The Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklife, held annually since 1967 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was renamed the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1998. The materials collected here document the planning, production, and execution of the annual Festival, produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (1999-present) and its predecessor offices (1967-1999). An overview of the entire Festival records group is available here: Smithsonian Folklife Festival records.
Scope and Contents note:
This collection documents the planning, production, and execution of the 1995 Festival of American Folklife. Materials may include photographs, audio recordings, motion picture film and video recordings, notes, production drawings, contracts, memoranda, correspondence, informational materials, publications, and ephemera. Such materials were created during the Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as well as in the featured communities, before or after the Festival itself.
Arranged in 6 series.
Series 1: Program Books, Festival Publications, and Ephemera
Series 2: The Cape Verdean Connection
Series 3: The Czech Republic: Tradition and Transformation
Series 4: Heartbeat: The Voices of First Nations Women
Series 5: Russian Roots, American Branches: Music in Two Worlds
Series 6: Special Events
The Festival of American Folklife, held annually since 1967 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was renamed the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1998.
The 1995 Festival of American Folklife was produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies and cosponsored by the National Park Service.
For more information, see Smithsonian Folklife Festival records.
The 1995 Festival featured American Indian women's musical traditions, the heritage of the Czech Republic and Czech Americans, music of Russian and Russian American groups, and the cultural life of the Cape Verdean community. These programs testified to the vitality of the human spirit, and to how people, ideas, and forms of cultural expression increasingly cross boundaries of geography, politics, language, race, and gender. Special events included evening concerts devoted to African immigrant communities in the Washington, D.C. area and a memorial concert for Festival founding director, Ralph Rinzler.
Heartbeat: The Voices of First Nations Women presented the musical culture of American Indian women. The program examined how these women express their identity through the use of a variety of musical forms - from traditional songs of home to contemporary songs of Indian life, from the appropriation of men's music to the fusion of root music with country, folk, blues, and gospel.
The Czech Republic: Tradition and Transformation provided a broad survey of the ways national, regional, ethnic, and local traditions have been defined in a complex state located at the crossroads of Central Europe. The "Velvet Revolution" of 1989 and the separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993 have prompted further examinations of cultural identity, the relationship between the state and popular expression, creativity and tradition. Czech Americans, too, have looked at these changes and the reestablishment of relationships to their ancestral homeland.
A third program, Russian Roots, American Branches: Music in Two Worlds, explored the musical culture of Old Believers and Molokans, Russian religious communities created in the 17th and 18th centuries. The program united immigrant communities long established in the United States with those from Russia, and brought together people who, although separated by generations and different social environments, have nonetheless faced parallel issues with regard to cultural persistence and adaptation.
All these programs involved complex institutional arrangements, local-level research and documentation, and strong commitment to and pride in Festival representation. The Cape Verdean Connection program well demonstrated these processes. Cape Verde is an independent island nation and former Portuguese colony located off the west coast of Africa. Cape Verdean Americans, now numbering about 400,000, most born and raised here, historically settled in New England during the 18th century, playing instrumental roles in the whaling and cranberry industries. Cape Verdeans had an important story to tell about their role in American life, their immigrant and continuing transnational cultural experience, their multiracial heritage, and their enduring sense of community - a story with much to tell others as well. Cape Verdeans provided the impetus for the Festival program, carried out most of the research in concert with Smithsonian scholars, led the effort to raise funds from governments, foundations, corporations, and individuals through benefit dances, auctions, and other community events, and, as is fitting, joined with the Smithsonian to share their experiences with the American public.
The 1995 Festival took place during two five-day weeks (June 23-27 and June 30-July 4) between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive and between 10th Street and 13th Street, south of the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History (see site plan). It featured four programs and several special events.
The 1995 Program Book included schedules and participant lists for each program; essays provided background on the Festival and each of the four programs.
The Festival was co-presented by the Smithsonian Institution and National Park Service and organized by the Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies.
Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies
Richard Kurin, Director; Richard Kennedy, Deputy Director; Diana Parker, Festival Director; Anthony Seeger, Director, Smithsonian/Folkways Recordngs; Peter Seitel, Senior Folklorist; Thomas Vennum, Jr., Senior Ethnomusicologist; Betty Belanus, Olivia Cadaval, Amy Horowitz, Marjorie Hunt, Diana Baird N'Diaye, Curators, Folklorists, Educational and Cultural Specialists; Carla M. Borden, John W. Franklin, Charlene James-Duguid, Program Managers; Felicia Erickson, Arlene L. Reiniger, Mary Van Meter, Program Specialists; Jeffrey Place, Archivist; Kenneth M. Bilby, Roland Freeman, Ivan Karp, Corrine Kratz, Alan Lomax, Worth Long, Yook Jung Park, Kate Rinzler, Research Associates & Collaborators
Folklife Advisory Council and Folkways Advisory Council
Roger Abrahams, Jacinto Arias, Michael Asch, Jane Beck, Don DeVito, Pat Jasper, Ella Jenkins, Jon Kertzer, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, John Nixdorf, Bernice Reagon, John Roberts, Carol Robertson, Gilbert Sprauve, Jack Tchen, Ricardo Trimillos, Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez
National Park Service
Roger Kennedy, Director; Robert G. Stanton, Regional Director, National Capital Region
Shared Stewardship of Collections:
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage acknowledges and respects the right of artists, performers, Folklife Festival participants, community-based scholars, and knowledge-keepers to collaboratively steward representations of themselves and their intangible cultural heritage in media produced, curated, and distributed by the Center. Making this collection accessible to the public is an ongoing process grounded in the Center's commitment to connecting living people and cultures to the materials this collection represents. To view the Center's full shared stewardship policy, which defines our protocols for addressing collections-related inquiries and concerns, please visit https://folklife.si.edu/archives#shared-stewardship.
Forms Part Of:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1995 Festival of American Folklife forms part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival records .
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: Papers
1967 Festival of American Folklife records - [Ongoing]
Related Archival Materials note:
Within the Rinzler Archives, related materials may be found in various collections such as the Ralph Rinzler papers and recordings, the Lily Spandorf drawings, the Diana Davies photographs, the Robert Yellin photographs, and the Curatorial Research, Programs, and Projects collection. Additional relevant materials may also be found in the Smithsonian Institution Archives concerning the Division of Performing Arts (1966-1983), Folklife Program (1977-1980), Office of Folklife Programs (1980-1991), Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies (1991-1999), Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (1999-present), and collaborating Smithsonian units, as well as in the administrative papers of key figures such as the Secretary and respective deputies. Users are encouraged to consult relevant finding aids and to contact Archives staff for further information.
Access to the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections is by appointment only. Visit our website for more information on scheduling a visit or making a digitization request. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies.
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