Recently I have been listening to some resources from the Smithsonian websites, especially the radio programs.
Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities.
A set of radio programs with many interesting recordings is available at:
This includes a Bluegrass radio witha set of recordings of some of the important bands:
The Folkways collection contains some of the most influential early American bluegrass recordings and features such giants as Red Allen and Frank Wakefield, Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, the Stanley Brothers, and The Country Gentlemen. Listen here to these influential artists and experience this dynamic American roots tradition.
In the Smithsonian Folkways youtube channel you can also find some bluegrass recordings like this:
If you are a teacher you can also make use of the freelesson plans and other resources for teaching, like the following
Bluegrass Music: A Toe-Tapping Exploration of an American Art Form
Students will be introduced to American Bluegrass music and Appalachian songs through singing, listening and conversation. A number of songs will be compared leading to a conversation the characteristics of Traditional American music.
I did also listen to the Festival Radio that is available on the Smithsonian Festival site: http://www.festival.si.edu/ which also includes some great bluegrass performances from the Smithsonian Folklife Festivals.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival was first held Juli 1 – 4, 1967 and has been a big success. Since then the festival took place every year. It is a festival of all folk arts including music and dance, craftsmen like carvers, blacksmiths, potters or quilters, and folk artists of all kinds.
You can find scans of the interesting programs of the festivals since 1967 on the archive.org website:
This is an excerpt from the program of the first festival:
FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN FOLKLIFE
July 1-4, 1967
America's grass roots culture provides abundant material
for the four-day Festival of American Folklife presented by
the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall over the
July 4th weekend. More than doubling previous peak attendance
at the Smithsonian for this holiday weekend, the first program
in July, 1967 attracted 431,000 spectators, according to
National Park Service figures. The exceptional public response
to this first event has lead the Smithsonian to establish the
Festival as an annual Independence Day tribute to our folk
Fifty-eight traditional craftsmen and thirty-two
musical and dance groups from throughout the United States
demonstrated and performed at the first open-air event.
Mountain banjo-pickers and ballad singers, Chinese lion
fighters, Indian sand painters, basket and rug weavers, New
Orleans jazz bands and a Bohemian hammer-dulcimer band from
east Texas combined with the host of participants from many
rural and urban areas of our country to weave the colorful fabric
of American traditional culture.
This is the playlist of the most popular youtube videos of the Smithsonian Folkways youtube channel:
Most Viewed Smithsonian Folkways Videos
Smithsonian main website: http://www.si.edu/
Smithsonian Folkways Website: http://folkways.si.edu/
Website Smithsonian Festival: http://www.festival.si.edu/