonia.

Catalonia

How a Fallback to Historic Traditions Might Save Catalonia’s Red Shrimp Fishery

The Boquera brothers, two fishermen from the Costa Brava, are part an innovative management plan that combines science with maritime skills and knowledge

The giants and big heads have been a hit among Folklife Festival-goers, says performer Jesus Bach Marques. "They're amazed by our giants! For most of them, it's something really new."

Catalonia

For Hundreds of Years, Papier-Mâché Has Lent a Surreal Face to Catalan Culture

Street performers disguised as Giants and Big Heads blend reverence with ribaldry at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Water throwing on Vardavar is a holiday unique to Armenia.

Armenia

The Point of Armenia's Splashy Holiday Is Getting Wet

The ancient tradition of Vardavar attracts tourists to Armenia, but bring a change of clothes

"My goal with music is to represent myself in a natural and sincere way," says musician Alidé Sans, "and what is more natural and sincere than an Aranese woman expressing herself in Aranese?"

Catalonia

This Musician’s Songs Give Powerful Voice to a Language in Crisis

Singer and linguistic activist Alidé Sans hails from an isolated Catalan valley where a rare dialect is spoken

Each spring the Festival de Sopes del Món Mundial (World Soup Festival) takes place in Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region.

Catalonia

How Soup Nourishes Barcelona's Tradition of Welcoming Immigrants

In the town plaza of Nou Barris, a festival feast mixes together the spices and flavorings of the world’s cuisines

The spectacular 13th-century Noravank monastery is situated among mountain cliffs in southern Armenia.

Armenia

This Free Virtual Reality App Drops Users in the Heart of Historic Armenia

Painstaking imaging of cultural heritage sites worldwide has the potential to usher in a new era of participatory preservation efforts

Miqayel Voskanyan plays the tar, an Armenian folk instrument.

Armenia

These Soulful, Soothing Armenian Songs and Instrumentals Blend East With West

Performers from all over the globe gather with traditional instruments to perform at this year’s Folklife Festival

Band members Yacine Belahcene Benet, Massinissa Aït-Ahmed, Gabriel Fletcher and Alexandre Guitart of "Yacine and the Oriental Grove" incorporate North African and Mediterranean musical traditions, as well as genres such as reggae and rock and roll.

Catalonia

Some of Barcelona's Most Acclaimed Musicians Will Rock and Rumba Washington D.C.

Six acclaimed Catalan musical acts introduce Folklife Festival-goers to Mediterranean rock, habanera, rumbero and rumba

Arev Armenian Dance Ensemble

Armenia

How Armenian Dance Adapted Over Time and Place

Choreography, music and technique are on tap at a Folklife Festival Dance Summit

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