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
- The Smithsonian Folkways Recordings website offers a wealth of ways to explore the sounds, artists, and cultural connections documented throughout the collections.
- You can listen to select albums and curated playlists from Folkways on Spotify.
- Richard Carlin’s 2008 book Worlds of Sound: The Story of Smithsonian Folkways digs into Moses Asch’s lifelong effort to preserve the sounds of the 20th century with illuminating storytelling, art, and photography. Hear an NPR interview with Carlin about the book and read an excerpt.
- Watch Jake Blount explain the history and inspiration behind his album, The New Faith.
- Visit the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. on July 6th for "Folkways at 75," a free program featuring Jake Blount, No-No Boy, and a screening of the short film Early Abstractions by Harry Smith.
- Throughout the year, Folkways will reissue and re-press many classic titles on LP (including Sounds of North American Frogs). See the selections and pre-order your favorites.