Recording the World

Season 9
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Illustration of side view of a mans face in front of a wooden record player and many records floating in the background.

In 1948, Moses Asch set out with an ambitious project: to document the world’s sounds. Seventy-five years later, the project has grown into one of the world’s most eclectic, iconic, and largest repositories of recorded sound. From American folk music, to sounds of everyday life, and even a serenade for turkeys. Folkways Recordings—as it's now known—lives on within the Smithsonian, connecting the past, present, and future through sounds.



  • Michael Asch, anthropologist and son of Moses Asch
  • Jake Blount, musician and scholar of Black American music
  • Maureen Loughran, director and curator of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
  • Jeff Place, curator and senior archivist at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
  • Anthony Seeger, curator and director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Smithsonian Links:

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