African American Legacy Recording

In 2007, NMAAHC and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings began a multi-year collaboration to explore African American oral and musical traditions. The African American Legacy Series will include reissues and compilations drawn from the Folkways catalog, plus previously unreleased archival materials and new recordings of contemporary artists.

The African American Legacy Series will include blues, jazz, gospel, folk traditions, spoken word, hip hop, and more. The goal is to reach new audiences with historic recordings and capture contemporary traditions for future generations. Purchases of these recordings support the artists that created them and help fund future series.


Rappahannock Blues

Author(s):  John Jackson
Year:  2010

Raised in a large, musical farm family in Rappahannock County, Virginia, John Jackson (1924-2002) was the most important black Appalachian musician to come to broad public attention during the mid-1960s. Having learned guitar and his wide-ranging stock of songs as a youth from family and 78-rpm recordings, he enthralled major audiences during more than three decades with his vintage style and repertoire. Culled from hundreds of live concert recordings in the Smithsonian Folkways archives, the twenty tracks of Rappahannock Blues highlight John Jackson the way he most wanted to be remembered—as a bluesman

A Life of Song

Author(s):  Ella Jenkins
Year:  2011

In A Life of Song, Ella Jenkins, “The First Lady of Children’s Music,” offers stories and songs that speak to her youthful years as an African American child in a multi-cultural world. Her career of more than a half century earned her the first Lifetime Achievement Grammy award for a children’s music artist, and her more than thirty recordings teach us to learn from one another while taking pride in our own heritage. This African American Legacy recording of Ella singing with children from the Cool Classics after-school program spotlights her own heritage while showing her delight for the traditions of others. 36 minutes, lyrics, photos, 28-page booklet.

Cover, New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City

New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City

Year:  2015

For more than a century, the signature sound of New Orleans has been the brass band — at once a source of celebration, collective expression, and community pride. On February 10, 2015, Smithsonian Folkways released the newly-recorded collection New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City, bringing together for the first time in one recording three musical generations that represent three dominant styles of brass bands. Featured are the classic sound of the Liberty Brass Band, the modern-yet-traditional Treme Brass Band, and the funk, rap, and “bounce” influenced Hot 8 Brass Band.

Cover, Songs My Mother Taught Me

Songs My Mother Taught Me

Author(s):  Fannie Lou Hamer
Year:  2015

A re-release of limited-edition 1963 field recordings, breathes new life into Fannie Lou Hamer’s inspiring legacy and her uncompromising call for a righteous world.