Alan Lomax Recordings Are Digitized in a New Online Collection

Alan Lomax made it his lifelong mission to archive and share traditional music from around the world. He spent decades in the field, recording heralded artists like Muddy Waters and Woody Guthrie, as well as far more obscure musicians, from the British Isles to Haiti. He also created systems to classify this music and explore the links between cultures. Continue reading the article here. 

Messages from Taiwan: Recreating Tradition through Musical Composition

Join us October 2nd at 2:30 as Prof. Shih-Hui Chen, of Rice University, will deliver a public lecture on ‘Messages from Taiwan: Recreating Tradition through Musical Composition.’ The lecture will take place in Gowen 322.  This event is co-sponsored by the UW East Asia Library and the National Central Library, Taiwan. The lecture will be in English.  OCT 2 public lecture poster

UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music now available in Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

The entire UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music series, recently acquired by Smithsonian Folkways, is now available in Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries!  Listen now.

We have just released all 127 albums (1,637 tracks) in their entirety.[0]=place_facet%3ASmithsonian%20Folkways%20Recordings/Audivis-UNESCO&sort_by=real_title_sort&sort_order=ASC

A full list of the albums released can also be found here:

A little bit about this collection:

Originally published between 1961 and 2003, the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music comprises of more than 125 albums from around the world. Out of print since 2005, the entire collection, including many previously unreleased recordings is now available in its entirety from Alexander Street Press. With recordings from more than 70 nations, the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music offers a staggering diversity of our shared humanity.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the series in collaboration with ethnomusicologist Alain Daniélou (1907–1994) and the International Music Council (IMC). Collaboration continued more recently with the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM). The UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music stands as one of the earliest achievements of UNESCO’s program for safeguarding and revitalizing intangible cultural heritage.

Back home again: UW ethnomusicologists return heritage music to its roots

“This is a story about folk music, hill music and scratchy early blues — about guitars and banjos, fifes and flutes, and voices raised in song on sweltering back porches many years ago.

And it’s about how people from the University of Washington School of Music’s Ethnomusicology Program are helping return some of that music — collected decades ago and fading from local memory — to its birthplace, with teaching materials to explain its cultural and historical context.”

Read the full story in UW Today.

After-hours clubs and the West Indian music scene of Toronto in the 1960s

In the 1950s, while the mainstream population swooned over the exoticism of calypso and other Caribbean music, Toronto’s small black and West Indian communities placed great importance on music as a means of transporting the culture of home to a new Canadian setting through a variety of special events.

Read more at the Torontoist.

Choir With Elite Pedigree Promotes Red Songs, and Red Values

Beneath the shimmering lights of a bar in western Beijing, a group of roughly two dozen retirees fell still under the baton of the 64-year-old choir conductor Li Xiaojin. With a flick of his wrist, Mr. Li sent the Beijing Founding Figures Group into a sonorous rendition of “Longing for the Red Army,” a well-known Communist revolutionary number.  Read more at the New York Times

After Hard Times At Home, Afghan Musicians Seek To Be Heard In America

Voices of Afghanistan is an ensemble of Central Asian musicians from different generations and varied musical backgrounds. They share a passion for the music of Afghanistan, as well as a desire to introduce it to audiences in their present home in the U.S. Banning Eyre recently spent time with these musicians as they created their debut album, Love Songs for Humanity.  Learn more at