Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States. We are dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among peoples through the documentation, preservation, and dissemination of sound. We believe that musical and cultural diversity contributes to the vitality and quality of life throughout the world. Through the dissemination of audio recordings and educational materials we seek to strengthen people’s engagement with their own cultural heritage and to enhance their awareness and appreciation of the cultural heritage of others.



Smithsonian Folkways
Check out the Smithsonian Folkways main site, portal to everything Smithsonian Folkways does:

Smithsonian Folkways Magazine
While you are on our website, check out Smithsonian Folkways Magazine, the online multimedia magazine highlighting artists, videos, and stories from Smithsonian Folkways.

Tools for Teaching
Look through our teaching tools including lesson plans, workshops, and additional resources about the sounds and cultures found on the website. Great for courses in history, geography, language arts, social studies, visual arts, and- of course, music and dance.

Smithsonian Folkways Podcasts and Radio Streams
Enjoy free Smithsonian Folkways Podcasts and Radio Streams as well as the wealth of free materials on the Smithsonian Folkways section of iTunes U.


Feel free to browse through Smithsonian Folkways collection of free videos. Here are some videos featured in D.A. Sonneborn’s online conference presentation.

Truck Driver’s Union from Ghana perform their horn honk music:

Rahim Alhaj records ‘Rast’:

An interview with Sarah Lee Guthrie about her children’s album, ‘Go Waggaloo’:

Ella Jenkins performs “I Know a City Called Okeechobee:

See the Music Video for “Little Bird Little Bird” by Elizabeth Mitchell:


“Belly Dance!: The best of George Abdo and his flames of Araby”:

“Bosavi: Rainforest Music of Papea New Guneau”:

“Sounds of North American Frogs”:

“Sounds of the Junk Yard”:

Pete Seeger, “If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope and Struggle”:

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Family, “Go Wagaloo”:

The Sound of Sputnik:

Woody Guthrie, “The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1-4”:

Image Gallery:

See field images from the members of Smithsonian Folkways Records and recent Smithsonian Folkways Publications from 2008, 2009, and 2010: